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May 2021

Table of contents

Policy Work
Fellows' News
Learned Societies News
Forthcoming Events


Fellowship nomination closing date - 4 June

The lifeblood of the Academy depends on a steady, modest flow of incoming Fellows from across the social sciences. The closing date for the current round of nominations is Friday 4 June 2021. We welcome nominations from Fellows and Member Learned Societies for outstanding social scientists who are leaders in their fields and who have made a substantial contribution to wider social science in the academic, public, private or third sectors. 
Nominations forms are available to download from the recently-updated nominations guidance page on the Academy website.  To assist proposers and nominees make their case, information regarding the detail required within the supporting nominee CV and exemplar statements of justification are also available. Please email nominations to

AGM and Annual Lecture

The AGM will be held virtually on 17 June 2021 from 4 - 5.15PM by zoom. We hope you will join us and meet the new President. Register here
The event is open to all Fellows and representatives of our Member Learned Societies.

Council Members election update
By the closing date, two nominations for the three vacant Council positions had been received. These will therefore be elected unopposed and further information about the candidates, together with links to the Directors' Report and Accounts, 2020 and other papers for the AGM, will be sent to Fellows in an AGM email at the beginning of June.
Annual Lecture: Society, behaviour and science in the time of pandemic: reflections on Covid-19 in the UK 
As someone who has played a leading role at the interface of social science evidence and policy during the pandemic, Professor Susan Michie FAcSS – speaking in a personal capacity - reflects on what we have learned in the process. She considers questions about the nature of the science/policy relationship and implications for social and economic inequalities in UK society following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Register here to join Susan Michie at the Academy of Social Sciences Annual Lecture on 17 June 2021 at 5.30PM on zoom.

Reflections on the Academy of Social Sciences: 2015-21

Our President, Professor Roger Goodman FAcSS, looks back on his six years as Chair and then President of the Academy. He considers a period of remarkable change in the wider world, in UK higher education and in the Academy. Read Roger’s reflections on the Academy 

Hear from Will Hutton FAcSS in the next eBulletin

The next eBulletin, due out in late June, will feature reflections by Will Hutton FAcSS as he takes over the presidency of the Academy. 

For Fellows wishing to contact Will on Academy matters, there will be a dedicated email live from 1 June and we kindly ask that all correspondence is sent to that address please. 

Stay tuned: COVID-19 Hub Relaunch

The Campaign for Social Science is gearing up to  enter phase two of its COVID-19 Hub. The refreshed hub will be launched at the end of May. In this phase the focus will shift more fully to the best social science thinking on how we can most successfully, and fairly, come out of the emergency phase of the pandemic.  See recent articles on the Covid-19 Hub!

UK social sciences in a time of change

The objective of the ESRC grant-funded project is to gather insight about the impacts on the social sciences of the changes brought about by Covid-19, Brexit and developing UK HE policy. April saw a major focus on the first phase of in-depth interviews with academics and professional staff. 30 interviews with a total of 96 academic/professional staff were carried out at 23 HEIs. The task in May is to complete the last two interviews in this round and to analyse them all for an interim report to the project Advisory Board in early June. The AcSS project team is very grateful to everyone - Academy Fellows, Campaign supporters and others - who supported and participated in the interviews. It is already clear that the interviews will provide an excellent commentary on the significant recent challenges and opportunities that have been experienced by UK social sciences and HEIs and responses to them. In addition, the project team has started to draw on the disciplinary insight of the UK social sciences learned societies.

Contemporary Social Science Journal: Vol 15 Issue 2 is open access until July

The new issue of the Contemporary Social Science journal 'Evidence- Based Policy in a Digital Society' is free to access until July. The issue was guest edited by Professor Linda Hantrais FAcSS and Dr Ashley Thomas Lenihan. Read it here

New Senior Campaign Manager starts in June

We are pleased to announce that Steve Grundy will be joining the staff team on 3 June as the newly-appointed Senior Campaign Manager. He will work with the Campaign Board, Chair and the Academy CEO to develop the Campaign and design and lead the implementation of its programmes. With a strong background in academic and professional project management, including recently as manager of the Q-Step programme, he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the social sciences community to the role. 

Policy Work 

This month’s Policy Monitor now includes consultations and inquiries undertaken by the devolved governments and parliaments of the UK, in addition to Whitehall. We encourage all Fellows to circulate the weblink to any who may be interested, including your Knowledge Exchange colleagues.  When our new website is launched, the Policy Monitor will be even easier to find.
On 6 May, the House of Commons International Development Committee launched its own inquiry into the future of UK aid. Responses are due on 30 May. We plan to write a short framing document stating why we think the issues raised in our letter about the ODA cuts should matter to the Committee, and to table that letter.

We are continuing work on our response to the government consultation on R&D tax reliefs, particularly the question of whether they should include certain forms of social science research. We raised this prospect in our Vital Business report, and are now compiling technical advice and concrete case studies to support our submission, due on 2 June. 

Fellows may have seen press reports about a planned government consultation on tuition fees, and whether they should be reduced to £7500 with government reimbursing STEM subjects up to the current £9250 tuition fee level. We are on standby to draft a response for the social sciences. Our recent work on employability will stand us in good stead. Universities will be able to comment on the effect of any change on the financing of higher education, but we note too that tuition fees for non-STEM students help subsidise STEM subjects, even under the current fee regime.

A further consultation by the Office for Students on benchmarking for ‘minimum baseline standards’ for employability is promised in the next few months. We will be ready to respond there too. 

We continue work on our 2021 SAGE-funded project. The focus of the report will be on place-based social science-led initiatives relevant to ‘levelling up’ in particular locations. The case studies showcase the ways that social scientists are already making a real practical contribution to place-based levelling up now; they are not primarily about policy impacts of the social sciences, which will be covered in the Campaign’s new ‘levelling up’ hub. A White Paper on the issue of place-based levelling up is now promised for sometime this year.

Fellows' News

Peter Lynn and Patrick Sturgis FAcSS have been appointed by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to the Court Reform Evaluation Advisory Panel.

The panel will advise the Ministry of Justice on all aspects of the evaluation of the HMCTS Reform, an ambitious programme of change that aims to deliver a modern justice system using new technologies and ways of working to create a more effective system for all users of the justice system. The panel also includes Nigel Fielding FAcSS.

Call For Expressions Of Interest: How to Manage International Multidisciplinary Research Projects

Edward Elgar has commissioned a ‘How to … Guide’ containing case studies by experienced academics to assist mid-career researchers in managing the design and delivery of high-quality, high-value research projects across disciplines, sectors and societies. Expressions of interest in contributing to the project should be addressed to

Dr Rita Gardner CBE FAcSS awarded RGS-IBG Patron’s Medal

Congratulations to our Chief Executive, Dr Rita Gardner CBE FAcSS on being awarded the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)’s Patron’s Medal for her 'contribution to the widespread advancement of geography across all its sub-disciplines throughout her career'. The two Royal Medals (the Patron’s Medal and the Founder’s Medal), which are of equal standing, have been presented since the 1830s and have been approved by Her Majesty The Queen. They are among the highest honours of their kind in the world. Find out more

Andy Haldane FAcSS elected as Royal Society Fellow

Congratulations to our Fellow Andy Haldane on being elected as a Fellow of The Royal Society. Andy’s research and policy career spans the intersection between academe, public policy and civil society, often using cross-disciplinary approaches to provide creative solutions to pressing public policy problems. Find out more

Obituary: Professor Ian Masser FAcSS

We are very sad to announce the death of Academy Fellow, Professor Ian Masser FAcSS in late April. Ian was one of the world's leading authorities on geographical information systems and led several international organisations in this field. He led the ESRC's Regional Research Laboratory Initiative in UK and founded the Association of Geographical Information Laboratories in Europe. He was a geographer and chartered planner beginning his early career in consultancy in Liverpool prior to moving into academic life both in UK and in the rest of Europe. He was Regius Professor of Planning at Utrecht, Professor of Planning at the University of Sheffield and subsequently a senior research fellow at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. His contributions were marked by the award of  the life time achievement medal by the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association. We extend our sincere condolences to his colleagues, family and friends.

New books by Academy Fellows

Tell us your news

Did you recently win a prize? Publish a new book or start a new project? Let us know. We would love to feature your news in our Fellows' News section. Contact

Learned Societies News

Responsible and ethical uses of location data - Locus Charter

The Locus Charter, an international set of principles to guide responsible and ethical use of location data, was launched in April 2021 by The Benchmark Initiative and EthicalGeo. The Charter supports location data users in safeguarding privacy, protecting the vulnerable, addressing bias and considering the potential impacts of their data uses.
The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) is working with the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) to host a series of events exploring what responsible and ethical location data looks like in practice, and how geospatial practitioners can engage with the Charter’s principles in their work. The first two events will be a panel discussion and business roundtable at the GeoBusiness Virtual Forum, followed by a short series of practice-focused webinars for location data professionals.

BISA president and BISA member awarded prestigious research fellowships

BISA President, Richard Whitman, and BISA member John Heathershaw were among the recipients of 10 Senior Research Fellowships announced recently by the British Academy. These Fellowships are awarded to established academics across the UK, allowing them to complete a major research project. The 10 Fellowships are worth £547,000 in total and funded by legacy gifts from the late Professor Donald Winch FBA, and Professor Michael Dockrill. Find out more

A look forward to #BISA2021

With over 100 panels/roundtables, keynotes from a host of incredible speakers, and some creative fringe events, BISA 2021 is shaping up as the place to (virtually) be. Dozens of different areas of International Studies will be covered, with representation from BISA journals – Review of International Studies and European Journal of International Security. There are sponsored sessions from Chatham House, RUSI, Cambridge University Press and more. Take a look at all the highlights and register

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