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The future is bright…the future is social sciences

Edward Peck

It has become almost commonplace for those of us working in social sciences to bemoan the withdrawal of public funding for the teaching of our subjects and the reduction in research-grant opportunities offered by the Economic and Social Research Council. These concerns commonly tip over into conspiracy. So the launch of a Campaign for Social Sciences seems timely. In my view, however, the future for social sciences is far from gloomy.

Although it will be delivered through a new funding mechanism, the government will still fund universities for teaching social sciences from 2012 onwards. Indeed, it may be a blessing rather than a curse that 100 per cent of the fees for social-science students will be provided by the Student Loans Company, without the need for any Higher Education Funding Council for England subsidy. The level of this subsidy—in particular the inadequate proposed premium for teaching laboratory-based subjects—is already giving cause for concern.

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