As announced earlier in the year, sociologist Jane Elliott took the reins of Britain’s Economic and Social Research Council on October 1. Elliott was the head of the Department of Quantitative Social Sciences at the University of London’s Institute of Education when her appointment was made.
As chief executive, she will run the sixth-largest (based on government allocation) of seven research councils that coordinate and fund much of the United Kingdom’s science and humanities research “into the big social and economic questions facing us today.” The council also takes an active role in developing and training tomorrow’s cadre of social scientists.
Elliott’s main research interests have focused on gender and employment, healthy aging, and narrative approaches to combining qualitative and quantitative analysis, the latter shown off to good advantage in her 2005 book, Using Narrative in Social Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Before joining the Institute of Education in 2004, she was at the University of Liverpool and in 2002 to 2003 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She earned her first degree from the University of Cambridge and her Ph.D. from the University of Manchester.
Elliott is also director of the ESRC-funded Centre for Longitudinal Studies, which manages the 1958, 1970 and Millennium Birth Cohort studies, and has recently taken responsibility for the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England. In 2012 Jane became the founding director of the Cohorts and Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources, or CLOSER, program. She is a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.
She replaced Paul Boyle as head of ESRC. Boyle announced in late January that when his four-year term at ESRC ended in September he would assume duties as vice chancellor of the University of Leicester. A geographer, Boyle took the reins of ESRC in September 2010; he also served as international champion for the Research Councils UK. In October 2011 Boyle was named as the first president of Science Europe, an association of 52 European research funding and research performing organizations.