Social science research can address the challenges mental health poses for our society

Louise Arseneault 150px.jpgLouise Arseneault, Professor of Developmental Psychology at King’s College London, was appointed to the new role of ESRC Mental Health Leadership Fellow in autumn 2016.

Throughout the three year fellowship, Professor Arseneault will play a vital role in championing the role of the social sciences within mental health research.

This is an exciting time for people involved in mental health research. There hasn’t been such interest around the importance and relevance of mental health in society for a long time. And this is especially exciting for me as the ESRC Mental Health Leadership Fellow. Continue reading

Very nearly an armful

alex-hulkes-150Alex Hulkes is Strategic Lead for Insights at the ESRC, and is responsible for developing our ability to evaluate and carry out data-informed analysis of ESRC investments, policy and operation.

In his latest blog, he looks at new analysis on the size of ESRC grant submissions and awards.

One of the most common questions we’re asked by potential applicants is ‘how much should I ask for?’ Suppositions and folklore tend to suggest that there is an acceptable upper (and maybe a lower) bound for a funding request: unwritten and culturally derived rather than mandated, and beyond which it is not safe to stray. As Tony Hancock might say, it’s somewhere between a smear and an armful. Continue reading

Supporting the next generation

j-elliottProfessor Jane Elliott took up the post of Economic and Social Research Council Chief Executive and Research Councils UK International Champion in October 2014. 

Before joining the ESRC Professor Elliott was Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Education, London, the Director of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies and the Director of CLOSER (Cohorts and Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources) programme. In September 2017 Jane will take up a role as Professor of Sociology at the University of Exeter.

A key priority for ESRC is to support the development of the next generation of social scientists. Formal consultations, as well as individual conversations, suggest this has widespread support among established academics, many of whom will remember the employment insecurity that they experienced in the early years of their career. Continue reading

Spotting the fake

Marina Jirotka 150x150

Marina Jirotka

Helena Webb 150x150

Helena Webb

Marina Jirotka is Professor of Human Centred Computing, Associate Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre and Associate Researcher of the Oxford Internet Institute.

Helena Webb is a senior researcher in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford.

Here they consider what can be done by government and social media platforms to tackle the problem of fake news.

As campaigning in the UK General Election gained momentum in April 2017, the Chairman of the Government’s Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee called for Facebook to improve its handling of fake news on the platform. Referencing concerns that the spread of false stories across social media had influenced the results of the 2016 US Presidential election, Damian Collins MP suggested that the propagation of content of this kind could threaten the ‘integrity of democracy’. Continue reading