About Us

Our Purpose

We exist to promote social sciences in the UK for public benefit. We showcase, champion and advocate for the social sciences, raising awareness of their immense influence and helping to secure a flourishing future.

Mission

To enhance and safeguard the social sciences in research, professional practice, and education; and to champion and foster the understanding and application of social sciences in policy, business and public life.

Vision

The social sciences flourish in the UK and sustain their world leading stature. They are widely valued for their contributions to society, economy, environment and well-being; and led by confident and capable communities of academics and other professionals, learned societies and students.

  • The Academy meets its purpose through six objectives and they guide all activities:
  • To champion the social sciences: promoting the vital role of social science in improving decision-making, society and lives.
  • To sustain the health of the social sciences in research and education: enabling a thriving and confident community

  • To recognise excellence in social science: with an expert and engaged Fellowship
  • To widen participation and skills in the social sciences: recognising the importance of social mobility, diversity and employability to people and society
  • To foster innovation and application of the social sciences: informing and helping to address challenges of our time
  • To ensure a sustainable future for the Academy of Social Sciences: as the only body that exists solely to represent social sciences in the UK.

The Academy’s strategy was developed collaboratively with inputs from the Council, Fellows, committees and external stakeholders in 2019–20. It frames our work and guides the development of our annual work plans and key performance indicators.

Six objectives define the medium-term scope of our work and, nested within that, the Academy defines three-year priority plans. As the respected national champion for social science, a current emphasis is on showcasing the value of social science evidence and policy in addressing the challenges of COVID-19 and the UK Government’s levelling up agenda. A second emphasis is on helping to ensure the social sciences navigate effectively the many changes arising from Brexit, COVID-19 and the current volatility in UK higher education and research policy. A third relates to our own sustainability and development in a time of change.

 

Our Academy and Campaign summary Annual Reports are structured around our strategic objectives, reporting on outputs and outcomes, and giving an overview of our finances. Full Trustees’ Reports and Financial Statements are available on request.

Our Governance

The Academy is governed by its Board of Trustees and supported by three specialist committees and limited-term advisory groups. Trustees, including the President, are elected and appointed from the Fellowship.

The Academy’s Council (Board of Trustees) has overall responsibility for the charity and its members act as Directors for the company. Responsibility for planning, management and delivery is delegated to the Academy’s Chief Executive.

The Council is chaired by the President and comprises 21 members, one-third of whom are elected by the Fellowship, one-third by member social science societies, and one-third are appointed by the Council. All members are Fellows.

We pay particular attention to embracing diversity in Council membership. This includes locational diversity across the four nations and within the UK, diversity in gender and ethnicity, in discipline, and across the main professional sectors of academia, public, private and third sector. A three-year term of election can be extended for a maximum of two successive terms.

The Council is supported by specialist committees and boards:

  • Campaign for Social Science Board (3 meetings p/a)
  • Audit and Risk Management Committee (2 meetings p/a)
  • CEOs-Chief Officers of Learned Societies Committee (3 meetings p/a)
  • Nominations Committee (2 meetings p/a)

The Executive Committee, comprising senior trustees and the Chief Executive, meets monthly.

Lead trustees take on advisory roles for policy activities and for the Academy’s journal.

Advisory groups are formed to meet specific needs. An International Advisory Group currently exists.

The Academy is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee no 3847936 and is registered as a charity no 1088537.