The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is a committee of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) created under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 alongside eight other committees.

The ESRC Council has responsibility for making decisions on scientific, research and innovation matters relevant to administering social science research. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • the leadership of the social science discipline area, including prioritisation of budgets and the development of delivery plans
  • ensuring the future supply of skilled researchers and other specialists essential to the sustainability of the UK's research and innovation capacity
  • engaging with the community to develop ideas, raise awareness and disseminate strategic outputs
  • encouraging and facilitating collaborative work across the nine UKRI Councils to foster strategic relationships. 

Council advises the Executive Chair and UKRI Board on social science activity that contributes to economic growth, advances knowledge and improves the quality of life in the UK and beyond. 

Council membership

The ESRC Council consists of the Executive Chair, Professor Jennifer Rubin and between five and 12 ordinary members from the academic community, business, civil and the public sector. 

Each Council of UKRI additionally has an allocated Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) from a Government department who participates as a full member and represents the perspective of scientific and analytical networks across government and areas of research interest. Professor John Aston, CSA at the Home Office sits on ESRC Council.

In addition to CSAs, Councils may also have civil service attendees in attendance at council meetings, as determined by the Executive Chair and the CEO of UKRI. Sir Christopher Wormald, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care attends ESRC Council.

All members must observe the highest standards of impartiality, integrity and objectivity in relation to the decisions and advice that they provide.

Council meeting minutes