‘The Humanities and Social Sciences are essential if we are to tackle the complex challenges facing societies today,’ urges the British Academy as it publishes a new strategic plan to champion the disciplines, invest in outstanding research and enable a global exchange of knowledge and ideas.
The strategy, to 2022, positions the Academy as the UK leader for the humanities and social sciences and outlines its ambitions to speak up for the subjects, showing how they can help to shape the great themes of the age.
The five strategic aims for the Academy are:
- To speak up for the humanities and the social sciences
- To invest in the very best researchers and research
- To inform and enrich debate around society’s greatest questions
- To ensure sustained international engagement and collaboration
- To make the most of the Academy’s assets to secure the Academy for the future.
Last month, the Academy announced a £10 million gift from the Wolfson Foundation which will help to enable the Academy to deliver its strategic plan and in particular its aim to invest in the very best researchers and to engage with a wider, global public. The grant – the largest single grant ever awarded in the humanities and social sciences by the Foundation – will fund a major new initiative and see the Academy deliver a transformative programme to support early career researchers, develop an international community of scholars and create an intellectual hub at the Academy’s home on Carlton House Terrace in London.
Alun Evans, Chief Executive of the British Academy, said:
‘Whether it’s social integration or the ageing society, the future of democracy or climate change, Brexit or the rise of artificial intelligence, the insights of the humanities and social sciences are essential as we navigate our way through an uncertain present into what we hope will be a prosperous future. Our new strategy will help us to make this case more loudly, more proudly and more effectively than ever before.
‘In the current climate, when institutions are distrusted and when expertise is mocked, the humanities and the social sciences need a powerful and vocal advocate and the British Academy will be the voice for the disciplines. There is a real public appetite for the reason, evidence and insight that our researchers offer and their ability to deepen understanding of society and cultures, and of the pressing challenges of the modern world. Through our public engagement activities, we hope to demonstrate that the humanities and social sciences are not indispensable but essential.’
The British Academy is leading universities and other institutions in the humanities and social sciences to highlight the insight and evidence offered by the disciplines on Twitter, under #howhumanities and #howsocialsciences. On 20-22 June 2019, it will hold its second Summer Showcase – a free festival of ideas for curious minds which last year attracted over 1700 people to meet researchers funded by the Academy and find out more about their work through interactive displays and activities.