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New Chief Executive announced for the Economic and Social Research Council

Announcing the appointment the Secretary of State said: “I would like to welcome Professor Boyle as the new Chief Executive of the Economic…

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Announcing the appointment the Secretary of State said:

“I would like to welcome Professor Boyle as the new Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council. He has an excellent academic and research background and will be a great asset to the Council.

“The ESRC is the leading funder of research and postgraduate training in social sciences in the UK. Our quality of life and the economic and social well-being of the UK are two of the priority issues addressed by ESRC’s highly regarded research and training activities.”

Professor Paul Boyle said:

“I am thrilled to be given this opportunity to lead the ESRC through the next few years, and look forward to working with ESRC staff, academic colleagues, the Government and the other Research Councils. The work of UK social scientists is world-leading in many fields, and by continuing to strengthen the infrastructure to support this we can improve our international standing even further.

“We face uncertain times ahead, but the role of social science research is even more important in these difficult times. Maintaining a strong research base is one crucial element of responding to economic uncertainty and it is important that the academic community continues to work hard to demonstrate the various societal, economic and intellectual impacts that this research is having.”

Dr Alan Gillespie, ESRC Chair, said:

“We are very pleased that Professor Boyle will be leading the ESRC during the challenging times ahead. With Professor Boyle’s exceptional academic credentials and interdisciplinary experience, this appointment will further strengthen the opportunities for the UK’s social science community to undertake world class research and to have an impact on the economic development and quality of life of the UK and beyond.”

The appointment is for four years. Professor Boyle will take up post on 1 September 2010 as the permanent successor to Professor Ian Diamond who left on 30 June. Drs Astrid Wissenburg is the current interim Chief Executive.

Notes for editors

  1. Professor Boyle’s appointment has been made following an open competition.

  2. Before taking up the post of ESRC Chief Executive, Professor Boyle was Head of the School of Geography and Geosciences at the University of St Andrews. Prior to moving to St Andrews in 1999 he had been at the University of Leeds. His research has been within population and health geography and he has been the Director of the ESRC funded Longitudinal Studies Centre - Scotland. He is also Co-Director of the ESRC funded Centre for Population Change and Co-Investigator on the Wellcome Trust funded Scottish Health Informatics Programme and the ESRC funded Administrative Data Liaison Service.

  3. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funds research and training in social and economic issues. The ESRC is an independent organisation, established by Royal Charter, but receives most of its funding through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. ESRC’s expenditure for 2009/10 was about £211 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 2,500 researchers in academic institutions and policy research institutes throughout the UK. The ESRC also support more than 2,000 postgraduate students. Visit their website at

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Published 29 July 2010