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Government announces new £6.2 million funding for our ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change

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The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has announced today new funding for four research centres, including £6.2 million for ISER’s ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoC).

MiSoC, led by Principal Investigator, Professor Mike Brewer, is now in its 30th year. The new programme of work will investigate how individuals and families are responding to the challenge of the world’s need for a creative, adaptable labour force - with higher levels of education and a greater reliance on social skills. It will also explore demographic changes: including new family structures, changing gender roles, an ageing population and growing diversity from migration.

This investment of £25 million is the latest move by the government to inject funding into crucial research, as part of its ambition for research and development investment to reach 2.4% of GDP by 2027. As with other ESRC investment in centres, the scale and longevity of these centres is expected to enable significant social and economic impact.

Science and Innovation Minister Jo Johnson said: “The rapid pace of advances in technology and population growth are dramatically changing the world we all inhabit.

“These centres will play a vital role in building our shared understanding of the impact these shifts are having on society and the world of work. These projects each have the potential to strengthen the social fabric of our country, while keeping the UK at the forefront of global social science.”

Professor Jennifer Rubin, ESRC’s Executive Chair said: “We are delighted to announce the funding for these four centres, which demonstrate the breadth of social science excellence in the UK. It is heartening to see the existing ESRC centres WISERD and MiSoC continue to build on an impressive body of work and to see the creation of two new centres with fresh social science perspective on Mental Health and Society, and Digital Futures at Work, both of which are issues of major public and policy interest.”

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said: “These four centres represent significant investments across the social science research landscape, focusing on key issues such as the impact of digital technologies on the world of work and the effects of socio-economic changes on mental health. They will play an important role in maintaining the UK’s international standing at the cutting edge of social science research.”

Professor Christine Raines, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Essex, said: “I am absolutely delighted with this significant support from the ESRC for MiSoC’s exceptional research which offers such valuable insights into our changing world and the real issues facing society. As MiSoC celebrates its 30th anniversary this funding shows that our expertise in quantitative social science is more important than ever and highly-valued by the Government. By bringing together economists, sociologists and other social scientists through MiSoC we deliver authoritative evidence which informs debates about the challenges we face and contributes to the development of effective policy to tackle them.”