The UK's biggest celebration of social science returns this November as the Economic and Social Research Council’s Festival of Social Science will highlight the impact of social science research on people's lives, with more than 300 free events across the country.

The Festival, now in its sixteenth year, will run from 3-10 November and involve public debates, conferences, workshops, film screenings and virtual exhibitions. These events allow social scientists to engage with the public and increase awareness of the contributions the social sciences make to wellbeing and the economy of the UK.

Festival events taking place across the UK will demonstrate how social science research has an impact on business, the public sector and civil society. Social science contributes to the competitiveness of the UK in the world, the effectiveness of public services, and the quality of people's lives.

The researcher-led events will engage with everyone from school children to policymakers. In 2017, events were held in 57 towns and cities with involvement from 1,348 social science researchers and a total attendance of 37,400 people. 

Professor Jennifer Rubin, ESRC Executive Chair, said: "The Festival of Social Science is one of the largest co-ordinated endeavours undertaken by a science community and demonstrates ESRC's commitment to public engagement. We know social scientists and economists value the opportunity to talk with the public to make an impact with their work. These events should inspire young people to pursue a career in social sciences and raise awareness about the impact made to wider society."

Events during the Festival provide insight into research dealing with a wide variety of themes. A small snapshot of these include:

  • False, fake and fibs: the science behind misinformation
  • #TimesUp: Gender inequality and women's mental health
  • Funding public services: Postcode lottery or local responsibility?
  • Challenging disability stereotypes through art
  • Demystifying menstruation: From UK to Uganda
  • Respecting neurodiversity: Communicating with autistic service users
  • EU migrants' experiences of civil society in Wales
  • The fall and rise of the Indian economy

Since its launch in 2003, thousands of Festival events have been organised and they have attracted more than a million people. A full list of events for the Festival will be available in late September.