Academy of Social Sciences
Formation1982; 41 years ago (1982)
TypeLearned society
Headquarters33 Finsbury Square, London, EC2A 1AG
Sir Ivor Crewe
Chief Executive
Rita Gardner

The Academy of Social Sciences is a representative body for social sciences in the United Kingdom. The academy promotes social science through its sponsorship of the Campaign for Social Science, its links with Government on a variety of matters, and its own policy work in issuing public comment, responding to official consultations, and organising meetings and events about social science. It confers the title of Fellow upon nominated social scientists following a process of peer review. The academy comprises over 1000 fellows and 41 learned societies based in the UK and Europe.

History and structure

The academy's origins lie in the formation of a representative body for the social science learned societies in 1982, the Association of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences (ALSISS). From 1999 to 2007 it was called the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences before changing to its current name.[1] The academy is run by a council of 21 members, with Professor Roger Goodman FAcSS as its current chair, and Professor Sir Ivor Crewe FAcSS, Master of University College, Oxford, as its current president. Seven council members are elected by the academy's fellows, 7 by its learned societies and seven are appointed.[2] Since 2019, its chief executive has been Rita Gardner FAcSS.[3]

List of presidents

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (May 2019)


The academy advocates social science by interacting with Government and other organisations, and co-ordinates the responses of social scientists to Government consultation documents. Past consultations include:

The academy also puts forward suggestions to the Government about which social scientists should carry out its Foresight research projects,[8] which look at important issues and how these might change over the next 20 to 80 years.

A developing part of the academy's work is to bring researchers and organisations using research closer together to improve the evidence upon which public policy is based and to increase the impact of research.

Publications and events

The academy has produced a series of ‘Making the Case for the Social Sciences’ booklets which give examples of important social science research which has made a difference to policy or practice. These are: Wellbeing; Ageing; Sustainability; the Environment and Climate Change; Crime; Sport and Leisure; Management; Scotland; Longitudinal Studies, Mental Wellbeing, Wales and Dementia. Further titles are in preparation. The academy also publishes a cross-disciplinary peer-reviewed journal, Contemporary Social Science. The academy holds regular events, such as conferences on the ethics of social media research and the future of the Research Excellence Framework. It holds an annual lecture each summer, and its President's Lunch each winter. It also arranges (with the British Library) a public lecture series Enduring Ideas.[9]


Main article: Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

Part of the academy's work is to recognise social scientists who are held in esteem by their peer group and whose life and work have had an impact in advancing social science. They are nominated and the nominations are then subject to peer review. Fellows are academics, policy-makers and practitioners, and are entitled to use the letters "FAcSS" after their name. In November 2014 there were 1000 Fellows, just over 1% of the 90,000 total membership of the 41 learned society members of the academy.

Fellows were previously known as academicians and used the post-nominal letter "AcSS". This was changed in July 2014 to bring the academy in line with other British learned societies.[10]

Campaign for Social Science

The Academy launched the Campaign for Social Science in January 2011 to advocate social science to Government and the general public. The Campaign is self-funded. It has campaigned for the restoration of the post of Government Chief Social Scientific Adviser,[11] promotes social science in the media and on the web, and organises roadshows around the country to emphasise the value and importance of social science.

Member societies

See also


  1. ^ Archived 2012-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved on 17 March 2010
  2. ^ Academy website
  3. ^ "Dr Rita Gardner appointed Chief Executive of the Academy of Social Sciences". Academy of Social Sciences. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Parekh, Baron, (Bhikhu Chhotalal Parekh)". Who's Who 2019. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U30023. ISBN 978-0-19-954088-4. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  5. ^ a b "New President for the Academy". Academy of Social Sciences. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  6. ^ "President's Luncheon 2019". Academy of Social Sciences. 12 September 2019. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  7. ^ Academy website
  8. ^ BIS website
  9. ^ "Social sciences".
  10. ^ "Academicians now 'Fellows of the Academy of Social Sciences'". News. Academy of Social Sciences. 4 July 2014. Archived from the original on 4 September 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  11. ^ "The case for a chief social scientist". The Guardian. 2012-03-19. Archived from the original on 2022-10-16.