Campaign for Social Science
Update: 16 March 2011
What is the Campaign for Social Science?
On Thursday 20th January, at the House of Lords, the Academy launched a major Campaign to promote UK social science and raise its visibility in government and among the general public. This is against the context of changes to funding teaching and research. The Campaign will build substantially on the Academy’s activities in Making the Case for Social Sciences over the past 12 months.
Click here to read a report of the launch event. Photos from it are available on the CfSS website from the Gallery menu item below 'News'
The Campaign will:
- Lobby MP's
- Create a popular vision of what social science can do
- Clearly identify for public(s) what social science is and what might happen without it
- Encourage social scientists to publicise their work more widely
- Place social science stories in the media, on internet, radio and television
- Find, encourage and support social scientists who are talented popular communicators.
- Engage with the blogosphere to stimulate discussion and suggestions for further activity
- Make clear the benefits of a social science education
A successful Campaign will see social science as publicly valued and appreciated, as well as better understood both within policy making circles and the public at large. In short, social science will be widely understood as a necessary core ingredient of a successful economy and society.
A successful Campaign means:
- All social scientists are more active in promoting their science
There is clear understanding of what the social sciences are, both in public and in Parliament
Social science stories appear regularly in national press
A greater number of social scientists are familiar public figures
Social scientists interact more frequently with those outside of their profession through social networking channels
It is harder for policy makes to sideline the social sciences without public outcry
To deliver this Campaign successfully the Academy's existing resources need to be strengthened, so an associated development Appeal will seek to raise £250,000 from the social science community. This will be to fund research and public engagement units over five years. Donations have already been gratefully received from members of the CfSS Board, the Academy Council, several member learned societies and key social science publishers. All social scientists will be invited to contribute to the Appeal.
A dedicated 'Campaign for Social Science' website [www.campaignforsocialscience.org.uk] was launched on 20th January. It is linked to the Academy's main site but will provide a strong online presence specifically for the Campaign, and will be the location for regular updates on the Campaign's progress as well as providing an easy way of donating to the Appeal on a one-off or regular basis.
The Campaign and Appeal Board is chaired by Professor Tony Crook AcSS, former PVC at the University of Sheffield and Chair of Shelter. Other members are: Professor Michael Harloe AcSS (former V-C of the University of Salford), Ceridwen Roberts AcSS (Oxford University) and Robert Upton AcSS (Infrastructure Planning Commission), who are all members of the Academy’s Council, together with Professor Paul Wiles (former Government Chief Social Scientist), Professor Ivor Gaber AcSS (Professor of Political Journalism) and Ms Kate Barker (former member of the Monetary Policy Commission) plus Ms Judith Mudd AcSS, Chief Executive of the British Sociological Association.
How will the Campaign work?
From our uniquely representative and extensive membership - the Academy reaches over 85,000 social scientists - we will obtain evidence of the great job that social science does and of how funding cuts are really affecting our work and then let the world know about it, placing articles into the media and lobbying government. We'll tell the government and the public about the vital role that social science plays in running society successfully and raise their awareness of why society must keep training and using social scientists, their knowledge and expertise, as well as the data they collect.
Money raised by the Appeal will pay for a dedicated researcher and a dedicated Public Engagement Officer. We are delighted to report that Kate Roach, a specialist in science communication and journalism, has been appointed to this role and is in action immediately, writing press releases and other publicity material, as a result of donations to the Appeal which have been already received. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .
How will the Campaign be rolled out?
Campaign events have been divided into two types:
The launch event on 20th January was aimed directly at politicians, civil servants, opinion formers and influencers, and over 30 MPs and peers attended, plus several senior civil servants.
Academicians and other social scientists are being invited to Regional Roadshows which are bringing the Campaign to you. These events let the social science community discuss the Campaign's aims and strategies and the various ways in which all social scientists can help. These are normally lunchtime events, hosted by local universities wanting to show their support for the Campaign. They include formal presentations on the Campaign and its progress plus ample opportunity for QandA and discussion. Key members of the Academy and Campaign and Appeal Boards will be present at each Roadshow.
Roadshows currently confirmed are:
3 February - NE Region: at Northumbria University
8 February - NW Region: at the University of Liverpool
9 February - Yorks and Humber area: at the University of Sheffield
27 June - London and SE Region: at University College, London [please note change of date]
19 May - E Midlands Region: at the University of Leicester
25 May - Scotland: at the University of Aberdeen
May (date tbc) - SW Region: at the University of Bath
May (date tbc) - W Midlands: at the University of Warwick
16 June - Wales: at the University of Cardiff
3 June - East Anglia: at the University of Essex