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Written on 22 May 2020 by Professor Diane Coyle

Rolling call for social science research and innovation ideas to address COVID-19

Funding new research and data collection across social science disciplines, responding to COVID-19 and its impacts - also providing evidence for policy responses to this crisis

 The Bennett Institute’s Professor Diane Coyle is chairing the funding panel for the ESRC’s rolling call for COVID-19 social science research and the chair of the Institute’s Management Board Professor Anna Vignoles is also a member of the panel. The aim of the call is to fund new research and data collection across the social science disciplines to extend the evidence base and make a significant contribution to understanding and responding to COVID-19 and its impacts. There is a strong emphasis on providing evidence for use in policy responses to the ongoing crisis. 

COVID-19 and its consequences raise enormous questions about the economy, work and unemployment, mental health, education, social isolation and much more. ESRC is the major public funder of social science in the UK and is working to ensure that excellent research across our disciplines helps decision makers and the public to understand and respond to these questions. We are grateful to all who are contributing to this endeavour, including the research community bringing their skills to bear, those across government who are working to make informed decisions about pressing issues, ESRC staff and panels without whom this would not be possible. 

Details of work being funded by the ESRC/UKRI in response to COVID-19 will be regularly updated. The projects already funded under the call range from: tracking small businesses, supporting the mental health of parents and children, to analysing the outlook and options for the government’s financial position.

Diane Coyle, Inaugural Bennett Institute Professor of Public Policy, and Senior Independent Member for the ESRC Council comments:

With the possibility of huge numbers of people facing unemployment in the recession and subsequent long-term scarring effects, the pressing need to tackle the educational losses likely incurred by children and young people, and the challenge of how our £850bn public services budget can most effectively respond to the pandemic, I am proud to be a part of this initiative from UKRI and the ESRC funding these projects. The disciplines that form the social sciences are stepping up at pace to help the nation weather the challenges, to prepare for and help build our recovery.


Funded by:

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  • About the author

    Professor Diane Coyle, Inaugural Bennett Professor of Public Policy

    Professor Coyle co-directs the Institute with Professor Kenny. She is heading research in the fields of public policy economics, technology, industrial strategy and global inequality.   Learn more

    Diane Coyle 2018