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Celebration of economics and social science returns digitally

Boy using virtual goggles

The celebration returns as the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) festival highlights the impact of research, with over 300 free events available.

This is the first time the flagship festival has gone digital, against the backdrop of the current COVID-19 pandemic, meaning most events are open to all, instead of only to those who can attend physically.

The festival, now in its 18th year, will run from 7 to 15 November and includes panel debates, webinars, and interactive activities. These events will offer an insight to some of the country’s leading social science and economics research and how it influences everyone’s lives at work, in school, when raising children, in businesses and the public sector, and across our communities.

A digital-first event

Professor Jennifer Rubin, ESRC Executive Chair, said:

The Festival of Social Science is one of the largest coordinated endeavours undertaken by a science community and is indicative of ESRC’s commitment to public engagement.

This year, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 festival will be a digital-first event featuring exciting and innovative events run by our 34 partners.

Many economic and social researchers value the opportunity to share how their work helps us to better understand people, businesses, institutions, communities and wider social phenomena, and to inform decisions that can affect millions of lives.

We hope these events raise awareness about how research can improve outcomes across society, inspiring some to pursue careers in research, and others to draw on research to understand people and the world around us.

How research addresses a variety of themes

Events during the festival will show how research addresses a wide variety of themes.

A small snapshot of these include:

  • The ESRC celebrating impact prize awards, 12 November 2020, 14:00
    This ceremony is the culmination of a busy and exciting week of events from the 2020 ESRC Festival of Social Science.
    Register for ESRC celebrating impact prize awards
  • Field to Fforc: a people’s assembly, 7 November 2020, 10:00 to 12:00
    This event builds upon a number of online people’s assemblies on food and farming carried out across Wales since the start of the lockdown.
    Register for field to Fforc: a people’s assembly
  • Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland: theoretical and practical perspectives, 9 November 2020, 16:00 to 18:00
    This discussion will shed light on the challenges faced by peace practitioners in Northern Ireland and the solutions they arrived at. It aims to generate a lively discussion on policies and politics, which can have a real policy impact.
    Register for peacebuilding in Northern Ireland
  • Green recovery roundtable, 10 November 2020, 16:30 to 17:30
    This event will explore what a just and green recovery means for the north-east, and how the Scottish government can most effectively deliver what it intends.
    Register for green recovery roundtable
  • Digit series: the digital lives of Black women in Britain (book launch), 11 November 2020, 13:00 to 14:00
    This will discuss a new book, which fills an important gap in knowledge of the digital and everyday lives of Black women in Britain, particularly in relation to platforms such as YouTube and the changing landscape of media representation and resistance.
    Register for digit series
  • Born into a pandemic: journeys into parenthood 2020, 11 November 2020, 14:00 to 16:00
    This event will shine a spotlight on the challenges and the recovery and support needs of those whose babies were born into a pandemic.
    Register for born into a pandemic
  • Remote work and worker well-being in the post-COVID-19 era, 12 November 2020, 15:00 to 17:00
    This event will consider the ways in which developments, such as Industry 4.0 may change modes of work, the nature and design of jobs, and organisational and labour market structures in the future.
    Register for remote work and worker well-being in the post-COVID-19 era
  • Generation COVID, 12 November 2020, 17:00 to 18:00
    Do you have questions about how and why COVID-19 is impacting our well-being and our economies? We will put your questions to our panel of young economists working in business, policy and academia to try and get our heads around the biggest crises the world has faced in a generation.
    Register for generation COVID

Since its launch in 2003, thousands of ESRC festival events have been organised, which have attracted more than a million people.

See further details on these events.

Further information

1. The ESRC Festival of Social Science (FoSS) is an annual celebration of the social sciences and a key element of ESRC’s commitment to promote awareness of UK social science research to new audiences.

This year ESRC is taking a new approach to the festival, it will be a digital-first event, to be held from 7 to 15 November 2020 and will feature exciting and creative events run by our 34 partners.

The events showcase how social sciences can shape our world, from Brexit and coronavirus, to geopolitical tensions and civic protests, revealing how social science is more important than ever to understanding the world.

From big ideas to the most detailed observations, social science affects us all everyday, at work, in school, when raising children, within our communities, from the personal and local, to the national and global level.

The ESRC FoSS offers a fascinating insight to some of the country’s leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives, both now and in the future.

Discover how it shapes public policy and contributes to making the economy more competitive, as well as giving people a better understanding of 21st-century society.

2020 will be the 18th FoSS. Predominantly virtual events, held across the UK, will allow everyone, from school children to politicians, to take part in and hear about social science research at the festival’s many engaging events. For more information please visit the FoSS events webpage.

2. In 2019, 475 events were held in 75 towns and cities across the UK, with involvement from over 2000 social science researchers, and an estimated 88,105 people attending events or engaging online.

3. The ESRC is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

The 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.

4. UKRI works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively.

We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.

Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £8 billion, UKRI brings together the seven research councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England.

Top image: Boy using virtual goggles (credit: Ridofranz/GettyImages)

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