International Debate

Lords recommend appointment of Chief Social Scientist

July 19, 2011 904

The recommendation by the House of Lords Science and Technology Sub-Committee’s report Behaviour Change, published today (20 July), to appoint an independent Chief Social Scientist is welcomed by the Academy of Social Sciences – the representative body for social scientists in the UK.
When the previous holder of the post, Professor Paul Wiles, retired in 2010, the role was downgraded and shared between two people, who each had other responsibilities to fulfil. The Academy voiced its concerns about the reduction in status of the post and the consequent loss of the ability of social scientists to influence government at the most senior level. The Academy of Social Sciences made a submission to the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee in April calling for the post of Chief Social Scientist to be reinstated and said the same to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee secretariat.

Professor Cary Cooper, Chair of Council of the Academy of Social Sciences, says:
“Most of the social and health problems we are facing cannot be solved by physical science alone. We need behaviour change and a Chief Social Scientist at the heart of government. We strongly support the House of Lords recommendations today for this important role.”

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