Funding boost helps improve social science skills
The University of Southampton has been awarded thousands of pounds of funding to help bridge a UK skills gap.
The University will receive £35,000 from ‘Q-Step’ to become a ‘Q-Step Affiliate’ – delivering short courses and student bursaries, as part of a programme of activities to enhance the data analysis skills of social science students at Southampton. The award will be matched by £20,000 of funding from the University.
Associate Professor in Demography at Southampton and Q-Step Affiliate Coordinator, Amos Channon comments: “The UK has a shortage of people with quantitative skills and we aim to help address this by better equipping our undergraduates for their future careers.
“A knowledge of quantitative methods is vital for evaluating evidence, analysing data, and designing and commissioning research. A whole range of careers demand this type of skill, from business to charity, politics to the public sector.”
Q-Step is a £19.5m programme developed as a strategic response to a shortage of quantitatively-skilled social science graduates. Currently, it is funding 15 centres at universities across the UK and has now added three affiliates to support these and broaden its reach. It is funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), although funding for the Q-Step Affiliate grants has come from the Nuffield Foundation alone.
Q-Step Affiliate status recognises universities, such as Southampton, that already demonstrate a high level of commitment to promote change in this area. Although targeted at undergraduates, Q-Step aims to promote training across the course of the education system, from recruitment of school students – to specialist training for those going on to postgraduate work.
As part of its new Q-Step Affiliate status, the University of Southampton is planning to help students gain the skills they need by making changes to the content of existing degree programmes, creating new programmes and by establishing a network of relevant training and work placements.
These activities are already underway and will run until July 2018.