In 1980, ESRC celebrated its 15th anniversary. The ESRC (or SSRC as it was still known), had a tumultuous start to the decade. The British economy was in crisis and this had a knock-on effect on public spending. Budgets were cut and the 1980/81 Annual Report said that changes were taking place in ‘a cold climate financially for the academic world.’
In 1981 Sir Keith Joseph, then Secretary of State for Education and Science, announced that he had asked Lord Rothschild to conduct an independent review into the ‘scale and character of the work’ of the SSRC. Our then Chair, Michael Posner, was described as the ‘unsung hero of the ESRC/SSRC’ for steering us through the review and saving the council.
Budgets remained tight throughout the decade and as the SSRC became the ESRC and Michael Posner was replaced by Sir Douglas Hague, and he in turn by Professor Sir Howard Newby, the ESRC continued to evolve and invest in high quality research.
In 1988 the ESRC moved from London to Swindon, where we have been ever since.
Here are some images from that tumultuous, yet stylish decade, that was the 1980s.