Consultation on Research Leadership in the Social Sciences: our response

The Chartered ABS has responded to the Flinders Review on ‘Research Leadership in the Social Sciences’. Our members welcome the opportunity to engage with the ESRC on issues related to enhancing research capability, and concur with many of the challenges outlined by the review. The current focus of research funding towards large collaborative projects makes it even more important that research leaders are capable of working across disciplines, but it is felt that colleagues in the science and engineering fields are not always sure how social scientists can be integrated into inter-disciplinary projects. We are broadly supportive of the idea of creating a national framework for researcher and leadership development, but it should include diversity concerns and be accommodating to the research model typically used by social scientists. The consensus of our members is that there is a pressing need for development schemes focusing on mid to senior level researchers as there is already adequate provision for early stage researchers.

In 2018 Professor Matthew Flinders was appointed as an ESRC Leadership Fellow to undertake a review of existing provision in relation to researcher development and leadership in the social sciences and help develop an approach to building leadership capability. The evidence gathered by the review was published in June 2019 and organisations interested in building leadership capacity were invited to provide comments.

Our official response can be downloaded here.