Students Staff

22 July 2014

ISER wins prestigious British Academy honours

The Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) has received the prestigious status of ‘British Academy Research Project’ for two of its ongoing studies, 'British Religion in Numbers' and 'Understanding Society: the UK Household Panel Survey'.

The awards by the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences provide "the kitemarking of academic excellence to major infrastructural projects or research facilities, intended to produce fundamental works of scholarship."

ISER Director Professor Heather Laurie said: “This is excellent news for both ISER and the University of Essex. We are thrilled that two of the five new projects endowed with this prestigious status are from ISER. Both studies offer huge interdisciplinary research opportunities and it’s very rewarding to have this recognised by the British Academy.”

British Religion in Numbers (BRIN) is an online centre for British data on religion, directed by Professor of Population Studies David Voas. BRIN provides hard empirical evidence to underpin research into and intellectual debate about the key issues and trends affecting religion in Britain, past and present.

It has four central features: a catalogue of British statistics on religion; a set of statistical time series; thematic commentaries on religious practice, identity and belief; and an up-to-date review and analysis of newly released reports and statistics. All of the digests, charts and commentaries are freely available to researchers and research users, including policy-makers, religious leaders, journalists and the public.

Understanding Society is the UK household panel survey which follows individuals over time, and is directed by Professor Nick Buck.

The study, surveying 40,000 individuals annually, creates a core research resource which permits the use of advance quantitative research methods to address key questions which are of central relevance to UK society in ways that are impossible with other types of data, such as changing health-related behaviours or emerging diversity.

The study has been running since 2008 and has completed the collection of four waves of data. Over the next five years it aims to extend substantially the number and range of researchers using the data, strengthen its use in cross national research and ensure it continues to collect measures which will contribute to research newly emerging scientific issues.

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