The Innovation Caucus is seeking Expressions of Interest for new members, with a commitment to ensuring that social science research insights shape innovation policy, practices and programmes. The Innovation Caucus is an ambitious and innovative initiative, jointly funded by Innovate UK and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to promote greater knowledge exchange with the social science research base.

A key aim is to facilitate engagement around research insights that inform innovation policy and practice, to promote innovation-led growth and social wellbeing. A defining characteristic and strength of the Innovation Caucus is our membership, which currently comprises over 60 social scientists from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, engaged in different aspects of innovation research. Our members are drawn from universities across the UK, who engage with Innovate UK and the ESRC, contributing their expertise and insights to develop new thinking, explore ideas and shape live policy issues and debates.

For more information, see The Innovation Caucus develops and facilitates opportunities for social science researchers to engage with the ESRC and Innovate UK, drawing on the research expertise of the membership. The Innovation Caucus model is based around a number of core activities that seek to convene and engage academic members with the ESRC and Innovate UK in different ways, including:

  • Acting as a ‘critical friend’ to Innovate UK and the ESRC
  • Rapid responses to priority questions requiring expertise
  • In-depth evidence reviews and briefings
  • Round table discussions, masterclasses and workshops
  • Primary research to fill identified gaps in knowledge

Membership of the Innovation Caucus provides opportunities to engage with and impact Innovate UK and the ESRC on a real time basis, shaping their thinking and informing their strategy, as well as the opportunity to influence innovation policy, practice and programmes. A number of members have also contributed to the
development of different thematic areas under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). The Innovation Caucus also provides the opportunity to be part of a networked community of academics and offers a valuable form of external recognition, as well as demonstrating professional standing and the wider engagement criteria of the
academic career pathways framework. Members of the Innovation Caucus also have opportunities to apply for commissioned projects in their areas of expertise.

As we embark on the next phase of the Innovation Caucus through to the end of August 2021, we are looking to recruit new members. We are looking for academics with a broad range of disciplinary expertise across the social sciences, who will enable the Innovation Caucus to extend its activities and impact. The expectation is that all members of the Innovation Caucus will, as a minimum, participate in or contribute to two of the core activities as listed above. The membership of those who do not meet the above expectations in the first year will automatically lapse in September 2020.

Person specification

We are looking to appoint engaged academics from across the social sciences, with expertise in different fields of innovation research, from a variety of backgrounds and with different research specialisms. We are keen to ensure equality and diversity within the membership and to include a diverse range of expertise, talent and perspectives.
Expressions of Interest are invited from any social science academics meeting the following criteria:


  • Based in the Faculty of Social Sciences (or equivalent) of a UK Higher

Education institution

  • Strong track record of research relevant to innovation policy or practice
  • Demonstrable commitment to collaborative working within and beyond


  • Experience of knowledge exchange, working in a user-focused role, and/or translating research outputs for non-academic audiences


  • An interdisciplinary approach
  • Broad expertise in how social science research can inform policy and practice

The deadline for applications is 17:00 on Friday 18 October, 2019. To apply, please submit this Expression of Interest form. If successful, members will be appointed immediately, for a term ending on 31 August 2021 (with the possibility of an extension, by mutual agreement). New members will be expected to attend a meeting at UKRI’s headquarters in Swindon, on 23 January, 2020.