New deal underlines the University’s commitment to collaborative European research

By Chris Lines (Senior Communications Officer), Published

City, University of London will continue to host the European Social Survey headquarters until May 2025, under a new agreement.

The European Social Survey (ESS) is a biennial cross-national survey conducted across Europe to measure the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of people in more than thirty nations.

The ESS has been led by a team at City since 2003, housed in the School of Arts & Social Sciences and linked to the Department of Sociology.

The new agreement supports City’s commitment to collaborative European research projects, even after the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. The renewal was made possible following the UK’s commitment to associate with the Horizon Europe framework research programme.

ESS Director Professor Rory Fitzgerald, who was appointed as a Fellow by the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences last year, gave his reaction to the new deal:

“I am delighted that City, University of London will continue to be the home of the European Social Survey Headquarters.

“City has played a central role in building the European Social Survey – from a fledgling project to a fully functioning European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) with 25 members – the highest of any European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC).

“As an internationally oriented university, City is the perfect home for the ESS.”

City, University of London’s President, Professor Anthony Finkelstein CBE, said:

“Since the project has been hosted by City, the survey has gone from strength to strength. With the university’s support, the ESS has developed from a project funded entirely by the European Commission to a sustainable research infrastructure.

“It is now one of the world’s leading social surveys, delivering high levels of academic, teaching and policy impact. I am sure that the project will continue to contribute significantly to our understanding of how Europe is changing socially and politically”.

About the ESS

Housed within City’s Department of Sociology, the ESS has been implemented in up to 30 participating countries every two years since 2002 and includes around 200 questions.

Questions asked on every round focus on media consumption, institutional and social trust, democracy, government and politics, national and ethnic identity, health and wellbeing, discrimination, immigration, religion, the human values scale and a range of socio-demographic measures.

By asking these same questions of a sample of respondents who represent each country’s entire population every two years, comparisons between countries and over time can easily be made.

In each round of the survey, two additional topics are covered in more depth, following an open call to academics working in any scientific discipline.

Two topics were covered in Round 9 specifically – questions were asked on the timing of life events (repeated from Round 3, 2006/07) and justice and fairness, in the context of income.

Previous topics covered include climate change, the welfare state, subjective health, immigration, ageism, democracy and wellbeing.

Survey data is collected through hour-long face-to-face interviews undertaken by survey agencies or research institutes in each country.

Since 2013, the ESS has been a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) – a legal entity that is funded by national funding bodies in all participating countries.

The statutes of the European Social Survey ERIC state that the host institution agreement is renewed every four years.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) remains the single biggest funder of the ESS, supported by funding agencies in 25 other European countries.

Other funding for some projects has been provided by the European Union through its Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

ESS data is available completely free of charge for non-commercial use – data can be accessed and analysed online or downloaded for use in statistical software programmes such as SPSS, Stata or R.

All data and documentation is available on the ESS website, including an online tool that allows registered users to view, weight and analyse the survey data.

Since the first dataset was released in 2004, over 180,000 people have registered to access European Social Survey data, with preliminary analysis of Google Scholar indexing establishing that almost 5,500 academic publications include substantial use of ESS data (2003-20).

Follow the ESS on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and YouTube, or to sign up for free, visit the ESS website.

For more information about the ESS, contact [email protected].