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Economic, Social and Political Sciences

Centre for Population Change wins second phase funding from UK Economic and Social Research Council

Published: 26 September 2013 Origin:  Social Statistics and Demography

The Centre for Population Change, based jointly in Social Sciences at the University and National Records of Scotland (NRS) has been successful in gaining renewed core funding from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to support a second phase of its research, it has been announced

The new funding will support research across five major themes:

  • fertility and family change;
  • increasing longevity and the changing lifecourse;
  • new mobilities and migration;
  • integrated demographic estimation and forecasting; and
  • understanding intergenerational relationships and exchange.

During the first phase of the Centre, which was established in 2009, its researchers have produced over 300 conference papers, almost 200 journal articles, working papers and book chapters, and have contributed to numerous seminars and workshops. The core areas of research have included: understanding recent fertility trends and their drivers; people’s living arrangements throughout their lives, why people live in certain ways and the implications for society; migration and mobility patterns and processes; and statistical modelling of population change over time.

The second phase of funding for the Centre was awarded by the ESRC following an independent review of its past achievements and proposed scientific programme to December 2018.

Professor Jane Falkingham , Director of the Centre, welcomed the funding for the second phase of research: “Since our work started in 2009, the world has passed the landmark of a population of seven billion citizens, and it is likely that India will soon overtake China as the most populous country in the world. Fertility has continued to rise and, in England and Wales, there are no signs of this levelling out. Migration remains an important part of overall population growth and continues to play a significant role in shaping local communities. Life expectancy, particularly at older ages, has continued to improve. This combined with changes in living arrangements, economic and social roles and resources across the life-cycle, continue to demand research attention – particularly as the large cohorts born after the Second World War begin to retire. Running across all these themes is the need for greater understanding of how demographic behaviours have been influenced by or have responded to the economic downturn since 2008.
The work we have already undertaken, and the work we are planning to undertake in the next five years, will address these emerging issues so that we might better plan for service need. We have already begun to use newly available data, and we will continue to make a positive contribution to the ESRC’s mission of producing world class social science research that supports improving the lives of individuals, families and communities, not just in the UK, but also internationally.”

Professor Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of the ESRC, said: “ESRC is delighted to support the work of CPC. The Centre exists to examine the causes and consequences of population change and, as such, it contributes directly to our understanding of a constantly changing society. We are pleased to be able to continue to fund a Centre that can provide advice on, disseminate knowledge about, and promote public understanding of the causes and consequences of population change. We look forward to seeing how CPC continues to develop and contribute to ESRC’s economic and social aims.”

In its second phase, CPC will continue to be based jointly at the University of Southampton and the National Records of Scotland (NRS), bringing together expertise from the universities of Southampton, St. Andrews, Edinburgh, Strathclyde and Stirling as well as NRS and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Professor Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, said: “We are pleased that the ESRC are continuing their support for CPC. The University of Southampton is renowned for its expertise in demography and social sciences, including the application of cutting-edge quantitative and qualitative methods, and also the international scope of its research. The research undertaken by the Centre is integral to this reputation and we are proud to be able to host such an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional and wide-reaching Centre.”

Members of the Centre for Population Change are leading experts in the fields of demography, economics, geography, gerontology, sociology, social policy and social statistics, with expertise in both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. The Centre’s Director is Professor Jane Falkingham, with Co-Directors Professor Maria Evandrou and Professor Elspeth Graham.

"The work we have already undertaken, and the work we are planning to undertake in the next five years, will address these emerging issues so that we might better plan for service need."
Professor Jane Falkingham
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