Policy Update – November 2021

Sharon Witherspoon MBE FAcSS, Head of Policy, Academy of Social Sciences 

Academy’s analysis of 27 October Budget

In our response to the 2021 Budget we welcome the uplift to public funding R&D announced by government – it is a significant amount of new money.  It is, however, unclear just how funding will be allocated, including through any ‘levelling up’ research to be announced in the forthcoming White Paper.  Our forthcoming report, ‘Place to Be’, shows just how essential social science research is to place-based improvements.

We are disappointed that the budget for overseas development aid, including a research component, was not reinstated.

And we are concerned about the absence of any announcement about the funding of higher education teaching, including about the student loan regime, tuition levels and projections in UK student numbers.  With the numbers of 18 years on the rise, and increasing aspirations to attend universities, even with the promised increase in vocational education and training, we see this as a concern for ‘levelling up’.

New ‘Place to be’ report launching in November

Our report on 24 case studies of social science-led initiatives making real practical contributions to ‘levelling up’ across the UK will be published in November.  We will promote it via social media and our new website, as well as other engagement activities.  We hope all MPs whose constituencies include one of the universities featured will welcome what the social scientists in their areas are doing to make the UK better.  We are grateful to SAGE Publishing for their support.

Other developments

Our new website means the policy section can now tell a clearer story – about why social science matters, how it works for public benefit, and why its contributions should be recognised.

Write to policy@acss.org.uk and let us know if you have suggestions or ideas about our message, or to suggest future topics we should explore.