European Social Survey becomes first European Research Infrastructure Consortium hosted in the UK.

Published (Updated )

Academics and policy makers from across Europe gathered at The Royal Society London earlier today to officially launch the European Social Survey (ESS) European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC).

The ESS ERIC, which has its headquarters within the Centre for Comparative Social Surveys at City University London, is the first ERIC hosted in the UK and joins some of the most innovative research infrastructures in Europe, including CERN, the world's largest particle physics laboratory.

Speakers at the event included:

  • Mike Bright, Economic and Social Research Council, UK
  • Professor Paul Boyle, Chief Executive, Economic & Social Research Council, UK
  • Ron Egginton OBE CEng MBA BSc, Head ESRC and BBSRC Team, Research Funding Unit, Department For Business, Innovation, Skills, UK
  • Rory Fitzgerald, Director, ESS ERIC, City University London
  • Professor Michael Breen, Chair, ESS ERIC General Assembly
  • Professor John Fothergill, Pro-Vice Chancellor Research & Enterprise, City University London
  • Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science

Professor Sir Paul Curran, Vice-chancellor of City University London, said: "City has a commitment to academic excellence and much of our world-leading research seeks to address society's contemporary challenges.

"For more than ten years, the ESS has produced data and insight which have influenced research and informed policy across Europe. The award of ERIC status is recognition of the excellent reputation that the ESS has in social science research and I congratulate my colleagues on this achievement."

Research Infrastructures (RIs) are playing increasingly important roles in the advancement of knowledge and technology. They create a formal structure within which international academics and industry experts can work collaboratively in search of solutions to many of the problems society is facing.

ERIC status will bring much-needed funding stability to the European Social Survey and acknowledges it as a leading European research infrastructure in the social sciences.

The founding members of the ESS ERIC are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, Netherlands , Portugal, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK. Norway and Switzerland participate as Observers. Other countries are expected to join in the coming months.

ERICs offer unique research opportunities to users from different countries and are playing an increasingly important role in the advancement of knowledge and the development of technology. Their creation is central to Europe 2020, the European Union's ten-year growth strategy.

Rory Fitzgerald, Director of the ESS, said: ""I am delighted that the application to establish the European Social Survey (ESS) as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) hosted at City University London has been successful. The long-term future of the ESS is now secure and this important time series at last has a funding time horizon.

"The ESS ensures that academically rigorous, comparative data about the attitudes, behaviour and beliefs of Europeans is freely available. This important academic resource, containing around 300,000 interviews with those from across Europe, has already been used by more than 60,000 people worldwide and has been used in thousands of publications. It has also influenced policy and led to higher standards of cross-national measurement.

"The awarding of ERIC status is recognition of the importance of that work which is led by the team at City University London".