The Board of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has appointed three new members to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC):

  • Dr Lasana Harris, Associate Professor, Experimental Psychology, University College London
  • Professor Sir Bernard Silverman, statistician, former Chief Scientific Advisor to the Home Office (2010-2017) and now part-time Professor of Modern Slavery Statistics, University of Nottingham
  • Professor Sir Simon Wessely, Professor of Psychological Medicine and Regius Professor of Psychiatry at King’s College London and a Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist at King’s College and the Maudsley Hospitals

They join the ESRC at an important time for social science research as it has a unique role to play in understanding and seeking to address the challenges and opportunities that are so in need of attention.

ESRC’s Council is comprised of individuals from business and the public sector, as well as representatives from the academic community. They work with Executive Chair Professor Jennifer Rubin to shape the ESRC’s strategy and to support UKRI's overall mission to maintain the UK’s world-leading position in research and innovation. ESRC Council members also provide Professor Rubin, and UKRI more widely, with input, intelligence and feedback from their communities and stakeholder groups.

Professor Jennifer Rubin welcomed the appointments saying: "I’m delighted to welcome these esteemed members to the ESRC Council. Lasana, Simon and Bernard will bring valuable expertise and insights to the Council; and together with our existing members will help ensure the social sciences’ contribution to the UK research and innovation landscape, and to addressing the major issues such as climate change, ageing populations, lagging productivity, and the spread of new technologies.”

The members announced today – totalling 16 people across the research councils, Innovate UK and Research England reflect the diversity of communities that they represent coming from varied backgrounds and experiences including academia, business, policy, third sector and the voluntary sector. Further details on all the appointments can be found on the respective Councils’ websites.

Today’s announcement is one of a number of Council appointments made by UKRI.