Message from Tim Gardam, Chief Executive

The Nuffield Foundation’s aim is to promote lifelong social well-being, and the events of 2016 have put our work into sharper perspective. Through our research grants, we contribute to the evidence base for informed policy-making and practice; we also fund programmes to help equip students with the skills and confidence to participate in the modern knowledge economy.

So far this year we have awarded 43 research grants amounting to almost £7 million, not including the £1.3 million each year we invest in quantitative social science training for undergraduates through our Q-Step programme (co-funded with the ESRC and HEFCE), and our funding for Nuffield Research Placements.

Brexit, and the national debate that has followed it, has brought to the fore anxieties that are core to our agenda – the distribution of social and economic advantage and disadvantage, education and opportunity, and the capacity of our public institutions to intervene to promote greater well-being. We have seen emerging pressure points in our society where the balance between diversity and fragmentation appears increasingly precarious, and where a data-driven society raises new issues around the distribution of social and economic well-being across generations. We need to ensure that the Foundation’s research agenda takes these issues into account.

We are developing a new strategy that will update the focus of our research interests and their connection to each other, and we will be working to increase the profile and impact of the projects we fund. In addition to this, over the next five years, we intend to make a substantial increase in our spending by funding a limited number of new projects in addition to our current grant-making.