About us

What we do

The Government Social Research profession supports the development, implementation, review and evaluation of government policy.

The Government Social Research profession (GSR) is one of the Civil Service Professions. It works in a wide range of government departments and is 1 of 5 government analytical services providing evidence for policy.

GSR researchers use the methods of social scientific enquiry – surveys, controlled trials, qualitative research, case studies and analysis of administrative and statistical data – to measure, describe, explain and predict social and economic phenomena to policy makers.

We have members in all central government departments as well as devolved administrations and other government bodies.

Our purpose is to:

  • provide government with objective, reliable, relevant and timely social research
  • support the development, implementation, review and evaluation of policy and delivery
  • ensure policy debate is informed by the best research evidence and thinking from the social sciences
  • provide in-depth data and objective analysis on what people and organisations think, how they behave and why they may not be responding to initiatives as planned
  • ensure government and frontline decisions have an understanding of the people and organisations affected by that decision and the wider social consequences

The Role of Government Social Researchers

Government social researchers play a critical role in gathering analysing and interpreting the information. This forms the foundation for decision-making affecting every UK resident. As a Research Officer (Fast Stream) you can contribute to:

  • reporting social trends
  • developing government policy
  • evaluating how policies make a difference to public services

Your work might involve:

  • developing surveys
  • analysing data
  • producing statistics
  • reviewing existing research evidence
  • working with other analysts in government

Our Social Researchers are based in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, London, Newport and Titchfield.

Our Management

Jenny Dibden, is the current Head of the Government Social Research Service and also Director Science and Research Directorate in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Jenny has been a civil servant for 28 years. During the early and middle parts of her career she helped construct the current evidence base of the Department for Work and Pensions. Jenny has subsequently worked in a number of policy and operational roles. In September 2014, Jenny joined the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as Director Science and Research Directorate, which she jobshares with Rebecca Endean, with responsibility for science policy and funding.

Jenny has been the sole head of the Government Social Research Service since April 2010.

Twitter: @jennydibden


Our members come from a range of social science backgrounds including:

  • psychology
  • social policy
  • geography
  • sociology
  • political science
  • criminology
  • social statistics.

We use rigorous assessment procedures to ensure we have high quality social scientists as government social researchers. If you are a researcher interested in working in government you can find out more by contacting via the Economic and Social Research Council.

Fast Stream Scheme

The GSR Fast Stream scheme closes for applications on 21 November 2016.

GSR Sandwich Student Placements

The 2017-18 GSR Sandwich Student Placement scheme is now closed for applications.

Information about the 2018-19 intake will be posted here nearer the time.

Government Economic and Social Research team

The Government Economic and Social Research (GESR) team is the professional support unit for all GSR and Government Economic Service members.


  • provide support to government Chief Economists and GSR Heads of Profession
  • promote good analysis and evidence in government
  • provide central recruitment and information services
  • maintain and develop profession standards and provide competency guidance
  • promote more effective use of combined skills of analysts across professions
  • manage applications for the Fast Stream and Summer Student Placement schemes
  • organise professional conferences and seminars
  • make sure policy makers have access to tools and resources in the analytical community

You can contact the GESR team by email: ges.int@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk

Or write to us at:

HM Treasury
1 Horse Guards Road

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