Already one of the ESRC’s longest running investments, in 2019 MiSoC was awarded funding for the next five years of research. The new programme of work investigates 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 explore demographic changes: including new family structures, changing gender roles, an ageing population and growing diversity from migration. Working across disciplines, including public health, our research exploits recent developments linking genetics and social science. MiSoC’s new programme of methodological work will also bring new advances from machine learning into the fore and expand our range of causal inference tools.

Our evidence aims to benefit a wide range of organisations involved in policy debates, design and practice in a range of domains, located in the UK and other countries, to inform key policy choices, such as the balance between intervening late or early in children’s lives, the role of family and wider society in an individual’s development, the choice between universal or targeted support or safety nets for the vulnerable, and the relative roles of values, expectations and preferences versus structure in determining how we act.

Find out more about how MiSoC makes a difference to social science

MiSoC is hosted by the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex. ISER has been a leading player in multidisciplinary social science for over 30 years – watch this short film made for ISER’s 30th anniversary in 2019 to see our history and achievements over the decades

Previous programmes:

2014-2019 programme: “Understanding individual and family behaviours in a new era of uncertainty and change”:

Applicant: Mike Brewer (Director from 2012)

  • How individuals and families are affected by and react to changes in their life circumstances
  • How new members of society – children, young people and new migrants – develop and are integrated into it
  • How values, attitudes, expectations, tastes or preferences and identity are formed.

2009-2014 programme: “Understanding social change”:

Applicants: Stephen Pudney (PI and Director until 2012), Mike Brewer (Director from 2012), Richard Berthoud, John Ermisch, Stephen Jenkins, Amanda Sacker and Holly Sutherland

  • How families and social ties determine children’s life chances
  • How individuals’ attitudes, expectations and preferences shape their employment and careers
  • How wages, household income and social disadvantages vary across social and ethnic groups

For more details, please contact the Director, Emilia Del Bono.