Reflections on 2018

by Jennifer Rubin

As we come to the end of a busy year in the research landscape, it’s been an exciting and challenging time to take up the role of Executive Chair of the ESRC. The year has brought organisational changes, numerous societal challenges with which social science can help, and the advent of large new funds in UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to support research across disciplines and sectors to facilitate this. Continue reading

The technology revolution

by Scott Corfe

The First Industrial Revolution saw water and steam used to power and mechanise production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. These technologies include artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning and “the internet of things” which is seeing an increasing proportion of household and business appliances connected to the internet. Continue reading

Helping parents and children to get ready for school

by Helen Victoria Smith

Making sure children have the right opportunities for learning and development in their earliest years so they can be ‘school-ready’ has been a key part of successive UK governments’ approaches to raising educational achievement and promoting economic progress. But concerns around large numbers of children arriving at school without the skills they need to succeed have been steadily growing.

Based on a study in a small town in the East Midlands, my research revealed how mothers of children under five and early years’ professionals understood the concept of ‘school readiness’ and how this shaped what they did. Continue reading

Celebrating Impact Prize: what success looks like

by Poppy Leeder

This week I’ve been looking back at comments from the judging panels in previous rounds of ESRC’s Celebrating Impact Prize to see what the most successful applications share in common. There are a few common themes, each of which answers a different question. I’m hoping capturing and sharing these will provide useful food for thought to those applying to the 2019 Celebrating Impact Prize and to those who are not yet in a position to apply, but are gathering evidence for applying at some stage in the future. Continue reading