NEWS4 January 2012

NatCen co-founder Sir Roger Jowell dies at 69

News UK

UK— Sir Roger Jowell CBE, co-founder of the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), died on 25 December after suffering a heart attack. He was 69.


Jowell arrived in the UK from South Africa in 1964 and started his research career with RSL before he and Gerald Hoinville set up Social and Community Planning Research (SCPR, which later became NatCen) in 1969.

He started the firm’s flagship study, the British Social Attitudes survey, in 1983 and was closely involved in the first 19 reports, both as an author and editor.

Jowell led NatCen until 2001. In 2003 he moved to City University, becoming research professor and founder director of the Centre for Comparative Social Surveys, taking with him the European Social Survey he had launched while still at NatCen.

He was knighted in the 2008 New Years Honours. Later that year, he became deputy chair of the UK Statistics Authority, advising and supervising the authority’s regulatory work in monitoring, promoting and safeguarding the production and publication of all official statistics across the UK.

In a statement, the Statistics Authority said: “Sir Roger made an enormous contribution to all aspects of the work of the Statistics Authority, in particular the authority’s independent scrutiny of UK official statistics. Sir Roger will be greatly missed by all of us.”

Jowell’s former colleagues at NatCen also paid tribute, calling him “an extraordinary person with an extraordinary career”.

“He was always willing to give advice and generations of researchers are indebted to him. Indeed, some of the UK’s finest social researchers – across all sectors – started life at what is now NatCen Social Research.” Click here to read the tribute in full.

Jowell is survived by his wife Sharon Witherspoon and sons Marco and Adam.