The SAN is comprised of leading experts from the academic and user communities. It helps the ESRC exploit opportunities and access the voice and expertise of its communities. The SAN provides:

  • detailed expert support and advice including on the design of strategies and schemes, investment management, pre- and post-award, and interventions
  • a broad perspective of advice on issues, proposals and decisions, including feedback on views within our various stakeholder groups
  • access to a pool of academic and user experts to whom the office can turn to for ad-hoc advice and advocacy and to test out new ideas
  • provision of input into general policy advice.

Statement of intent

ESRC runs open recruitment campaigns for new SAN members. Following the most recent recruitment campaign, ESRC have appointed 23 new members, which increases membership from 37 to 44, allowing us to draw on a broader range of expertise and to increase the number of research users on SAN.

All major disciplines, thematic priority areas and regions of the UK are represented, as are public, private and third sector users. We have ensured members represent the full spectrum of career stages and increased slightly the representation of ECRs. The proportion of female members of the network has increased since 2019 and the proportion of SAN members we know to be reporting a disability remains the same. The proportion of SAN members disclosing that they are from minority ethnic groups has increased since 2019, as has the breadth of ethnic identities reported by SAN members.

While the composition of SAN has improved by some diversity measures, we recognise we have more to do on representation and remain resolutely committed to increasing diversity within this expert group.

We will continue to take proactive steps to reach a wide pool of qualified applicants in future recruitment campaigns and will draw on SAN members to understand how we can both improve our recruitment practices and support diverse voices and communities to be heard across SAN’s remit of activities.

SAN membership

The network was established in April 2018 and is comprised of a range of leading academic and user experts from across the social sciences with membership refreshed regularly.