Demonstrating value and impact of social science research

The Academy of Social Sciences are looking to build up a series of compelling case studies to demonstrate the value and impact of social science research, to assist in making their case to Government.  Please see below invitation to participate from Fiona McAllister, Policy Officer, Academy of Social Sciences. Responses are required by Thursday 24th January, 2013. 

The case for social sciences needs to be made strongly to Government in the run-up to the next Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), which is likely to fall in the first half of 2013. We are looking to all of the Learned Societies to help make our submission to Government compelling, through showcasing the best examples of social science research with real-world impact. We will be meeting with Government officials in the coming months, and encourage all Societies to share examples of excellence in social research with us. The themes identified as priority areas for research by BIS in the current funding allocation:  global uncertainties, digital economy, ageing, environmental change, energy, global food security; and the Science and Society key areas for action: science for all; science and media; science and learning; science for careers and science and trust, will guide our influencing strategy.

Building on our ‘Making the Case for Social Sciences’ series, we are collating a series of case studies which show how research has contributed to growth and innovation, and – crucially – how particular findings and studies have resulted in savings to the public purse and/or to investment in more effective policies than would otherwise have been possible.  Research findings may sometimes work to prevent ineffective spending or reduce waste, as well as through ‘positive’ economic impact.

We are exploring the value and impact of research under three preliminary headings, which may be useful to bear in mind in sending examples to us:

  1. research as producing counter-intuitive findings (i.e. producing results that contradict a ‘common sense’ view and which can only be gained through systematic research)
  2. research which has a clear cost-benefit calculation attached, or which has led directly to a cost saving/prevention of ineffective spending
  3. research which has had a direct impact on the formulation of legislation, or a change in the law

We will also draw attention to research that shows how social sciences help natural sciences and technological innovation in implementation.

We hope that you will be able to make a contribution to our evidence-gathering, and be represented in the case for social sciences we bring to Government.  Please send your contribution to us by Thursday 24th January, 2013.

Fiona McAllister
Policy Officer
Academy of Social Sciences
30 Tabernacle Street
London EC2A 4UE
T: +44 (0) 20 7330 0898

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