NEWS30 November 2021

ESRC funds six research centres

News Public Sector Trends UK

UK – The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has launched six new research centres and provided funding of £49m to tackle critical social and economic issues.

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The funding will focus on research in six key areas: trade policy, social care, policing, early years maths education, connecting generations and digital technologies.

The research centres will be based at universities of Bristol, Loughborough, Sheffield, Southampton, Sussex and York.

The universities will also be working as part of larger collaborative teams, bringing in support from partners as well as other UK and international universities.

The successful projects include The Centre for Care, led by Professor Sue Yeandle at the University of Sheffield, which will examine social care and will receive £8.23m from the ESRC.

The project will examine the urgent issues facing social care, including how things could be done differently, people’s experiences of care and issues of inequality in the care system.

The Centre for Care will also receive £1.5m of additional co-funding through a partnership with the National Institute for Health Research, and other partners on the project include the University of Birmingham, University of Kent, University of Oxford, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Carers UK, National Children’s Bureau, Social Care Institute for Excellence and Office for National Statistics. 

The second project is the Centre for Inclusive Trade Policy, led by Professor L. Alan Winters and Professor Michael Gasiorek at the University of Sussex.

The trade centre, which has received £8.22m from the ESRC, will focus on the future of UK trade policy, and the opportunities and challenges it faces.

The University of Nottingham, University of Strathclyde, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Cambridge and Cardiff University are all working on the project, as well as international co-investigators based at the European University Institute, Tel Aviv University, University of Turin and Georgetown University.

The ESRC has also provided £8.23m to the Vulnerability and Policing Futures Research Centre, which will be co-directed by Professor Charlie Lloyd and Professor Adam Crawford and jointly led by York and Leeds universities.

The centre will examine the demand for and pressures on the police service, and how police and partner organisations can better collaborate.

Partners include Durham University, Lancaster University, University of Liverpool, University of Manchester, University of Sheffield, University College London, Monash and Temple universities in Australia and the US, the Police Foundation and a network of 38 regional, national, and international project partners.

The Centre for Early Mathematics Learning, led by Professor Camilla Gilmore and based at Loughborough University, has received £8.23m from ESRC and will examine the quality of and best practice in mathematics education.

Partners include the University of Bristol, Ulster University, University of Edinburgh, University of Oxford, University of York and University College London.

The Connecting Generations Centre has gained £8.26m ESRC funding and is led by Professor Jane Falkingham, including researchers from the University of Southampton, University of St Andrews, University of Stirling, University of Oxford and the Resolution Foundation, as well as the Office for National Statistics and National Records of Scotland.

The centre will examine population change and fairness between generations, and look at the impact of generational inequalities on living standards, jobs and pay, housing costs, taxes and benefits, work-life balance and caring responsibilities.

The final centre is the Centre for Sociodigital Futures, based at the University of Bristol, led by Professor Susan Halford and funded by £7.48m from the ESRC.

The centre will examine digital technology, data and their impact on society, and will be run in partnership with in collaboration with the University of the Arts London, University of Edinburgh, University of Birmingham, Goldsmiths, University of London and Lancaster University.

The centre will also work with six strategic partners in industry, government and civil society and an international network of universities in countries including Australia, Italy, Norway, South Africa and the US.

Professor Alison Park, interim executive chair of ESRC, said: “We are delighted to announce the funding for these six centres, which demonstrate the excellence, breadth and relevance of social science research. 

“They will all bring a fresh social science perspective on many issues of major public and policy interest and will provide robust research evidence that can be used by policy makers and practitioners.”