ESRC Key Priorities & Future Strategy

ESRC Key Priorities & Future Strategy
Adrian Alsop 2nd Feb 2011
Excellence with Impact
o ESRC enduring values – clear commitment to:
o Quality
o Impact
o Independence
Government Spending Review 2010
o Spending Review outcome for Science Budget
announced 20th October ‘maintaining resource
spending in cash terms’ – equates to an 8-9%
reduction in real terms
o ESRC allocation published with Delivery Plan
on 20th December. Figures represent an
approx 3% cut in cash terms – a 12% cut in real
Government Spending Review 2010
o Capital also reduced but not by the amount
feared – we will be able to protect our unique
core data infrastructure
o Administrative costs being reduced over the
CSR period, about 20% in real terms
Delivery Plan 2011-15
o Strategic Priorities
o Delivering our priorities
o Excellent social science research
o National capability
o Research infrastructure
o Partnerships
o International collaboration
o Cross Council Themes
o Economic and Societal Impact
Strategic Priorities
o Seven key challenges, now focus on:
o Three strategic priorities
1. Economic Performance and Sustainable Growth
2. Influencing Behaviour and Informing Interventions
3. Vibrant and Fair Society
o These will apply across the ESRC’s business
including research, training, resources, knowledge
exchange etc
Restructuring Schemes
o Focusing resources on longer, larger grants – ambitious
social science.
o Halt Small Grants, Mid-Career Fellowships schemes
o Increase lower and upper thresholds for Standard Grants
o Streamlining: fewer but more flexible research
o Merge Large Grants and Centres
o Replace First Grants PDFs with New Research Leaders
Doctoral Training
o DTCs – deliver postgraduate training through more
strategic allocation of studentships
o A cohort of students in each DTC
o Move from accreditation to allocation
o Discontinue open studentship competitions
o Concentrating the majority of studentships in strategic
o Announced outcome in January
Managing Demand
o Current system is unsustainable – manage around 3000
applications and success rates around 15%
o May require more self regulation in HEIs
o Considering a range of options:
o Measures including tougher sifting, no resubmissions
o Institutional sanctions
o Institutional quotas
o Charging for submission of applications
o Overall strategy may include range of measures
Data Infrastructure
o Strong data infrastructure is an essential core resource
o We support some of the world’s leading studies
o Underpin research and training, and provide evidence
to both academic and non-academic researchers
o Only ESRC supports these kinds of large, long-term
o The longitudinal ‘jewels’ appreciate in value
o Despite cuts to capital, we will protect a ‘core’ data
o Deliver a comprehensive co-funding strategy
o ‘Ventures’ – now the standard model for collaborative
research funding
o Involve the public with ESRC research-practice what
social science advocates in terms of upstreaming
involvement and co-production of knowledge
o Build on existing proven mechanisms and extend role of
ESRC as a knowledge broker
o Continue to see public sector and third sector as
important audiences with which to engage and
o Business/private sector a priority for increased
engagement - aim to increase business co-funding to
5% of external income by 2015
International Collaboration
o Continue to encourage and promote international
collaboration across all our activities
o Focus on key international partners – 3 RCUK offices
o Rationalise existing targeted schemes
o Develop innovative new ways of enabling international
collaboration (e.g. Open Research Area)
o Actively encourage social scientists to engage with
international funding opportunities e.g. FP8
o Continue successful partnership with DfID
RCUK Collaboration
o Social science remains essential and central to all
seven cross-Council themes (we contribute to all)
o The value of social science is recognised by all the
Research Councils
o Inter-disciplinary research will continue to play an
important role
o ESRC will remain committed to ensuring social science
features in the whole RCUK research agenda
Impact Agenda
o We want to support our researchers in engaging and
collaborating with users throughout the life cycle of
projects – including before and after
o We are specifically interested in working with our
major investments, including DTCs, to address
o engagement with the business sector
o the three key priorities
Impact Agenda
o Will focus our Knowledge Exchange schemes on key
areas where specific support is required e.g. in followon funding
o New Impact Toolkit:
o an expansion of the Communications toolkit
o A practical tool
o draws on best practice from investments (and will
continue to do so)
o Launched with new ESRC website January 2011
ESRC Key Priorities & Future Strategy
Adrian Alsop 2nd Feb 2011