Development & Alumni Relations Office 


25 September 2018

Northern Ireland’s three universities are once again coming together for the annual Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science – the UK's biggest celebration of social science with more than 300 free events across the country.

This year the ESRC Festival in Northern Ireland – which runs from 3-10 November – will be led by Queen’s and will feature a total of 26 free events organised by social science academics from Queen’s, Ulster University and The Open University.

The UK-wide Festival aims to open up social science research to new audiences by showing how such research has an influence on our everyday lives.

Now in its sixteenth year, the Festival includes talks, screenings and workshops offering the public the chance to debate, discuss and discover how social science shapes everything from our working life and our children’s learning, to how we engage with our families and within our communities.

Events will also demonstrate how social science research has an impact on business, the public sector and civil society. Social science contributes to the competitiveness of the UK in the world, the effectiveness of public services, and the quality of people's lives.

Professor Jennifer Rubin, ESRC Executive Chair, said: "The Festival of Social Science is one of the largest co-ordinated endeavours undertaken by a science community and demonstrates ESRC's commitment to public engagement.

“We know social scientists and economists value the opportunity to talk with the public to make an impact with their work. These events should inspire young people to pursue a career in social sciences and raise awareness about the impact made to wider society."

Highlights in Northern Ireland this year include reflections on the Good Friday Agreement, a discussion on borders and Brexit, and a bus tour looking at Belfast's grassroots peacebuilding history. A snapshot of other local events (some of which are already booked out, includes:

  • Can economists change the world?
  • Climate change: how do we respond?
  • Beyond words and numbers: young people and research
  • The [ART] in Family exhibition

The ESRC is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government and is the UK's largest funder of research on the social and economic questions facing us today.

ESRC-funded research informs policymakers and practitioners and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective.

For further information on the range of activities taking place across Belfast and to register your place, please visit:

For more details on the activities of the Economic and Social Research Council contact James Dixon, Media Manager ESRC Press Office, +44 (0)1793 413122.

Media enquiries to Zara McBrearty at Queen’s Communications Office on tel: +44 (0)28 9097 2642.


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