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The recommendation by the House of Lords Science and Technology Sub-Committee’s report Behaviour Change, published today (20 July), to appoint an independent Chief Social Scientist is welcomed by the Academy of Social Sciences – the representative body for social scientists in the UK.
When the previous holder of the post, Professor Paul Wiles, retired in 2010, the role was
downgraded and shared between two people, who each had other responsibilities to fulfil. The Academy voiced its concerns about the reduction in status of the post and the consequent loss of the ability of social scientists to influence government at the most senior level. The Academy of Social Sciences made a submission to the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee in April calling for the post of Chief Social Scientist to be reinstated and said the same to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee secretariat.
Professor Cary Cooper, Chair of Council of the Academy of Social Sciences, says: “Most of the social and health problems we are facing cannot be solved by physical science alone. We need behaviour change and a Chief Social Scientist at the heart of government.
The Academy of Social Sciences is a membership organisation of over 700 academicians and 41 learned societies. Its mission is to promote the value of social sciences in the UK for the public benefit. The Campaign for Social Science has been established by the Academy to raise the profile of social science in the public, media and Parliament to address changes to funding teaching and research. A key objective is to create a popular vision of what social science can do and demonstrate its impact in government and the wider society. The social sciences cover a wide range of disciplines that include sociology, psychology, anthropology, geography, economics, statistics and political science. Social scientists work in universities, think tanks, government, public sector bodies and the private sector.