£1.44 million to address shortage of quantitatively trained social scientists

The University of Glasgow has been awarded £1.44 million to help address the critical shortage of "quantitative" social scientists - those trained in the mathematical and statistical skills needed to analyse large numerical datasets.

The UK currently faces a serious deficit in quantitative social researchers which, if not addressed, could have serious implications for the UK’s status as a world leader in research and higher education, according to the British Academy.

The ESRC, Nuffield Foundation, and Higher Education Funding Council for England have joined forces to fund a £19.5 million UK-wide programme designed to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training. Over the next five years, fifteen Q-Step centres will be established at universities across the UK, embedding quantitative concepts in existing social science teaching, and delivering specialist undergraduate programmes, including new courses, work placements and pathways to postgraduate study. Expertise and resources will be shared across the higher education sector through an accompanying support programme, which will also forge links with schools and employers.

The £1.44m grant, combined with a significant financial contribution from the University of Glasgow, will fund a total of four, ten year lecturers: one in the School of Education, two in the School of Social and Political Sciences, and one in the School of Mathematics and Statistics.

Professor Gwilym Pryce, Director of the Q-Step Centre, said, “This is a significant and exciting development for the University of Glasgow, enabling us to play our part in addressing the acute shortage of quantitatively trained social scientists, and to pursue our long term ambition to become a major centre for quantitative methods training and innovation. I think there is also a particular imperative for Glasgow to develop the local expertise needed to understand the nature and causes of social and economic deprivation in the city, and to design better policies. This initiative will help us do that.”

 

 


For more information contact Cara MacDowall, cara.macdowall@glasgow.ac.uk or call 0141 330 3683

Notes to editors:

Q-Step is a £19.5 million programme designed to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training. Over a five-year period from 2013, fifteen universities across the UK are delivering specialist undergraduate programmes, including new courses, work placements and pathways to postgraduate study. Expertise and resources will be shared across the higher education sector through an accompanying support programme, which will also forge links with schools and employers.

Q-Step was developed as a strategic response to the shortage of quantitatively-skilled social science graduates. It is funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). For more information go to www.nuffieldfoundation.org/q-step

Note that although HEFCE is one of the three funders of the Q-Step Centres, the funds have been allocated in such a way that the HEFCE money will be used only for the English institutions.

First published: 3 October 2013

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