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UK Strategic Forums for the Social Sciences and Humanities

These forums bring together senior representatives across organisations that fund, use and commission social science, arts and humanities research, in order to facilitate discussion about the major issues and challenges facing these disciplines. They provide an arena for debate at the highest level, to enable the needs of the social sciences, arts and humanities to be addressed and tackled.

The forums have four key aims:

• To enable high-level information exchange between heads of representative bodies, major funders and other organisations working in arts, humanities and social sciences 

• To discuss recent relevant government policy developments 

• To share information about relevant priorities and forthcoming activities of member organisations

• To identify common messages which make the policy and resource case to government for the importance of arts, humanities and social sciences and to harness evidence which will support this

The forums aim to meet at least once a year and may meet more frequently. The agenda for each forum is constructed to enable strategic discussion about topical areas of shared interest or concern.They do not inhibit individual organisations’ freedom of action but will facilitate coherent initiatives and policy positions when appropriate.  

Strategic Forum for Social Sciences

The Forum was established in 2001, originally hosted by the Economic and Social Research Council. Since October 2009 the British Academy has convened the Forum. 

Recent themes have included:

  • The demand for and use of social science research by government 
  • Research infrastructure for the social sciences
  • The Research Excellence Framework and the Knowledge Exchange Framework
  • Review of social science knowledge and skills needs
  • International challenges and opportunities for social science research

Strategic Forum for the Humanities 

The Strategic Forum for the Humanities was established in April 2017 in response to the longstanding success of the equivalent body for the social sciences.  

Recent themes have included:

  • The role of research infrastructure in the humanities
  • Humanities engagement within government
  • Open access publication within the humanities 
  • Diversity within the discipline 
  • UK-wide languages strategy