What is the role of the state in distributing research money? How do ‘arm’s-length’ funding agencies relate to public policy and business? This original study looks at the main social science funding agency in the UK, which was established 50 years ago. It examines how funding decisions are related to power. The ‘critical’ and ‘policy’ aspects of successful research bids are discussed. Walker asks the tricky question, why has social science research not achieved a more salient role in state policy formation and management strategy: is the funding agency responsible? Insightful, engrossing and highly original, the book will be required reading for anyone who has written or will write a Social Science research bid and, more widely, for students of power, knowledge and culture.

Promise and Disappointment

Promise and Disappointment


The bright hopes of the mid-1960s quickly gave way to disappointment, the research council a victim both of academic refusal or inability to supply requisite knowledge (as sought, for example, by Sir Keith Joseph) and the cultural and ideological turn against the social democratic state the SSRC symbolised. The story here is about marginalisation – in Whitehall – then the attempted assassination of the research council by the Thatcher government.

A child of its time, the SSRC photographed council members at their first meeting on 21 January 1966. As well as the heavy glass ashtrays on the table in front of them, the picture shows only two women, one of them a secretary, and the rest all white men (Nicol, ...

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