Wales takes a lead in Researching Civil Society - Cardiff University based research institute receives £7 million for social science research

The Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD), based at Cardiff University, has received major funding in excess of £7 million following a successful bid to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

As one of four UK research centres, WISERD will be part of an overall ESRC investment of £29 million in a series of new centres and investments which will focus on a range of subjects addressing the ESRC’s priorities of: economic performance and sustainable growth, influencing behaviour and informing interventions, and a vibrant and fair society; which includes a focus on civil society.

This new flagship centre, WISERD/Civil Society, will undertake a five year innovative and far-reaching research programme of policy relevant research addressing Civil Society in Wales, the UK and Internationally. 

WISERD Director Professor Ian Rees Jones said: “As part of WISERD, a partnership between the Universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, South Wales and Swansea Universities, this new centre (WISERD/Civil Society) is built around longstanding partnerships between academics, policy makers and civil society organisations.”

“WISERD/Civil Society research will aim to inform our understanding of the changing nature of civil society in the context of devolved government and processes of profound social and economic change.   Furthermore, because of its size and devolved government, Wales offers a unique context for studying these issues.  Viewing Wales as a ‘laboratory for social science’, the centre will build on existing networks of researchers who have a wide range of expertise and skills.”

“This new centre will bring together our partner institutions with researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Sheffield and Ulster.  This is indeed a unique and exciting opportunity to undertake collaborative and multidisciplinary research that is focused on contemporary features of civil society,” he concluded.

Established in 2008, WISERD provides an ‘All-Wales’ focus for research and has had a major impact on the quantity and quality of social science research in Wales.

The Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP said of the ESRC announcement: “Investment in these research priorities is key to driving innovation and growth, helping to influence and shape policy and deliver a better society for us all.”

The centre will launch in Autumn 2014.  Further details on the research areas covered by the new centre will be presented at the WISERD 2014 Annual Conference at Aberystwyth University on 3rd and 4th July 2014.


Publication date: 3 April 2014