The University of California, Santa Cruz has joined the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) as one of the new members of the College and University Fund for the Social Sciences. This affiliation positions UC Santa Cruz as a national and international leader in the social sciences and will provide new opportunities on campus to help shape research priorities in the field.
The SSRC is an international organization with a nearly 100-year history of coordinating research, policy, and philanthropic efforts to advance the social sciences. the College and University Fund for the Social Sciences was established in 2013 to connect top research institutions with public and private funders to identify strategic funding priorities. UC Santa Cruz is now one of 39 higher education institutions that are part of this group.
“Some of our research strengths as a campus that we bring to the table include community-based research and public scholarship and our emphasis on social justice in all that we do,” said Dean of Social Sciences Katharyne Mitchell. . “We believe that the social sciences are an integral part of examining every major problem in our society; this membership allows us to ensure that research funding will reflect these priorities.
Dean Mitchell worked with the deans of social sciences at UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara to help establish a new seven-campus UC Consortium, and the resulting reduction in membership fees for each campus has allowed UC Santa Cruz – as well as UC Riverside and UCLA – to join the prestigious SSRC community. Lori Kletzer, Campus Vice-Chancellor and Executive Vice-Chancellor (CP/EVC), and Acting Vice-Chancellor of Research, John MacMillan, have been important partners in this endeavour.
Affiliation with the SSRC adds to UC Santa Cruz’s growing list of honors for research leadership, which includes membership in the Association of American Universities, recognition as a Hispanic-serving institution R1 and institution serving Asian Pacific Islanders and Native Americans, and strong faculty representation in organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and American Association for the Advancement Sciences.
“Our faculty and students at UC Santa Cruz are engaged in groundbreaking and highly influential research in a wide variety of disciplines, and this new membership confirms our long history of leadership in the social sciences,” said CP/EVC Lori Kletzer.
In the coming months, the Social Sciences Division Institute for Social Transformation will work to share additional information with faculty and students about new opportunities that the university’s official affiliation with the SSRC may provide. Current SSRC Research areas of intervention include emerging technologies and democracy, health and society, inequality and inclusion, and global scholarship and collaboration.
Funding opportunities generally encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and often connect the social sciences with the humanities, arts, or sciences. Chris Benner, director of the Institute for Social Transformation and professor of sociology and environmental studies, says the added support for these types of partnerships is a particularly exciting aspect of the new SSRC affiliation.
“The SSRC is very explicitly interdisciplinary in what it funds, and it’s also a very important place for inter-institutional connection between universities,” he said. “It networks and brings scholars together in a way that strengthens their work and helps push the boundaries of thought and research on critical social issues.”