At a recent meeting of the Academy of Social Sciences' College of Learned Societies, great concern was expressed about the research funding allocated to social sciences after the 2008 research assessment exercise. There has been a significant cut in funding per full-time researcher, which will do great damage to the social sciences and to the vital contribution they make in understanding and tackling the problems facing society. The allocations contradict the excellent international reputation of UK social sciences and are likely to damage it.
The decision to deprive non-science subjects of £50 million for research seems strange when one considers the major challenges identified by the Cabinet Office just over a year ago in its report Future Strategic Challenges for Britain. Social-science research has a critical role to play in understanding and meeting these challenges.
High-quality research in the social sciences is of vital importance to the international reputation of our universities and, more importantly, to the health and wellbeing of our society. The College of Learned Societies believes that the decision to underfund such research is foolish, short-sighted and damaging.
John Benyon, Chair, College of Learned Societies, Academy of Social Sciences.