Vacancy: Chair of the Campaign for Social Science

16 May 2019

The Academy of Social Sciences is seeking a new Chair for the Campaign for Social Science, to start on 1 November 2019.

The Campaign is an integral part of the Academy and leads on its public-facing advocacy for social science.  It is a strong outward-facing voice for the Academy. The Chair of the Campaign is a member of the Academy’s governing body (Council), in common with the chairs of the other main committees. S/he reports to Professor Roger Goodman FAcSS, Chair of the Academy and liaises closely with the Chief Executive, Dr Rita Gardner CBE FAcSS.

The next three years offer an exciting opportunity to shape the future of the Campaign’s work as the Academy as a whole develops and implements a new strategic plan.



The Academy is a professional, membership based organisation, comprising around 1335  individual Fellows, all of whom are leading scholars or practitioners in the social sciences, and 43 member Learned Societies.

The Campaign for Social Science was launched at the House of Lords in January 2011. Since then it has built a sound reputation as a leading advocate for social science. As such, the Campaign contributes distinctively to the Academy’s overall objective of ‘promoting social science for public benefit’. Campaign messages are targeted to policy, parliamentary, media and wider public audiences. For evidence, it draws on the work of Academy staff, on both academic and practitioner Fellows, and on the expertise within the Campaign Board.

It aims:

  • To inform and influence public policy with social science evidence.
  • To raise the profile of social science in the media, including on social media.
  • To speak with authority on the state of social science.

Further information can be found at and

Key activities to date are our high level engagement and advocacy on policies relevant to the social sciences (e.g. the Higher Education and Research Bill, Brexit, Plan S)  and on policy areas to which social science research contributes understanding (eg Industrial Strategy); projects such as the Health of People); the Campaign Annual Lecture by an eminent social scientist; and the Making the Case for the Social Sciences series.

In the coming three years there is an opportunity to help shape the future development of the Academy and its Campaign-related activities. We are planning an Academy-wide strategic review, commencing autumn 2019, followed by fundraising to support a small number of new initiatives.

The Campaign is wholly reliant on donations for its funding and has the responsibility of raising those resources, led by the Campaign Manager and supported by the Board. The funds currently come from Higher Education Institutions, learned societies, publishers and individuals. A formal Supporter Scheme was launched in 2017 to help secure commitments. Termly discussion and networking meetings (Strategic Leadership Forum) is provided as a benefit for leading supporters.

The Campaign, and the Chair, is supported by a Committee (Board) drawn from across the academic, policy and practitioner communities, and including representation from within the devolved administrations. The Board currently has 18 members.

The Board has been chaired previously by:

2010-2012 – Professor Tony Crook CBE FAcSS (a former Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Sheffield, a former Chair of Shelter, and a Board member of the Royal Town Planning Institute)

2013 (interim) – Professor Michael Harloe FAcSS (a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Salford)

2013 – 2017- Professor James Wilsdon FAcSS (Professor of Research Policy and Director of Impact and Engagement, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Sheffield).

2017 – April 2019 – Professor Shamit Saggar CBE FAcSS (formerly Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Essex, who is taking up a new position in Australia)

Professor Saggar advised the Academy of his intention to step down from the role at the end of 2018, and chaired his final event at the end of March 2019. Professor Wilsdon has agreed to take on the role of Interim Chair until the new chair has been appointed.


The Role

The role of the Chair is to represent the Campaign publicly, be an advocate for it with Government and other related public bodies, develop its strategic vision as part of the Academy and in association with the Council and CEO, represent and speak on its behalf at events and meetings, chair the Board and work closely with the CEO, Head of Policy, Campaign Manager, and the Academy’s small office team.

A commitment of around 2 to 3 days a month is needed to fulfil these responsibilities**. It is possible for a Deputy Chair to be appointed to share in some of the work as has occurred previously.

The role is unremunerated, but all reasonable expenses are paid in line with normal policies. Committee Chair roles are normally held for a term of three years.


The Person

This is a substantial role, requiring the person to be:

  • A social scientist, or an individual who is respected by the social science community and can bring wider skills and experience, whether from within academia, policy, business and/or third sector research, the media, or other social science related fields.
  • Recognised and held in esteem by one or more of these fields.
  • A good public speaker and presenter, able to engage practitioner, academic, policy and business audiences. Media friendly and media experienced, ideally including social media.
  • Experienced at dealing with Government and other public bodies at a senior level.
  • Knowledgeable about how public policy is formed and influenced.
  • Able to network with key individuals crucial to promote the Campaign and an experienced advocate.
  • Confident in fundraising* and in supporting fundraising
  • Experienced at chairing meetings (this is not a first chair appointment role) and in encouraging the active participation of all Board members, both during and beyond meetings.
  • Able to work collaboratively and constructively with the Academy’s staff and as a member of the Executive Committee.
  • Able to prioritise the Campaign amongst other commitments.
  • Either an existing Fellow of the Academy or of a standing eligible for election as a Fellow.

* Around £140,000 needs to be raised annually and Reserves stand at £95,000 currently. The Campaign Manager actively supports the fundraising endeavour.

**A typical month, based on current campaign activities, would include at least three of the following groups of activities:

  1. Advocacy. Meeting key people to promote the Campaign. Could be engaging with policymakers, networking with key influencers, developing a new organisational partnership or meeting potential donors.
  2. Think pieces and media activity. Engaging with the media and writing think pieces on topical issues affecting the social sciences and / or commenting on current issues has been a key
    feature of the discharge of the role.
  3. Public Presentation. Make a presentation or chair the discussion at a Campaign event or a public event hosted by one of our supporting universities.
  4. Fundraising. Engaging with actual or potential donors about their support for the Campaign.
  5. Chair meetings of the Campaign Board, which are currently held quarterly in central London.
  6. Chair the Campaign’s Strategic Leadership Forum for supporting organisations, which are held three times per year.
  7. Originate and / or respond to discussion with the Board, Executive Committee, Chief Executive about strategic Campaign and fundraising issues. These discussions are mostly carried out by telephone or email.
  8. Encourage active participation by Campaign Board members outside of formal Board meetings.
  9. Attend meetings of the Academy Council, which are held quarterly and participate in monthly teleconferences of the Academy Executive Committee.


Application and Recruitment Process

Please write to Dr Rita Gardner CBE FAcSS, Chief Executive of the Academy, setting out how you meet the requirements of the role and enclosing your CV.

Applications can be sent by email to [email protected] or by post to the Academy of Social Sciences, 33 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1AG.

The closing date for applications is Wednesday 10 July 2019.

Interviews will be held on Monday 16 September 2019.

For further information, please contact Rita Gardner on 020 7682 4664 or email: [email protected]