by Charlie Dormer
A new set of research and innovation challenges has recently been announced through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), providing major opportunities for the social sciences to collaborate with other academic disciplines and businesses to solve specific economic and societal challenges.
ISCF is made up of major industrial and societal challenges in different areas of research, where academics work with businesses and other partners to find innovative solutions.
The challenges are being announced in batches each year known as ‘waves’. The latest batch – wave 2 – was announced in November 2017, and the first competitions for each challenge are now being launched. Continue reading
by Alex Hulkes
The concept of ‘place’ is a key part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy. Knowledge, capabilities and skills might be rather abstract things but in the end they act through and on people who have a physical presence in a place or places.
We’ve just published some new analysis of ESRC regional spending (PDF) which links the intangible inputs and outputs of ESRC funding with their physical and geographical placement.
Tim Vorley is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Associate Dean for Engagement, Impact and Innovation at Sheffield University Management School. He is an economic geographer by training, and the focus of his research is entrepreneurship, innovation and regional development. Tim convenes the Innovation Caucus, a group of 66 social science academics across the UK, who are funded by Innovate UK and the Economic and Social Research Council to provide real-time research insights about innovation theory, policy and practice.
Melanie Knetsch is ESRC’s Strategic Lead: Interdisciplinarity and Impact. 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. She is currently overseeing ESRC’s engagement with the Industrial Strategy and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
At the beginning of this year the Government opened a consultation on a new Industrial Strategy for the UK. Throughout the year it has become increasingly apparent that social scientists are not only well positioned to ride the wave of the Industrial Strategy, but they are also making a splash in their own right. Yet, beyond the ‘early engagers’ already involved, there remains a wider need for the social sciences to recognise and articulate the value of what they bring to the Industrial Strategy and the businesses it is intended to support. Continue reading
Geoff Mason is Visiting Professor at the ESRC-funded Centre for Research on Learning and Life Chances (LLAKES), UCL Institute of Education
Skills are a recurrent theme in the government’s Industrial Strategy, and are widely recognised as central to firms’ ‘absorptive capacity’ (AC) – their ability to effectively identify and use knowledge, ideas and technologies that are produced elsewhere. But what are the specific types of education and skills that contribute most to the development of AC, and subsequently to innovation and productivity growth? Continue reading
Rob Davies is Public Affairs Manager for CLOSER, the UK longitudinal studies consortium funded by the ESRC and the Medical Research Council. CLOSER brings together eight biomedical and social longitudinal studies, with participants born as early as the 1930s to the present day.
Before I worked for CLOSER I helped run a charity supporting vulnerable people with different needs, including addictions, mental health problems, debt or homelessness. I saw first-hand the damaging effects of these complex issues and the barriers people face in their attempts to get back to work and take advantage of opportunities many of us take for granted.