Who's Who

Dr Rita Gardner CBE FAcSS

Chief Executive
[email protected]
Dr Rita Gardner CBE FAcSS is a professional geographer. She was appointed Chief Executive of the Academy of Social Sciences to succeed Stephen Anderson from 28 January 2019. Rita was previously Director of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), the UK’s learned society and professional body for geography, from 1996 to 2018. In that role, she developed and led a sustained, strategic programme of modernisation and expansion of the society, advocacy for geography, and public and policy engagement. Dr Gardner has extensive experience in advisory, trustee and committee roles, including Personal Advisor for geography to Lord Adonis (Schools Minister, Department for Children, Schools and Families); Chair, Exhibition Road Cultural Group; Non-Executive Director, British Antarctic Survey; and Member, ‘Finch’ Review Group on Open Access to Scholarly Publications. Dr Gardner pursued an early academic career in geography from 1979 to 1996 at London University after studying at Oxford University (DPhil) and UCL (BSc). Her work is recognised with three leading geography awards, five honorary degrees and a CBE for services to geography.

Professor Shamit Saggar CBE FAcSS

Chair, Campaign for Social Science
Professor Saggar is Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Essex. Professor Saggar’s experience spans the intersection between academia and practice, having held academic appointments at Sussex, Queen Mary, UCLA, Yale and Toronto, as well as leadership roles in the regulatory, legal, financial and non-profit sectors. He was appointed CBE for services to social science and public policy in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2017.

Dr Patrick Diamond

Board member
Dr Diamond is Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at Queen Mary, University of London. Patrick was Senior Adviser in Number 10 and the Cabinet Office for over 10 years. He is the author of a number of books and reports on social and public policy, and is a former Councillor in the London Borough of Southwark.

Bobby Duffy

Board member
Bobby is Managing Director of Public Affairs in the UK and Global Director of the Ipsos Social Research Institute. Bobby has previously been seconded to the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, conducting analyses on life satisfaction and trust in other people, and is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Policy Institute, King’s College London. He also sits on several advisory boards for think tanks and universities.

Rachel Neaman

Board member
Rachel is a digital leader specialising in digital transformation, ethics, skills and inclusion. She runs her own consultancy, Neaman Consulting, and has extensive senior leadership experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in the UK and internationally. Rachel is also a non-executive member of the Digital Leaders Advisory Board as well as a non-executive member of the DigitalHealth.London and the UKCloud Health Advisory Boards.

Professor Jonathan Portes FAcSS

Board member
Professor Portes is Professor of Economics and Public Policy, King’s College London. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Economic and Social Research Council’s ‘UK in a Changing Europe’ initiative. He was the Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, as well as Chief Economist to the Department for Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office.

Dr. Chris Tyler

Board Member
Dr. Chris Tyler is Director of Public Policy in University College London’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (UCL STEaPP), where he leads STEaPP’s policy programmes and explores how policy makers use scientific evidence. Prior to joining STEaPP, Dr. Chris Tyler spent five years as Director of the UK’s Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) and before that was the first Executive Director of the Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP) at the University of Cambridge. He has a degree in anthropology from the University of Durham and a PhD in biological anthropology from the University of Cambridge and sits on the Council of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Professor Colin Copus FAcSS

Board Member
Professor Copus is Professor of Local Politics and Director of the Local Governance Research Unit in the Department of Politics and Public Policy, De Montfort University. His research interests include: local governance, local party politics, local political leadership, local policy development, the changing role of the councillor and small party and independent politics. He is the author of a number of books and articles on local government issues.

Jon Deer

Board Member
Jon Deer is deputy director of the Research Division and team leader for the Research Development team at LSE. He has over 20 years experience in higher education, working at the Institute of Education before joining LSE.

Professor Rick Delbridge FAcSS

Board Member
Professor Delbridge is Dean of Research, Innovation & Enterprise, Cardiff University and Professor of Organizational Analysis, Cardiff Business School. He is also academic lead for the Social Science Research Park (SPARK). His main areas of research expertise are innovation, employment relations, Japanese management and manufacturing.

Dr Claire Donovan

Board member
Dr Donovan is a Reader in the Health Economics Research Group (HERG), Brunel University London. Claire previously held research and teaching positions at the Research School of Social Sciences, The Australian National University; Nuffield College, Oxford University; and The Open University. She has pioneered cross-disciplinary research on research evaluation and policy, including assessing the wider impacts of research on society, and the governance of the humanities, arts, and social sciences within science systems.

Sharon Witherspoon MBE FAcSS

Head of Policy
[email protected]
Sharon is Head of Policy at the Campaign. She was at the Nuffield Foundation, a grant-giving endowed charitable trust, for 19 years, first heading its programmes of social research and social policy, and then for three years as Director. Before that, she was a practicing social researcher at NatCen and the Policy Studies Institute, designing and analysing large-scale social surveys on various topics. She was awarded an MBE for services to social science in 2008, received the British Academy President’s Medal in 2011, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by University College London in 2015 for services to social sciences and law.

Emeritus Professor John Goddard OBE FAcSS

Board member
John Goddard is Emeritus Professor of Regional Development Studies at Newcastle University. He founded and led the University’s Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), an ESRC research centre, before becoming Deputy Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for the University’s links with the city and region, in particular the development of Newcastle as one of the UK’s six Science Cities.

Desiree Lopez

Board Member
Desiree Lopez is Head of Behavioural and Social Strategy at Flamingo. Desiree was the CEO of TNS BMRB, one of the UK's largest social research agencies. She has more than 20 years’ of international experience in social research. She is an education specialist, having worked as an educational researcher, teacher and teacher trainer in Australia, Canada and the UK.

Ziyad Marar

Board Member
Ziyad is President, Global Publishing at SAGE. Ziyad joined SAGE in 1989 and has worked across all aspects of publishing. He was appointed Editorial Director in 1997, Deputy Managing Director in 2006, and took on a more global role in 2010 as Global Publishing Director. In 2016, Marar was promoted to President, Global Publishing where he has overall responsibility for SAGE's publishing strategy.

Professor Andrew Russell

Board Member
Professor Russell is is Head of Politics at the University of Liverpool. He began his career as lecturer in politics at the University of Leeds before moving to the University of Manchester in 1994 where he became a professor in 2011. He is a specialist on the British Liberal Democrats party and on young people. In 2004, he was the academic representative on the Electoral Commission's review of the minimum age of candidature and voting in UK elections.