Dreaming about legislative change: an opportunity for data-driven research that must be seized

Vanessa Cuthill worked at the ESRC for the past seven years, most recently as Deputy Director of Evidence, Impact and Strategic Partnerships.  She now works as Director for Research and Enterprise at the University of Essex.

In this blog Vanessa explains how, over five years of working with researchers, statisticians, funders and policymakers, she has explored barriers that currently inhibit opportunities for social science researchers wanting to access and use administrative data, and how we are now closer than ever to improving the UK legal landscape for data sharing.


For the past five years the ESRC has been highlighting the opportunities and challenges facing researchers who seek to use ‘administrative data’ which is collected routinely by UK government departments for its operational and transactional purposes.  Continue reading

The rhetoric of resistance

Today a landmark declaration agreeing to combat antimicrobial resistance has been signed by 193 countries at the United Nations General Assembly.

The agreement follows a worldwide campaign led by Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to highlight the threat posed to modern medicine by antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The UK’s £369 million investment in international AMR surveillance and research programmes includes £50 million in Research Council investments.

Dr Helen Lambert is the ESRC’s AMR Research Champion. Here she suggests that  stigmatising low-income countries won’t help get global consensus on tackling AMR.

Helen Lambert

Helen Lambert





In the run up to the UN Global Assembly’s high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance (21 September 2016), lobbying by European policymakers is stepping up a gear.

The meeting is seen as a unique opportunity to make a concrete impact on measures to stem the rise of drug-resistant infections at global level.
Continue reading

The makings of a successful Festival event

The ESRC Festival of Social Science  aims to promote and increase awareness of social sciences and ESRC’s research, with events focused on engaging the public and young people with social science research.

With the 2016 ESRC Festival of Social Science fast approaching, Dr Christopher Deeming, Chancellor’s Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde, reflects on running an event and some of the “the dos and don’ts” you may wish to consider.

Chris Deeming 150px

Organising a large event for the Festival of Social Science requires hard work and planning, which can sometimes feel overwhelming. But, a great starting point is to identify your audience and format, you will be able to plan your event accordingly.  Continue reading

Engaging the social sciences with business

Tim Vorley 150x150Professor Tim Vorley is convening the ESRC and Innovate UK-funded Innovation Caucus. Based at Sheffield University Management School, Tim is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Co-Director of Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development. His research focuses on the role of institutions in creating more entrepreneurial economies and promoting local economic development.

mk-photoMelanie Knetsch is ESRC’s Strategic Lead for Challenges. 
Part of her role includes developing ESRC’s thinking and activities around interdisciplinary, challenge-led activities and ensuring that our research portfolio is more visible to potential users, as well as creating opportunities to enable researchers from other communities to engage with social science.

This blog looks at how the social sciences can and should engage with businesses to realise the impact of research based insights.

A recent report published by the ESRC shows that social scientists are becoming increasingly engaged through their research. This is testament to how the knowledge exchange agenda has become embedded and been embraced. Continue reading

How research helps the voluntary sector make an even bigger difference

Nick Ockenden is head of research at the NCVO (the National Council for Voluntary Organisations) which champions the voluntary sector and volunteering. Its vision is a society where we can all make a difference to the causes that we believe in.
Here, Nick writes about NCVO’s relationship with ESRC, and why research into the voluntary sector is at its most crucial point ever. 

Nick Ockenden NCVO 150px

Things can feel pretty tough for many voluntary sector organisations. We’ve been through the fundraising crisis sparked by the tragic death of Olive Cooke, it’s as hard as it’s ever been to secure income, and the need for the sector’s services is arguably growing. At such a time research can feel a luxury when in fact it is more crucial than ever. Continue reading