Students Staff

24 March 2014

Multi-million pound funding to study individual and family behaviour in an era of uncertainty

Father and son reading

MiSoC studies individual and family behaviour

The University has been awarded a new multi-million pound funding grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to further develop its policy relevant studies relating to individual and family behaviours and social change.

The funding for our ESRC Research Centre for Micro-Social Change (MiSoC) was announced by the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP, today.

The centre, based at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), will be directed jointly by Mike Brewer, Professor of Economics, and David Voas, Professor of Population Studies.

The ESRC Research Centre for Micro-social Change is one of the longest running investments by the ESRC and, with this announcement, will have received 30 years of continuous funding as researchers begin work on a new five year cycle. MiSoC researchers are commissioned by government, third sector and business to produce policy-relevant studies.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex, Professor Anthony Forster, said: “This is fantastic news for the University and for our Institute for Social and Economic Research, and recognises that we are at the forefront of research excellence as the UK’s leading university for social science.

“MiSoC has built an excellent reputation for the impact of its interdisciplinary research output over the past 25 years. I look forward to the next five years with ISER’s high profile researchers working on vitally important studies, which inform policy on a range of issues both in the UK and internationally.”

The funding for MiSoC was included in David Willetts MP’s announcement of overall funding of £29 million for a series of new investments and centres which address the ESRC’s priorities of economic performance and sustainable growth, influencing behaviour and informing interventions, and a vibrant and fair society.

The Minister said: “Investment in these research priorities is key to driving innovation and growth, helping to influence and shape policy and deliver a better society for us all.”

“The UK through its research councils, universities and research institutions is well known for world class research and driving excellence. These new investments and the research they produce will contribute to this and ensure that the UK stays ahead in the global race.”

ESRC Chief Executive Paul Boyle welcomed the new investment: "All of these centres and investments have ambitious research agendas that will make a major contribution to our understanding of the society around us.”

Co-Director of MiSoC, Professor Brewer, commented: "I am greatly looking forward to our new programme of work. I expect it to benefit a range of organisations involved in policy debates, policy design and practice, in a range of domains, and to provide evidence informing key policy choices."

Co-Director Professor Voas added: "MiSoC has long had a reputation for high-quality, multi-disciplinary empirical research rooted in economics and sociology, and I am excited about the opportunities we now have to deepen our understanding of social change, both empirically and through the development and testing of new theories."


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