Topical Issues

Our Recent Work

Our forthcoming report ‘The Place to Be’ will showcase what UK university-based social scientists are already doing to make parts of the UK better. A wide range of policy opinions are shared on our Campaign Levelling Up blog.

We responded to the government consultation on including social science research in R&D tax credits.

We have published reports and policy consultation responses on the government’s previous Industrial Strategy. These include:

  • a report showing how social science influenced the Industrial Strategy and presenting case studies of how social scientists contributed to specific Industrial Strategy projects;
  • a consultation response on the initial Industrial Strategy;
  • and comments on the March 2021 Budget in which we raised concerns about the need for clear criteria for allocating levelling up funding.

Since the 2016 EU referendum result, we have presented impartial evidence about how the UK’s departure from the EU would affect UK universities, and especially social sciences. Many of the issues raised in our 2016 Briefing paper are still relevant.

A briefing note by Professor Linda Hantrais also provides useful background information.

Much of our work on visas for UK academics arose from evidence about the impact Brexit would have on UK HEIs – including our World of Talent reports and publications about immigration, now included in our Higher Education section above.

Our Social Sciences in a Time of Change project will monitor further developments.

Our 2017 report, ‘The Health of People’, was supported by SAGE Publishing. Chaired by Professor Susan Michie, the working group produced this report showing why social science matters for health care: in preventative public health; in health services delivery; and in a data structure to improve both.

Many of the report’s lessons and recommendations had not been acted on by the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, although the work by many social scientists and health experts during the pandemic have shown why this matters.

Our 2015 report, ‘The Business of People’, was supported by SAGE Publishing. Although now somewhat out of date, it made a number of recommendations for supporting robust social science in government scientific advice structures and in plans for future science spending.

Since late 2018, UKRI has given renewed and sustained attention to how the scholarly research it funds is to be published. It has driven an agenda of open access publishing.  The lengthy and delayed process of consultation resulted in the publication of the new UKRI policy in August 2021.

The UKRI process has been aligned internationally with the EU cOAlition S consortium and within the UK with considerations of open access publishing by Research England for the REF post 2021. A further consultation on REF post 2021 is expected in 2022.

The Academy has worked with its Member Learned Societies in responding to UKRI and EU consultations, participating in discussion fora and engaging with decision makers.  Our responses, while welcoming open access in principle, focused on raising awareness of, and seeking to mitigate, the challenges this poses for learned society publishing and scholarly researchers in social science.