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ESRC Festival of Social Science celebrates fifteen years this November

This November the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) fifteenth Festival of Social Science will celebrate the impact of social science research on people’s lives, with more than 300 free events across the UK.

Aimed at everyone from schoolchildren to policymakers, the researcher-led events are designed to raise awareness about the impact social science has in shaping the way we think and behave.
The Festival runs from 4-11 November and includes public debates, fairs, conferences, interactive workshops, seminars, film screenings, virtual exhibitions, performances, a touring piano and much more.

Tony McEnery, Interim ESRC Chief Executive, said: "The Festival of Social Science is the jewel in the crown of ESRC's public engagement work - it’s one of the largest co-ordinated endeavours undertaken by a science community." 

"A real strength of the Festival is that we aren’t just talking to the usual people in the usual places. Instead, we’re taking social science to cafes and parks, streets and schools, supermarkets, workplaces and town halls. These past fifteen years has seen the breadth of Festival events grow enormously, so that it now appeals to young, old and everyone in between. It’s an enormous undertaking, requiring year-round preparation by our staff and partners. But it’s worth it because social scientists and economists want and need to talk to the public to stand a chance of making an impact with their work."

Festival events will take place across the UK demonstrating how social science research:

  • has an impact on business, the public sector and civil society
  • contributes to the competitiveness of the UK in the world, the effectiveness of our public services, and the quality of people's lives.

Events during the Festival provide an insight into research dealing with themes such as:

Since its launch in 2003, thousands of Festival events have been organised and they have attracted more than a million people. Find out more about the events and what’s going on in your region.  

Notes for editors

  • The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest funder of research on the social and economic questions facing us today. It supports the development and training of the UK’s future social scientists and also funds major studies that provide the infrastructure for research. ESRC-funded research informs policymakers and practitioners and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective. The ESRC also works collaboratively with six other UK research councils and Innovate UK to fund cross-disciplinary research and innovation addressing major societal challenges. The ESRC is an independent organisation, established by Royal Charter in 1965, and funded mainly by the Government.


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