ESRC mission

Our role is to:

  • promote and support, by any means, high-quality research and related postgraduate training on social and economic issues
  • develop and support the national data infrastructure that underpins high-quality research
  • advance knowledge and provide trained social scientists who meet the needs of users and beneficiaries, thereby contributing to the economic competitiveness of the UK, the effectiveness of public services and policy, and the quality of life
  • communicate clearly and promote public understanding of social science.

What we do


We are committed to supporting the very best research, with scientific excellence the primary criterion for funding. All our funding opportunities are highly competitive and only those proposals judged by experts in the field to be of the highest scientific quality are supported.

Read more about our research.


We play a key role in promoting and supporting training for the UK social science community throughout their careers. We invest in high-quality research training and development opportunities to produce skilled researchers who are able to tackle the most pressing social and economic challenges and have a broader impact on society.

Read more about skills and careers.


Partnerships bring a wealth of opportunities to the social sciences, from the development of researchers skilled in knowledge exchange to creating maximum impact of our research on society’s most complex challenges. Building strategic partnerships with academia, the public and private sectors, and civil society is a key aspect of our work.

Read more about how we support collaboration.


Researchers require access to world-class data and pioneering research methods to deliver high quality research and maximise impact. We take a strategic lead in driving the expansion of the UK’s data infrastructure and supporting cutting-edge methodological developments.

Working internationally

We are an international leader in the social sciences. We foster international collaboration with a wide range of international partners and, through joint schemes such as NORFACE and Trans-Atlantic Platform, we enable UK social scientists to collaborate on challenging global issues with the very best international researchers from around the world.

Read more about international research.

Public engagement

We work to raise public awareness of social science and we encourage involvement in research that will translate into benefits for society and individuals.

Read more about our public engagement.

Last updated: 17 June 2022

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