ESRC: Britain in 2013 – the nation in focus

Published on 19 November, Britain in 2013 – the nation in focus, showcases the diversity of ESRC-funded research on the state of the nation. The magazine is a mixture of academic opinion pieces alongside informed journalistic writing, offering a concise analysis of research and topical issues concerning Britain today.

Britain in 2013 reflects on, and offers possible solutions to, the most pressing problems British society faces.

This year's magazine features articles on:

  • Professor Nicholas Stern makes the case for Britain increasing the speed of its response to climate change
  • Professor Carol Propper examines hospital mergers
  • Professor Simon Burgess looks at the effectiveness of Ofsted's inspection system
  • Management and economics experts Amanda Goodall and Ganna Pogrebna ask: Can businesses learn from Formula 1 racing?
  • Britain's retail sector comes under the focus of Neil Wrigley and Michelle Lowe
  • Economics expert Romesh Vaitilingam looks at whether lessons from the past can help Britain's economy grow
  • Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies Paul Johnson considers the tough choices Britain faces and the fiscal adjustments needed to create a secure future for all
  • With a referendum on Scottish independence confirmed for 2014, ESRC experts on politics and devolution offer their views on the possible outcomes for the people of England and Scotland
  • Scientists assess how advances in science change the way we think about ourselves and create difficult ethical issues for clinicians
  • Social science experts revisit the social mobility enigma and ask: if politicians from all parties agree that British society is unequal, why is it proving so hard to change?
  • In a time of unprecedented change in the news industry, the former Editor of the Independent, Professor Ian Hargreaves, shows that despite the many threats there will always be a need for the craft of good journalism – trustworthy, accurate reporting
  • Professor Paul Collier, one of the leading experts in the field of world development, explains why it is important that the UK continues to provide aid to developing countries, even in a time of austerity.
  • Paul Boyle Chief Executive of the ESRC said "The publication of Britain in 2013 could not come at a better time. As a nation we have enjoyed a year of highs and lows, from embracing moments of sporting joy to dealing with the global recession and how to stimulate growth. The research findings we have included from across the social science community show that now, more than ever, economic and social science research has a fundamental impact on almost every aspect of our society."


The ESRC funds research across this wide range of issues and contributes to greater knowledge and understanding of the many challenges our society faces. But, importantly, much of this research goes further to propose solutions and show where interventions have a positive effect. Many examples of these important contributions are gathered in Britain in 2013.

For further information contact

ESRC Press Office:

Sarah Nichols
Telephone: 01793 413122
Jeanine Woolley
Telephone: 01793 413119
Notes for editors

Britain in 2013 is available in WHSmiths Travel and High Street shops, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Boots, priced at £5.50.
You can order a copy by emailing Azone at
Britain in 2013 showcases the diversity of ESRC-funded research around the state of the nation in 2012. The magazine is a mixture of academic opinion pieces alongside informed journalistic writing, offering a concise analysis of research and topical issues concerning Britain today. An entertaining, accessible and informative magazine, Britain in 2013 will appeal to those who enjoy debate and current affairs and have an interest both in social sciences and UK society.
All profit made from the sale of the magazine is reinvested in research communication. The views and statements expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the ESRC.
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's total budget for 2012/13 is £205 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.