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ESRC funds observatories on Covid-19 policy and economics

Funding includes £1.6 million grant for International Public Policy Observatory led by University College London

The Economic and Social Research Council has awarded funding to two observatories with the aim of mitigating the impacts of Covid-19.

The ESRC funding includes a £1.6 million grant for the International Public Policy Observatory to help policymakers develop strategies to deal with the social, economic and public health impacts of the pandemic.

The £2m observatory will be run by University College London in collaboration with Cardiff University, Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Oxford and the University of Auckland, together with think tanks including the International Network for Government Science Advice and the academic news publisher The Conversation.

It will focus on a range of policy areas, including education, adult social care, mental health and the impact of the pandemic on Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups.

Meanwhile, the ESRC is also providing a further two years’ funding to the Economics Observatory for a project focusing on the economics of the pandemic, following a successful trial. The observatory, which launched this year, collates research from a wide network of experts and institutions with the aim of helping the public and policymakers better understand the pandemic.

“These observatories answer a real need, right now,” said ESRC executive chair Jennifer Rubin. “The coronavirus pandemic raises a great many questions and policymakers have to make often unprecedented decisions—some most urgent, others to address the longer-term recovery and wider challenges.

“Evidence is growing rapidly about different approaches, in the UK and globally. The International Public Policy Observatory and the Economics Observatory will give policymakers vital insights into the research, the knowledge being gained, what options are being trialled and what can work. I believe they will make an invaluable contribution.”

UPDATE 02/12 Clarified the size of ESRC grant to IPPO