New Government database encourages researchers to inform policy

The Academy of Social Sciences is pleased to see the breadth of social science related topics and research fields represented in the UK Government’s new Areas of Research Interest (ARIs) database. This sets out the questions on which the government is seeking expert advice and research-led evidence and underscores the vital importance of the social sciences – and their understanding of society, economy and people – to the business of government.

Launched by the Government Office for Science earlier this week, the searchable online database compiles ARIs from across Whitehall Government departments, allowing researchers to search for questions relevant to their area of work that these departments are seeking to answer and find opportunities to inform government policy.

Currently 1,548 ARIs are listed, of which we estimate that more than 80% are related wholly or significantly to social science research, including economic and social policy, international relations and national security, healthcare policy and migration, transport and net zero and more.

The database also provides information on similar projects to questions searched for which have been funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), with the aim of encouraging potential future collaborations between officials, funders and researchers.