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ESRC appoints National Strategic Director of e-Social Science

Published: 30 October 2009

Professor David De Roure of the University of Southampton has been appointed to the new role of Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) National Strategic Director of e-Social Science, with Dr Marina Jirotka of the Oxford e-Research Centre as Deputy Director. Both are part of the e-Research South consortium.

The appointments, which begin this month and run for three years, mean that Professor De Roure and Dr Jirotka will take a key strategic role in maximising the uptake, use and impact of new e-technologies across the Social Science community. They will also develop a coherent inter-agency approach drawing on various national and international e-Social Science initiatives.

"In the past five years, the National Centre for e-Social Science (NCeSS) has made excellent progress towards establishing powerful new research tools and methods," said Professor De Roure, who directs
e-Research activities at the University of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS). "Our experience in e-Research, coupled with the fact that Southampton is the home of the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM), puts us in a great position to build on the achievements of NCeSS and communicate these new approaches to the broader research community and the next generation of researchers."

Dr Jirotka, Associate Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre, added: "My background in both social and computer science will enable me to assist in the coordination of training and capacity building activities to embed e-Social Science techniques in research practice and make effective use of emerging infrastructure."

Professor Ian Diamond, Chief Executive at ESRC said: "ESRC is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor De Roure and Dr Jirotka, who combined will provide an ideal leadership team, bringing extensive experience and expertise to the NCeSS research programme to enable social scientists to harness the wealth of digital technologies in undertaking innovative world-leading research."

Professor De Roure has just returned from an intensive tour of the US with Professor Malcolm Atkinson, UK e-Science Envoy, on a fact-finding mission which is set to inform UK strategy and develop international collaborations.

"e-Science and e-Social Science are very highly thought of internationally," he said. "We are establishing a terrific network of advisors and collaborators to ensure that e-Social Science goes from strength to strength."

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