A look into the future

Susan Cassell is Policy Manager for Data and Resources at ESRC. She provides support for phase 1 of the ESRC’s investment in Big Data: the Administrative Data Research Network and is also the case officer for two Doctoral Training Centres. She is involved with various working groups across the ESRC.  

Sue Cassell

I’ve just spent half a day with ESRC colleagues looking through the entries to the ESRC-SAGE Writing Competition: The World in 2065.  The aim of the competition was to provide a platform for young academics to share their enthusiasm and vision for social science over the next 50 years, by inviting entrants to answer the question, ‘How will your research or discipline change the world by 2065?’. There were 77 entries to review, each written by an ESRC-funded doctoral student. I was struck by the variety – each a unique take on what social science research will have contributed to the world by 2065. Some authors unleashed their creativity and imagined a future in 2065 that seems more science fiction than fact. Not that any of us know for sure what the future holds.
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Tim Jackson: the case for sustainable prosperity

Tim Jackson is Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey and Director of the Sustainable Lifestyles Research Group. He currently holds an ESRC Professorial Fellowship on Prosperity and Sustainability in the Green Economy.

Tim Jackson

Why did you pursue an academic career?

I am an ‘accidental academic’, starting my professional life working on a voluntary (and then freelance) basis doing research for environmental organisations like Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, places where sustainability issues were being taken most seriously. At an international symposium in 1992, I met Professor Roland Clift, who later persuaded me to apply for a research fellowship at the University of Surrey. The rest, as they say, is academic history – although I still maintain strong links with civil society organisations and policymakers. Continue reading

Simon Burgess: understanding the world with imperfect information

Simon Burgess is a Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics, University of Bristol. He was the Director of the ESRC Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) 2004 – 2015, and the Director of the Centre for Understanding Behaviour Change (CUBeC) 2010 – 2014.

Professor Simon Burgess
Why did you pursue an academic career?

It’s hard to say now, at this considerable distance. I really enjoyed economics, and enjoyed using that to understand data, and I really enjoyed doing the research I wanted to. An academic career seemed the best chance of keeping on doing that. Plus obviously the attractions of not having to wear a suit, not (really) having a boss, and not always having to go into the office! Continue reading

Picture of the week: ESRC in the 80s

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.’
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