The Academy of Social Sciences and its Campaign for Social Science have published a new briefing on part 3 of the Higher Education and Research Bill ahead of its second reading in the House of Lords on December 6.
In the briefing, the Academy and Campaign said the “awarding of a further £4.7bn of funds for research in the Autumn Statement shows the potential of these new structures to deliver large-scale strategic scientific investments in the vital issues of our time.” However, the briefing argues that additional amendments are needed to “improve the role of scientific and research input and ensure UKRI can deliver its full potential.”
- An explicit positive duty for the Secretary of State to consult with the scientific and research community on any proposal for Research Council reform.
- A balancing explicit statement of duties to consult with Research Council Executive Chairs and their scientific communities. This should include scientific communities in all parts of the United Kingdom.
- A model that would put Research Council Chairs as ex officio members of the UKRI Board.
- The addition of a ‘public benefit’ clause as a legitimate purpose of research funded by UKRI.
- Social science should receive explicit recognition in clause 87 of the Bill, alongside sciences and the humanities, rather than depending on a simple definitional clause.