Tuesday 13th December 2016 saw Professor Sir Ivor Crewe welcome 120 Fellows, Learned Societies and their guests to the annual President’s Lunch, held this year in the splendid surroundings of Ironmongers Hall near the Barbican in London.
As President of the Academy of Social Sciences, Sir Ivor spoke passionately about the success of UK social science and the future of its research funding in the new post-Referendum world. Brexit ‘threatens to dismantle EU research collaboration’ he said. This had resulted in a very real threat to the standing of UK social science and the international standing of UK research. ‘The Academy and its Campaign for Social Science have been quick off the mark to get government to realise the vital contribution which UK social science can make to an economy that will flourish outside the EU’, he said, noting that they work hard to put the positive case for social science. He expressed gratitude for support from Fellows and Learned Societies in pursuing a case for social science that needs to be made more vigorously than ever before.
Elaine Stott, Editorial Director for Behavioural Sciences and Social Care at Routledge, Taylor & Francis, then spoke of the publisher’s pleasure at continuing its relationship with the Academy and Campaign. She talked of how publishing had moved from focusing on obtaining content to enabling impact, as discoverability had become the key aim.
‘I need no persuasion about the importance of social science,’ Sir John Kingman, non-Executive Chair of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), reassured the gathering. UKRI would not be monolithic in its incarnation, he said, noting that the government was ‘not trying to create a single bureaucracy’. He added that it was important to know what UKRI is there to do, and what it is not there to do.
Finally, Sir Ivor welcomed, and presented certificates to, 28 new Fellows of the Academy, including many working outside academe. Each Fellow’s work has formed part of the foundation underlying the enormous contribution made by world class UK social science to the nation and the world.