Students Staff

03 December 2009

World-class survey team receives £23.9m funding boost

Colchester Campus

A team of survey specialists at the INstitute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) are celebrating a £23.9m funding boost which will secure the future of one of the most important and exciting academic projects ever undertaken in the UK.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has agreed to fund the UK Longitudinal Studies Centre at ISER for a further five years and also to fund the future development and continuation of Understanding Society, a survey which is in the process of interviewing the members of 40,000 households across the UK every year.

The survey, which began in January 2009, is providing valuable new evidence about people's lives and behaviours by tracking their attitudes and beliefs about work, school, health, housing choices, family, finances and much more. As findings from it become available in the next few months and years, it will help paint a detailed picture of changing society in the UK.

The largest longitudinal survey of its type in the world, Understanding Society, is a hugely important resource because it follows the same sample of people across many years. The highly specialist team at ISER, which includes some of the leading survey experts in the world, has been responsible over the last 20 years for the well-established British Household Panel Survey which has been used as a research resource by academics around the globe and which will become an integral part of the much larger and more wide-ranging Understanding Society.

Nick Buck, Director of the Understanding Society project, said: “We are delighted to receive this further funding which is a clear recognition of just how important this survey will be, not just to academics conducting social science research, but to policy and decision makers and to the general public too. Understanding Society will make an important and serious contribution to understanding some of the most pressing challenges facing UK society and similar societies around the world.”

It’s expected that the first data from Understanding Society will be made available through the ESRC’s Economic and Social Data Service for researchers to undertake their own analyses during 2010.

To find out more about how Understanding Society has been progressing over the last 12 months, read this recent article in ISER News by Survey Manager Jon Burton, or for detailed information about the survey visit the Understanding Society website

...more news releases