Adam Smith Research Foundation aims to shape future policy

Published: 26 January 2007

The Adam Smith Research Foundation, launched this week, aims to build on the legacy and global impact of one of the University of Glasgow's most revered academics to help shape future research and policy agendas.

The Adam Smith Research Foundation, launched today, aims to build on the legacy and global impact of one of the University of Glasgow's most revered academics to help shape future research and policy agendas.

Based in newly refurbished on-campus premises at 66 Oakfield Avenue, the Foundation will enhance links between the different disciplines in the Faculty of Law, Business and Social Sciences and support the development of interdisciplinary research outwith the University.

Speaking at a launch ceremony this afternoon (Friday 26 January), Principal Sir Muir Russell said:

"The Adam Smith Research Foundation is an exciting new addition to inter-disciplinary research in the UK. It demonstrates the University of Glasgow's commitment to raise the profile of our excellent, independent and original inter-disciplinary research across a range of themes.

"The Foundation will position the work of its researchers firmly in the top ranks of social science research and aims to attract the best home and international Research Fellows, postgraduate students and distinguished international Visiting Fellows.

"The Foundation is a fitting way for the University to honour Adam Smith's enlightenment legacy and set the agenda for future policy."

The Adam Smith Research Foundation's five research themes are:

ᄋ Public Policy, Governance and Social Justice

ᄋ Work, Ethics and Technology

ᄋ People Places and Change

ᄋ Macroeconomics, Business and Finance

ᄋ Legal and Political Thought

The Principal was joined at the launch by invited guests; the Dean of the Faculty Noreen Burrows; co-directors of the Foundation, Professors Chris Berry and Catherine Schenk; and affiliated Research Fellows.

Martin Shannon (

Adam Smith (1723 - 1790) entered Glasgow University at the age of fourteen. He studied under some of the leading scholars of the day. In 1740 Smith was awarded a Snell Scholarship, which is still in existence today, to study at Balliol College, Oxford. Later Smith reported that he found Oxford a far inferior pedagogic institution to his alma mater.

After a period of freelance lecturing, Smith returned to Glasgow University, first as Professor of Logic in 1750 and then two years later as Professor of Moral Philosophy, a post he held until 1764.

The seeds of Smith's two great books were sown in his professorial years. The Theory of Moral Sentiments appeared in 1759 and drew on his lectures. And although the Wealth of Nations was published in 1776 we know, from student notes that have survived, that he had already considered many of its leading themes at Glasgow as he lectured on 'those arts which contribute to subsistence, and to the accumulation of property, in producing correspondent movements or alterations in law and government.?

In 1787 Smith was elected Rector of the University and in a letter of thanks he remarked that he remembers his professorial days as 'by far the most useful and therefore as by far the happiest and most honourable period of my life'.

The Adam Smith Research Foundation seeks to honour his Enlightenment legacy with independent, original research that impartially advances utility and enhances social happiness or well-being in the Information Age.

First published: 26 January 2007

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