Experts from the University of Stirling are to play a leading role in a new ESRC research centre, which will tackle critical social and economic issues – from evolving policing, to social care and intergenerational inequality.
‘Connecting Generations' – one of six new research centres to be launched – will explore how issues such as living standards, jobs and pay, housing costs, taxes and benefits, work-life balance, and caring responsibilities are affected by population and generational changes.
Led by Professor Jane Falkingham at the University of Southampton, ‘Connecting Generations’ brings together experts from the University of Southampton, University of Stirling, University of St Andrews, University of Oxford, and the Resolution Foundation, as well as the Office for National Statistics and National Records of Scotland. Its remit will cover inequality in people’s opportunities and experiences, examining the impacts of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic background, education, and geographical region, to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities.
Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic make the work of understanding existing inequalities, and foreseeing emerging inequalities, even more urgent. The team will work to understand the different impacts of Covid-19 and Brexit within and across generations, including how the ‘traditional’ stepping stones to adulthood have been affected by the pandemic.
Professor Alison Bowes, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling, said: “The Stirling team is excited to be partners in the new Centre. Our work will focus on changing working practices, social care across the lifespan, intergenerational living and digital poverty and inclusion. All these issues are crucial for improving lives, locally, nationally and internationally.”
Professor Falkingham comments: “I am delighted to be leading the new Connecting Generations partnership, and am excited to work with colleagues on this important topic for understanding societal change. It is a career highlight for me to be leading this esteemed team of experts, and I am thankful to the ESRC for recognising the value of this collaboration. We will have the opportunity to examine inequalities in life experiences, and why this matters for improving our society. This funding will enable us to provide research-based evidence to policymakers to address growing concerns around fairness between generations, particularly as we emerge from Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.”
In total, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is awarding a £49m boost to six new centres. These awards are being made following a highly competitive process run by the ESRC which was open to new research ideas from all areas of social science.
ESRC research centres are major strategic investments which take forward an ambitious research agenda to deliver real societal and economic impact. Also, to provide robust research evidence to support government decision making.
Based across the UK, the centres will be located at the universities of Bristol, Loughborough, Sheffield, Southampton, Sussex and York. Many will be working as part of larger collaborative teams, bringing in expertise and support from partners as well as other UK and international universities. The Centre for Care based at the University of Sheffield is also receiving £1.5m of additional co-funding through a partnership with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The successful projects are:
- The Connecting Generations Centre, led by Professor Jane Falkingham, University of Southampton
- The Centre for Care, led by Professor Sue Yeandle, University of Sheffield
- The Centre for Inclusive Trade Policy, led by Professor L. Alan Winters and Professor Michael Gasiorek, University of Sussex
- Vulnerability and Policing Futures Research Centre, co-directed by Professor Charlie Lloyd and Professor Adam Crawford, University of York
- Centre for Early Mathematics Learning (CEML), led by Professor Camilla Gilmore, University of Loughborough
- Centre for ‘Sociodigital’ Futures, led by Professor Susan Halford, University of Bristol
UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said: “Social science research is central to our efforts to build back better from the pandemic. The latest ESRC research centres will focus on some of the key societal issues to be addressed, such as social care, policing, inequalities between generations and the impact of digital technologies, and will help maintain the UK’s position at the forefront of social science research.”
Professor Alison Park, interim executive chair of ESRC said: “We are delighted to announce the funding for these six centres, which demonstrate the excellence, breadth and relevance of social science research. They will all bring a fresh social science perspective on many issues of major public and policy interest and will provide robust research evidence that can be used by policy makers and practitioners.
“Not only are research centres major strategic investments which have significant economic and societal impact, but they also add value by increasing research infrastructure, building capacity, encouraging interdisciplinary working and enabling research collaboration in the UK and internationally to bring about change.”
Read the full story and find out more about the centres on the ESRC website.