ESRC Strategy – Building a Word Class Research Infrastructure
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ESRC Strategy – Building a Word Class Research Infrastructure Professor Patricia Broadfoot – Chair ESRC Research Resources Board. Vision and role under the ESRC Strategic Framework.

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ESRC Strategy – Building a Word Class Research InfrastructureProfessor Patricia Broadfoot – Chair ESRC Research Resources Board


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Vision and role under the ESRC Strategic Framework Infrastructure

  • To create a world class UK social science infrastructure that will underpin the delivery of the highest quality social and economic research

  • The work of the Board falls primarily under the Capacity strand of the Council’s Strategic Framework

  • The Research Resources Board has a budget of £13.5m p.a.


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Defining research infrastructure Infrastructure

  • Broad definition which includes:

  • Quantitative, qualitative and spatial research data;

  • Broader information sources including bibliographic and library holdings;

  • Methodological tools and techniques;

  • Broader research skills;

  • Tools, such as software and computing resources.


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The UK social science infrastructure: the current picture Infrastructure

  • The internationally renowned collection of longitudinal studies (NCDS, BCS70, BHPS, Millco)

  • The British Election Study

  • The Workplace Employee Relations Survey

  • The UK Census of Population

  • International Macro Databanks

  • The European Social Survey

  • One of the finest collections of qualitative data

  • World-leading bibliographic resources


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The UK social science infrastructure: making it work Infrastructure

  • The Economic and Social Data Service

  • The Research Methods Programme

  • The National Centre for Research Methods

  • The National Centre for e-Social Science

  • In the last 5 years the Council has invested close to £60m in developing UK data resources and new methodological tools and techniques


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Building a world class research infrastructure for the future – the need for further development

  • Bigger and better datasets are required if the UK is to meet the research challenges of the C21

  • More needs to be done to drive forward the future development of sophisticated methodological tools and techniques

  • Exploit the Opportunities presented by ‘grid’ technologies


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A 10 year strategy for developing a social science research infrastructure

  • Create a world leading data infrastructure that will allow researchers to address the key social and economic research challenges of the C21

  • Maximise easy and effective access to that infrastructure

  • Drive forward the development and uptake of leading edge methodological tools and techniques to improve the creation, management and analysis of data resources.


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A 10 year strategy for developing a social science research infrastructure (cont)

  • Promote the widespread exploitation of the data infrastructure across and beyond the social science community; and

  • Develop and promote access to the broader information resources that underpin high quality social science research

  • Delivering this strategy will require ‘Strategic Partnerships’


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A world class data infrastructure infrastructure (cont)

  • The National Strategy for Data Resources for the Social Sciences

  • Maintain a commitment to the further funding of its existing collection of longitudinal studies

  • Improve access to existing longitudinal resources

  • Develop new longitudinal resources

  • Continue to support the expansion and development of other major studies


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A world class data infrastructure (2) infrastructure (cont)

  • Secure access to census of population and survey data

  • Work with government departments and agencies to develop the research potential of administrative data sources

  • Expand access to commercial data sources

  • Extend our portfolio of international data resources


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Maximising data access infrastructure (cont)

  • The development and application of grid intensive technologies that promote global data sharing

  • The use of grid technologies to ‘e-enable’ major social science data resources

  • National and International initiatives aimed at improving access to social science data resources

  • Initiatives aimed at opening up access to sensitive data


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Developing methodological tools and techniques infrastructure (cont)

  • Develop new initiatives in survey data collection and measurement

  • Extend support for multi-method approaches

  • Develop new initiatives in comparative research methods

  • Support pioneering developments in quantitative and qualitative data analysis


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Promoting the use of the social science data infrastructure infrastructure (cont)

  • Support strategies to improve quantitative skills in schools and undergraduate teaching

  • Expand postgraduate training in quantitative methods

  • Extend fellowship and mid career re-skilling programmes

  • Develop targeted programmes of secondary data analysis

  • Create a national social science advanced training infrastructure


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Supporting the broader social science information environment

  • Support the further development of ESRC Society Today

  • Support the future development of information services

  • Promoting open access initiatives

  • Work with other agencies to promote access


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Conclusion environment

  • The ESRC has set itself an ambitious strategy for developing a world class social science research infrastructure.

  • It will require a sustained commitment, not only from the ESRC, but from a range of stakeholders.

  • By working together, it will be possible to build a world class social science infrastructure that will keep the UK at the international forefront of economic and social research.