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.




Heyworth said in 1965 that setting up the research council would be repaid by improvements in the efficiency of the national economy and quality of life. But the evidence on inequality, say, or trust in government is not compelling: it is not clear either that social science has had meliorative effects on them. Social science research has produced useful ideas with an increasingly factual base rather than definitive answers to major policy questions.

The Wilson government is convinced, Lord Snow – parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Technology – told his fellow peers, that ‘the additional expenditure by Government that we recommend’ in establishing the SSRC ‘will in the course of time – and not too long a time – be more than repaid ...

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