Cambridge University Reporter


Report of the General Board on the establishment of a Professorship of Family Research

The GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:

1. The Centre for Family Research is an inter-disciplinary research centre within the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences; the Director of the Centre is currently Professor M. P. M. Richards, the Professor of Family Research. The Centre undertakes research into families, kinship, and social relations. The work falls into the following broad clusters: socio-legal studies of the family; childhood and youth; psychosocial aspects of the new genetics and assisted reproduction; and maternity services. The Centre has many research partners within the University, and has been very successful in attracting research grant income, from research councils, the National Health Service, and charities. The international breadth of research in the family is reflected in some of the research projects led by the current Director, such as child labour in Peru and Portugal, the development of children and family life in the Basque country, youth and identity in England and Italy, and the globalization of genetic technologies. Members of the Centre make a major contribution to the teaching of the Social and Political Sciences Tripos and to research training, through the Faculty's M.Phil. programmes in Social and Developmental Psychology and Modern Society and Global Transformations.

2. The role of the current Professor of Family Research has been to provide leadership for the multidisciplinary groups concerned with research on parents, children, and the family. A further important aspect of empirical and applied social science research is to work closely with users and public bodies. The development and maintenance of links with agencies outside the University concerned with midwifery, divorce mediation, child and adult psychiatry and family law, and influencing government policy, requires leadership by someone of professorial standing and reputation.

3. Professor Richards intends to retire on 30 September 2005 from the Professorship of Family Research which was established for his tenure by Grace 2 of 2 December 1998. This will release an underlying University Lectureship from abeyance. The Faculty Board of Social and Political Sciences have recommended the permanent establishment of a Professorship of Family Research in the Faculty to sustain and enhance the activities and lead the future development of family research. To fund the new Professorship, the Faculty Board have proposed to the General Board that the University Lectureship should be suppressed and that the additional cost will be met from other funds at the Faculty's disposal. The Council of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences support the recommendation, which is consistent with both their research strategy and strategic plan. The Council of the School have agreed to underwrite this funding arrangement and have confirmed that no additional facilities will be required to support recruitment.

4. The Committee of Management of the Centre and the Faculty Board have agreed that the new Professor of Family Research will also be appointed Director of the Centre for Family Research, within the provisions of the present regulations for the Centre, in order to provide the necessary strong leadership and to develop the research collaborations with national and international academic and policy communities.

5. The General Board accordingly propose that a Professorship of Family Research be established in the University, from 1 October 2005, to be assigned in due course to the appropriate Department within the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, in the light of the disciplinary expertise of the new Professor. The Board propose that the election to the Professorship should be made by an ad hoc Board of Electors and that, on this occasion, candidature should be open without limitation or preference to all persons whose work falls within the general field of the title of the office.

6. The General Board recommend:

That a Professorship of Family Research be established in the University, with effect from 1 October 2005, placed in Schedule B of the Statutes, and assigned to the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences.