Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6174

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Vol cxl No 15

pp. 457–484

Notices By The General Board

Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH): Notice

The General Board have accepted a recommendation from a review group, set up to consider the long-term future of CRASSH, that the Centre should be formally incorporated as an institution within the School of Arts and Humanities while continuing to have a mission spanning Arts and Humanities and the Humanities and Social Sciences. At present, although the Centre is not formally assigned to any School, it has been the practice of the central bodies of the University to group it with the School of Arts and Humanities for the purposes of resource management and personnel matters. The Board also accepted the recommendations that: the Heads of the constituent Schools, one of whom shall be Chair, should serve on the Committee of Management; and the further membership of the Management Committee should be reduced in size to six appointed members (three from each of the Schools of Arts and Humanities, and the Humanities and Social Sciences) and two co-opted members, in order to provide the opportunity of representation external to the two Schools.

The Council is submitting a Grace to the Regent House to approve the necessary changes to the regulations for the School of Arts and Humanities (Grace 5, p. 482). Subject to the approval of the Grace the regulations for the Centre will be amended as set out in the Schedule below.


Proposed amendments to regulations (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 626)


The Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH) shall be an institution independent of any Faculty or Department but under the supervision of the General Board, and shall be within the School of Arts and Humanities.

Management Committee

1. The management of the Centre shall be the responsibility of a Management Committee, which shall consist of:

(a)the Director;

(b)the Heads of the Schools of Arts and Humanities and of the Humanities and Social Sciences, one of whom shall be Chairman;

(c)six people appointed by the General Board, of whom three shall be appointed on the recommendation of the Council of the School of Arts and Humanities and three on the recommendation of the Council of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences;

(d)two people, not members of the constituent Schools, co-opted at the discretion of the Committee.

2. Members in class (c) shall be appointed in the Michaelmas Term to serve for four years from 1 January following their appointment. A co-opted member in class (d) shall serve until 31 December of the year in which he or she is co-opted or of the following year, as the Committee shall decide at the time of co-optation.

3. The Director, or failing whom the Deputy Director, shall serve as Secretary of the Committee.

4. The Committee shall meet at least once each term.

5. Subject to the powers of the Council and the General Board, the duties of the Committee shall be to:

(a)promote research in the fields of the arts, humanities, and social sciences and the publication of the results of such research;

(b)co-operate with individuals and bodies inside the University to encourage research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences;

(c)administer funds allocated to them for the purposes specified in (a) and (b) above;

(d)supervise the work of the staff of the Centre;

(e)prepare annual estimates for submission to the General Board;

(f)make an Annual Report to the General Board.

General Board Review of the provision of teaching, learning, and research in the social sciences: Notice

As indicated in their Notice of 28 May 2009 (Reporter, 2008–09, p. 802), the General Board established a Review Committee to consider the provision of teaching, learning, and research in the social sciences. That Committee has now made its first report which the Board have agreed to publish for the information of the University.

The Board acknowledge that much detail needs to be worked through in the implementation of the report’s recommendations (summarized in Section 3). Nevertheless, they have agreed that the report sets out an appropriate general direction of travel for Cambridge social sciences in the future and a basis for further constructive discussion with the institutions and individuals concerned. While they accept that not all the recommendations may be universally welcomed, the Board consider that they comprise a coherent set of actions in response to the concerns and deficiencies identified in the Review Committee’s report. They are of the view that the report’s recommendations (assuming their implementation) are in the best interests of the University and will greatly strengthen Cambridge’s position, nationally and internationally, in the social sciences through:

the creation of new units with the necessary critical mass to foster research collaboration that will be attractive to the funding bodies and provide a more fertile and supportive research environment for postgraduate students and academic staff;

the introduction of clearer and more attractive pathways for undergraduate study of a broader range of social sciences;

the development of a more integrated approach to teaching and research in psychology; and

structures that will promote the most efficient uses of resources, in a climate of financial constraint.

The Board have asked the Review Committee to undertake the necessary negotiations with respect to each individual recommendation with the parties concerned and to report regularly to them on progress. They have agreed that, as the Review Committee’s recommendation that a Social Sciences Tripos be introduced (subject to the approval of the Regent House) with effect from October 2012 has been almost universally welcomed by those whom the Review Committee has consulted, progress on this particular matter be expedited as quickly as possible. Accordingly, the Board have agreed that a group, comprising representatives of the relevant institutions within the University and of the Colleges, be brought together as soon as possible to consult appropriately and draw up proposals for such a Tripos. The Board will issue further, formal Reports as and when changes to Statutes and Ordinances are proposed.

First Report of the Review Committee established to consider the provision of teaching, learning, and research in the social sciences

1. Introduction

The Review Committee was established by the General Board at their meeting on 6 May 2009. Its terms of reference and membership are set out in Appendix A. These were published, with an invitation for comments, in the Reporter of 28 May 2009. The Committee has so far met, either with the full membership or in meetings of the internal members, on nine occasions. Lists of those individuals seen and of papers received are attached as Appendices B and C.

2. The Committee’s remit

2.1 The Committee was established following a report (March 2009) from a group previously set up by the Board to review the RAE submission, and its outcome, of the Departments of Sociology and of Social and Developmental Psychology (SDP) to the RAE 2008 Sociology Panel and to determine whether there were any obvious reasons for the outcome. That Group had recommended to the Board that there should be a fuller review of the provision of Social Sciences in Cambridge. The rationale for this fuller review was further supported by discussions which had taken place within the Education Committee regarding the teaching of Psychology at Cambridge and the future of the Education Tripos. Such a review had also been recommended by the General Board’s Learning and Teaching Review of the Faculty of Politics, Psychology, Sociology, and International Studies in 2006–07.

2.2 The Committee was made aware that previous discussions of the position of Social Sciences in Cambridge had resulted in wide-reaching ideas which envisaged a radical repositioning into larger structures of all subjects falling within this umbrella, both inside and external to the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The Committee recognizes the strength of these arguments, which embrace the national trend towards interdisciplinarity and which accord with the Committee’s view that larger structures are better placed to exploit ESRC (and other) funding opportunities. Undoubtedly these are ideas that need to be considered at a later stage but, in its discussions at this first stage of review, the Committee felt bound to take into account the probability that, in the current financial climate, little funding would be available to support widespread restructuring.

2.3 Accordingly, the Committee agreed that its role was to consider what is in the University’s overall interest, what is feasible at present, and what represents the best use of the University’s current academic expertise and resources in this area. The Committee has paid particular attention to the views of its external members, both of whom were heavily involved in the 2008 RAE and come from well regarded Departments of Sociology and Psychology. The Committee has taken into account what are likely to prove to be the most appropriate arrangements with respect to the next REF and to Tripos provision, but has endeavoured (with the support of the previous and current Chairs of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences) not to have its agenda over-dictated by either of those considerations. In particular, it has based many of its conclusions on a firm view that in a research-intensive university, Triposes should not be the basis for determining Faculty and departmental configurations and boundaries.

2.4 The Committee has endeavoured to: identify means of raising the profile of Cambridge Social Sciences nationally and internationally; and find ways of creating critical mass and of promoting interdisciplinarity, research strengths, and synergies. In parallel, it has considered means of reducing duplication of teaching and of administrative provision. It has sought to identify, in general terms, the most appropriate educational pathways for undergraduates. It has been particularly concerned with ensuring that Cambridge is able to fulfil its comparative advantage in the recruitment and training of high-quality graduate students in a rich postgraduate environment. It has aimed to ensure that existing pockets of excellence have the appropriate intellectual context and infrastructural support to realize fully their potential and the distinctive contributions they can make to the Social Sciences.

2.5 The Committee recognizes that not all its recommendations will be universally welcomed, not least as some involve altering organizational structures which have only been developed over the last five years, particularly the reorganization of what was the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences and other organizational changes in the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences previously promoted by the Council of the School. The Committee, however, notes that the present arrangements are not universally popular with the institutions concerned since the small size into which institutions have been fragmented has led to a proliferation of support structures and heavy administrative workloads for an increasing number of academic staff. The Committee estimates that the administrative savings to be achieved by its recommendations will outweigh the cost of any new posts; furthermore it does not envisage its proposals leading to a loss of identity for any of the constituent members within the new structures proposed.

2.6 The Committee has not seen its role as advising the General Board on the filling or otherwise of vacant posts but as identifying means to maximize the attractiveness of vacancies for which permission to fill is given. This is of particular relevance to the Department of Sociology where it is important that potential applicants for posts have a clear indication of the University’s intentions with regard to Social Science provision at Cambridge in general and, particularly, the future direction for Sociology within the proposed new framework. The Committee understands that the Council of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences now has in place firm plans to fill some of its vacant posts, with the necessary resources having been identified. The Committee agrees that the School’s package of proposals be brought before the General Board at the earliest possible opportunity and judged in light of this report. It is the Committee’s view that this provides a good opportunity to make judicious appointments who can play a leading role in developing the Social Sciences in Cambridge into a vibrant, cohesive, and visible discipline.

2.7 The Committee’s intention, in submitting this first report, is to secure the General Board’s agreement that the broad direction of future travel which it has identified is appropriate and to authorize it to use this as its agenda for more detailed proposals to be worked up and for further discussions with interested parties. In particular, it is important that work begins now in establishing a Social Sciences Tripos (see 9 below), a proposal that was warmly welcomed by virtually all those seen by the Committee.

3. Summary of recommendations

1.The establishment of a Social Sciences Tripos with effect from 2012–13, and the immediate establishment of a Social Sciences Tripos Management Committee.

2.The withdrawal of a full, three-year, Education Tripos after the October 2011 intake and the introduction of a one-year Part II Tripos with effect from 2012–13.

3.The creation of a unified Department of Psychology in the School of the Biological Sciences comprising the current Departments of Experimental Psychology and Social and Developmental Psychology, supplemented by those staff currently in the Faculty of Education who make up its Centre for Neuroscience in Education (CNE).

4.The creation of a Department of Criminology, Social Anthropology, and Sociology in the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences, comprising the current Departments of Sociology and of Social Anthropology, the Institute of Criminology, and the Centre for Family Research.

5.The establishment of a single Department of Archaeology and Biological Anthropology through the amalgamation of the two present Departments.

6.The establishment of a Faculty, with a single Degree Committee, of Archaeology, Anthropology, Criminology, and Sociology to replace the present two Faculties of Politics, Psychology, Sociology, and International Studies and of Archaeology and Anthropology.

7.The establishment of a Faculty and a Degree Committee of Politics, International, and Area Studies which should also embrace the existing Centres of Development and Area Studies.

8.The establishment of a new University Lectureship in the new Department of Criminology, Social Anthropology, and Sociology in a field which spans the research interests of both Social Anthropology and Sociology.

9.The establishment of a new University Lectureship in the Department of Experimental Psychology in a field which embraces the interests of both this Department and also those of the Department of Social and Developmental Psychology.

10.The establishment of a single-tenure Professorship in the Department of Experimental Psychology.

11.The Faculty of Education should be given immediate leave to fill the Professorship of Education (1938) that will become vacant if Recommendation 10 is approved.

4. The Cambridge context

4.1 Cambridge Social Science is relatively small in comparison with other centres of world-class excellence. Whilst there is sufficient critical mass in some institutions (e.g. Economics and POLIS) to make these feasible as stand-alone institutions, the same is not the case with other units where their small size, and proliferation, has contributed to a perception of the general lack of visibility of a ‘Cambridge Social Sciences’ entity, notwithstanding the outstanding performance of certain discrete units. Appendix D sets out the current number of UTOs by institution.

4.2 The Committee firmly believes that maintaining the status quo is not in the University’s best interests. As currently configured, much of the University’s provision is undertaken through relatively small units involving high maintenance, specialized, Triposes with limited sharing of courses, creating administrative and undergraduate teaching burdens for academic staff (thereby compromising their volume of research activity) and duplication of administrative infrastructures. The Committee believes that recent moves towards increased fragmentation and departmentalization were, with hindsight, not helpful, and now proposes remedies. Maintaining the present position would only widen the gulf between Cambridge and leading Social Science units elsewhere, making the latter more attractive to potential academic staff and students.

4.3 The Committee is of the firm view that reorganization towards units of critical mass will bring benefits to all (the University, the staff concerned, and students) in terms of: enhanced research output and synergies, more research grant funding opportunities, administrative effectiveness, more attractive and flexible teaching provision, and the quality of the academic environment in which they all work. Larger units should create opportunities for greater flexibility and responsiveness, teaching efficiencies, and increased student choice, and will reduce administrative burdens falling on UTOs and reduce administrative costs generally. The Committee sees particular benefit in the creation of a Social Sciences Tripos, as a larger structure than existing Triposes and run (in ways comparable to the NST) by a strong Committee of Management.

The fragmentation of the Social Sciences at Cambridge is in stark contrast to those institutions in the UK that out-performed us in the RAE, acknowledging, of course, the exceptional performance of the submission by Social Anthropology. While it is difficult for any institution to perform at an outstanding level of excellence across all disciplines, this is what Cambridge aspires to achieve. The fragmentation of our limited resources within the social sciences is far from optimal for the collective whole.

This review was not motivated by financial considerations. However, as the need to reduce costs becomes ever more apparent, the financial implications of the fragmented nature of Social Science at Cambridge need to be considered.

The likely arrangements for the REF envisage the consolidation of cognate subjects into fewer, but larger, Units of Assessment and without the opportunity to make separate submissions within a discipline (as was, for example, the case with Social and Biological Anthropology in the 2008 RAE). Although HEFCE are unlikely to set a minimum size, small submissions are likely to be prejudiced when setting out their case through smaller word limits, fewer case studies, and fewer research outputs, providing less scope to demonstrate the breadth and depth of research excellence. Thus, if Biological Anthropology were not to submit to Anthropology, which is a definite possibility, and using RAE 2008 numbers, Social Anthropology would make a submission of c.17 while Sociology, without Social and Developmental Psychology, is likely to be even smaller.

5. Intellectual context

5.1 This review is timely in offering Cambridge opportunities to play a key role in emerging areas of disciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiry in the Social Sciences. Whereas during the latter half of the last century, each of the social sciences maintained their own very clearly demarcated disciplinary methodological and theoretical perspectives, it is now widely accepted that social processes overlap with those studied through the natural sciences as well as the arts and humanities. Key innovations such as the widespread deployment of digital data and the enhancement of computer power, the deployment of medical and biological technologies, and widespread concerns about environmental sustainability have created new sensitivities about the interface between social and natural processes. This context offers new scope for innovative social research in which the social sciences are essential to an increasing range of research challenges. Social scientific theoretical and methodological expertise, both quantitative and qualitative, can be harnessed to new methodological developments and can cross-fertilize with those in other disciplines.

5.2 In order to realize its potential, Cambridge needs, taking a realistic approach to the resources available, to enhance its Social Science capacity, whilst developing institutional structures which encourage the Social Sciences to be outward-looking (for example in mutual interchange with Natural Sciences at Cambridge), and which are supportive of inter-disciplinary collaborations. (This kind of arrangement is not necessarily that which can best be pursued by those universities which have hitherto dominated the Social Sciences, namely those with large, autonomous, social science departments.)

If Cambridge is to benefit, in this overall context, this will require: ensuring that cognate (and potentially cognate) groups of researchers are brought together where possible; ensuring that units of critical mass are established where possible; the identification and enhancement of niche expertise where existing disciplinary clusters are too small to compete with the large scale, all purpose, Departments in places elsewhere; and the creation of a teaching profile which is consistent with the interdisciplinary concerns indicated above, particularly with respect to graduate education.

6. Proposed reorganization of certain institutions

6.1 The Committee recommends that the Departments of Sociology and of Social Anthropology, the Institute of Criminology, and the Centre for Family Research be brought together in a unified Department of Criminology, Social Anthropology, and Sociology. Such a grouping should provide the critical mass, methodological expertise, and infrastructural support to take forward effectively the research agendas described in 5 above. All these, currently separate and small, units are major stakeholders in the qualitative and quantitative methodologies crucial for providing high-quality evidence to guide social policy and, in ‘impact’ terms, demonstrate the social and economic benefits of their research. The proposed grouping should bring stability, in contrast to the disruptions that had adversely affected the work of the old Faculty of Social and Political Studies over recent years and are still evident, at least in the administrative arrangements for PPSIS. Whilst the Committee proposes a unified Department, it should be quite possible to preserve the positive disciplinary identities of its constituent units. In both Sociology and Criminology there is considerable expertise in survey methodology and analysis and in longitudinal research, both of which are regarded as high priorities, with significant funding potential from RCUK and the ESRC.

Such a unit has advantages in terms of: the ESRC DTC bid; sustainability; a richer research environment; the organization of teaching; and the avoidance of duplication in teaching and administration.

6.2 Whereas Sociology has previously been led by those universities with a very strong departmental structure and large critical mass, research excellence is now mainly found where niche centres have been developed within a nurturing environment. The success of these areas of excellence is increasingly attributable to their interaction with cognate areas in social, natural, and information sciences. Cambridge’s Department of Sociology cannot follow the traditional path, summarized above, without considerable resourcing and there is no likelihood that this could be made available on the scale required to enable the Department to flourish as a traditional Sociology Department. The alternative is for the Department to develop, through organizational reconfiguration, formal and strategic links with other existing areas in the Social Sciences. It will be essential that current vacancies in the Department, together with forthcoming vacancies in cognate areas, are filled in areas which would support and enrich the new Department proposed by the Committee.

The future of Sociology in Cambridge lies in methodologically rigorous empirical social research, including quantitative analysis of large and complex data sets and also robust qualitative methods, which has natural and close synergies with research in Criminology and Social Anthropology. Sociology at Cambridge must pursue niche areas of excellence in association with cognate areas within the University.

In connection with the posts presently vacant in the Department of Sociology, including a Professorship, the Committee is sympathetic to the difficulties that the Department faces. In the Committee’s view, it would strengthen the attractiveness of the posts to possible candidates with the indication that the University was seriously intent on taking forward in a focused way the Social Sciences at Cambridge generally.

6.3 The bulk of Criminology staff and their expertise are concerned with the Social Sciences rather than with Law. The Institute offers just one Tripos paper shared between Law and PPS. The Institute’s research students and its highly successful investment in post-experience training are overwhelmingly concerned with social science issues rather than with law or penal theory, as exemplified by the leading role the Institute has played in the development and running of the Joint Schools Skills Course. This closeness to the social sciences is not confined to Cambridge: there are examples elsewhere of single units which embrace Criminology and social science disciplines, e.g. the Department of Applied Social Science at the University of Stirling. The Committee’s proposal should not undermine the particular identity or status of the Institute, but should facilitate opportunities for research collaboration, and provide a richer experience for postgraduate students. The Committee considers that the Institute’s eminent reputation will be enhanced by closer working with other social scientists, whilst retaining links with Law.

In addition to limited teaching overlap, there are very limited research links with the Faculty of Law whose Faculty Board and Degree Committee are primarily used for statutory, administrative, and general oversight purposes. Criminology will flourish better and give greater added value to a broader University research community, whilst retaining its distinctive identity, in a Social Sciences environment.

6.4 The links between Sociology and Social Anthropology in Cambridge have traditionally been close (although not always straightforward) and are embedded within existing teaching and research provision. Social Anthropology, for example, offers a Part I paper to Sociologists. Other recent developments include the joint Mellon Fellow of Gender, Kinship and Caring and the contribution Social Anthropology is making to Sociology’s new course on advanced social theory. It would appear to the Committee that Social Anthropology has closer natural academic ties to Sociology rather than to the other institutions in the current Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology (Archaeology and Biological Anthropology). The review was mindful of the research excellence of Cambridge Social Anthropology, the leading research unit in the UK, and one of the ‘jewels in its crown’. The strength of Anthropology is especially to be welcomed due to the growing recognition of the need for ethnographic sensitivities (sometimes in association with quantitative methods) in numerous varieties of social research. The Committee is, however, currently concerned that its configuration with Archaeology does not allow these strengths to cross-fertilize effectively enough with other cognate interests and in particular does not give it a big enough stage within the wider social sciences. One important aim of these proposals is therefore to allow Social Anthropology to develop in a more ambitious and powerful disciplinary cluster. To foster these ties within the new structure, the Committee recommend, if funds permit, the establishment of a new University Lectureship in the new Department to be filled in a field which embraces the interests of both Sociology and Social Anthropology. Furthermore, both these Departments, given their small critical mass, would benefit from a shared administrative structure which should provide more comprehensive support and perhaps even generate a cost saving.

6.5 The Centre for Family Research is closely related in its research interests to both Sociology and to Social and Developmental Psychology. The Committee was given to understand by the Head of the Centre that if continued independence was not an option (which, in the Committee’s view, it is not), then she would prefer the Centre to be formally part of this new unit. The Committee does not see that this arrangement would in any way preclude Centre members from continuing, and even developing further, their research links with Social and Developmental Psychologists.

6.6 The establishment of the POLIS Department and its developing relationships with Development Studies and the Centres of Area Studies make it sufficient to form a discrete unit outwith the current Faculty of Politics, Psychology, Sociology, and International Studies. This separate identity will be reinforced in the not too distant future when POLIS moves from Mill Lane to join with the Centres in the new building being constructed on the Sidgwick Site.

6.7 A recommendation has been made above (3.5) for the establishment of a single Department comprising the two present Departments of Archaeology and Biological Anthropology. The Committee discussed a number of possible options for Biological Anthropology, which lacks sufficient critical mass to stand alone. Amalgamation with Social Anthropology was not considered feasible or desirable, given the very different pathways these two disciplines have followed. Incorporation of the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies as an independent unit within the Department of Zoology was attractive to the Head of the Centre but would lead to the isolation of those outside the Centre. The Committee therefore has reached the preliminary conclusion that the option of merging Archaeology and Biological Anthropology is the most logical in terms of operational methodology and existing links, and is further facilitated by adjacent accommodation. Such a merger will also facilitate the participation of Biological Anthropology in the proposed Social Sciences Tripos.

7. Psychology in Cambridge

7.1 Psychology, in one form or another, is presently offered in five institutions across the University. Undergraduate teaching is mainly via the Department of Experimental Psychology (with a route through the Natural Sciences Tripos) and the Department of SDP (as a strand in the PPS Tripos). Psychology also figures within the School of Education and the Institute of Criminology while clinical emphasis is centered at the Clinical School.

7.2 The Committee proposes a combined Department of Psychology which preserves the strengths of the currently separate institutions of Experimental and of Social and Developmental Psychology but addresses the need to provide better integration through a structure which will provide more coherent teaching and better meet anticipated REF criteria. A single entity will expose both students and researchers to a wider breadth of subjects and avoid duplication of teaching and support arrangements. This will help to overcome financial constraints which are expected to intensify as research grant funding becomes more difficult to obtain or to renew. Furthermore, as the Faculty of Politics, Psychology, Sociology, and International Studies will not continue in its present form, if some, or all, of the Committee’s other proposals are accepted, this arrangement will also protect the Department of Social and Developmental Psychology which does not have the critical mass to continue alone.

The Committee proposes that the new Department be made up of the current Departments of Experimental Psychology and of Social and Developmental Psychology and also include the staff of the Centre for Neuroscience in Education (CNE), currently part of the Faculty of Education, and should be located in the School of the Biological Sciences. In order to foster greater closeness between these institutions the Committee proposes that, if possible, a new post be established, at the University Lectureship level, in the Department of Experimental Psychology and filled in a field that embraces the research methods of both that Department and the Department of Social and Developmental Psychology.

7.3 The Committee considered whether the other areas of Psychology within the University should be brought into the new Department. Work undertaken at the Clinical School was considered to be better remaining with Neuroscience, with which it was returned in the 2008 RAE. However, the Committee envisages that some areas of this work might, in due course, wish to migrate to the new Department as cognate links develop further.

With regard to the other psychologists presently undertaking teaching and research in the Faculty of Education, the Committee is of the view that, since their work is more orientated towards social development within the framework of educational issues, this important aspect fits more naturally within the strategic development of the Faculty of Education.

7.4 The Committee sees considerable advantages to Cambridge in its recommendation for a single Department of Psychology. It will provide a higher and more coherent public profile for Cambridge Psychology. It will improve the current position regarding undergraduate admissions in terms of both visibility to applicants and enabling Cambridge to attract candidates with the fuller range of A Levels than hitherto. The lack of visibility of Psychology as an undergraduate degree is partly responsible for high-quality students opting for London or Oxford over Cambridge. Administrative efficiencies will be generated. It should enable more efficient means of coordinating teaching and of determining course content; and provide a better and richer environment for postgraduates and postdoctoral workers. A larger integrated Department will allow for new research synergies to be developed. There are also REF advantages in being able to demonstrate a fully integrated submission which covers a broader spectrum of specialisms within psychology. Furthermore, Psychology has been repositioned with the Biological Sciences in the proposed REF Framework and will therefore attract a higher level of funding over the 2008 RAE outcome (when the subject was assessed as a social science). Accordingly, there can be no doubt that a joint return within the sciences envelope will generate higher per capita income than Social and Developmental Psychology would produce if returned with Sociology (as was the case in 2008 RAE). In this connection, external advice is that most staff in the current SDP would have fitted well into the University’s submission to the Psychology Panel and would have added benefit through additional volume.

7.5 This proposal to locate Psychology, more broadly defined, in the Biological Sciences is not radical. Although Cambridge Experimental Psychology is undoubtedly the strongest in terms of research quality, the strongest psychology departments in the UK are typically much larger and broader, and often encompass a range of the discipline’s strands (e.g. Oxford, UCL, and Birmingham).

7.6 The Committee acknowledges that there have recently been difficulties between Experimental Psychology and SDP arising, mainly, through unsuccessful RAE 2008 negotiations and the cessation of discussions regarding a possible Psychology Tripos. However, SDP remains amenable to course sharing and to entering the REF with Experimental Psychology. With the inclusion also of CNE, which, it is envisaged, will provide the interface and act as the ‘glue’ between Experimental Psychology and Social and Developmental Psychology, there will be a larger ‘social’ grouping which will enrich the culture in the new Department.

7.7 The Committee agrees that there should still be two, but much clearer, routes into Psychology at Cambridge, both of which will be better prepared to train students in dealing with the increasingly complex landscape of psychology. Both routes must continue to satisfy the requirements of the professional bodies (particularly the BPS), as well as being fit to deliver against any additional criteria the Health Professional Council may introduce as a prerequisite for accreditation purposes. As mentioned above, the clearer identification of the second route, without the requirement for three sciences at A Level, will attract those high-calibre students, often with an A Level in Psychology, who are presently disinclined to apply to Cambridge. It is striking that, on the basis of an analysis of 2008 entrants to Psychology across the UK, over 66% did not have any traditional science A Levels on entry.

7.8 It was put to the Committee by the Head of SDP that the two Departments approach the subject in very different ways. However, many other successful institutions in the University (and elsewhere) include a range of interests and methodological approaches to their discipline quite comfortably; a number are well used to dealing with more than one Research Council; and many of the staff in these institutions have widely differing contact groups. This grouping should not constrain SDP activities, e.g. they will still be involved in the ESRC DTC bid and their students should be encouraged to continue participating in the Joint Schools Skills Course.

7.9 Although it would not be possible immediately to relocate SDP, integration must proceed as soon as possible and the Committee, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders (including the Chair of the School of the Biological Sciences), will draw up a firm plan for co-location. Governance arrangements will also be proposed which will aim to protect the smaller ‘Social’ group through, for example, the creation of a Deputy Head of Department.

7.10 If the new Department is established in the School of the Biological Sciences, which appears the most suitable arrangement in view of the likely positioning of Psychology in the REF, this enlarged scientific base might well increase capacity for obtaining research grant funding.

7.11 The Committee acknowledges that the details and implementation of its proposals will require further consultation with the Chairs of the two Schools concerned: but it sees no reason why membership of the School of the Biological Sciences should prove a constraint on Social and Developmental Psychology or CNE.

8. Education

8.1 The Committee notes that the General Board’s Education Committee had been in discussion with the Faculty about the Education Tripos which is not presently cost-effective and attracts applicants whose A Level module scores do not match those in other subjects and who therefore do not necessarily rank as being of the highest quality (in a Cambridge context). Undergraduate student applications, despite vigorous recruitment efforts by the Faculty, do not match its aspirations, perhaps, in part, because the Tripos does not lead in itself to Qualified Teacher Status.

8.2 The Committee considers that a full three-year Tripos is no longer suitable or viable under present circumstances. Its view is influenced not only by the prevailing financial climate but also by relatively small undergraduate student numbers for all Tripos options other than Education with Drama, and indications that Government spending on teaching is being increasingly directed towards support for postgraduate level and continuing professional development qualifications (which the Faculty has itself recognized in its proposals for a new, part-time, Ed.D. Degree).

8.3 The proposed Social Sciences Tripos will be useful to the Faculty in attracting a wider undergraduate constituency and in enhancing the Faculty’s linkages with other social sciences. In the Committee’s view, the proposed SST, to which it envisages Education making an important contribution, will offer Education students a greater variety of options and combinations, including Education and Psychology (a potentially attractive combination previously identified by the Faculty), while providing a coherent route through to postgraduate training. Removing a full three-year Tripos is likely to create some adverse reaction in the Faculty but the Committee believes that a majority will support the proposal.

8.4 The Committee recommends that the abolition of the full Tripos be coterminous with the introduction of the SST. Accordingly, no students should be admitted to the current Part I with effect from the 2012–13 academical year, from when Education should become a specialized Part II (third-year) course, taken after two years within the SST (or some other appropriate Part I).

8.5 Centre for Neuroscience in Education (CNE)

8.5.1The Committee proposes that the Centre for Neuroscience in Education (CNE) be moved from the Faculty of Education to the unified Department of Psychology it proposes. This is very much the wish of the present Head of the unit and the proposal has the support of both the present and previous Chairs of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Head of the current Department of Experimental Psychology, and, providing resource issues can be resolved, the Chair of the School of the Biological Sciences. It recognizes that this will cause disruption to Education’s research programme but it feels bound to take note of the external advice which it had received. This made clear that the nature of the Centre’s work is not compatible with the research methodology in the Faculty (for example in postgraduate training). If the University is to retain CNE staff, provide a more appropriate environment for CNE Ph.D. students, and obtain maximum REF benefit, it needs CNE to be relocated as soon as possible closer to science-based psychology. The Committee considers it important to preserve such a significant research strength for the University, taking that research forward in a different research environment.

8.5.2The Committee has been given to understand by representatives of the Faculty that any effort to move CNE from Education will be strenuously resisted by that Faculty on the grounds that it is essential to the Faculty’s research profile, provides significant research grant income, and contributes to its international research profile. The proposed move would, in those representatives’ opinion, damage morale, particularly of Psychology colleagues in the Faculty. There are, however, two other eminent Professors of Psychology in the Faculty and it seems unreasonable to presume that the move would lead to an automatic decline in research standards in educational psychology. To support the Faculty, the Committee recommends that a new, single-tenure Professorship be established for the Head of the CNE group in the Department of Experimental Psychology and that the Faculty of Education be given immediate leave to fill the Professorship of Education (1938) that will become vacant as a consequence. It is important, however, that, if moved, CNE continues to contribute to Master’s teaching in Education and promote research links with the Faculty wherever possible.

8.5.3There will be costs associated with moving highly specialized equipment, which will need to be negotiated with the School of the Biological Sciences, but the Committee considers this a price worth paying.

9. A Social Sciences Tripos (SST)

9.1 The Committee does not believe that Departmental boundaries should determine Tripos provision. It is pleased that this is a view shared by virtually all those it has seen, all of whom support the introduction of an SST. The Committee strongly recommends that, irrespective of the reception its other recommendations receive, this one should be progressed expeditiously.

9.2 The Committee was charged with identifying areas of duplication. In its view, the introduction of a Social Sciences Tripos (SST) would, inter alia, address these, by facilitating better arrangements for teaching provision and increased opportunities for students. The Committe’s aim in proposing the SST is to introduce a wider spectrum which would enable students to select a path from across a wide range of social science subjects. The Part I course could initially contain contributions from Sociology, (the current) Social and Developmental Psychology, Social Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, and POLIS (including Area Studies). The Committee envisages that a number of other institutions, e.g. Archaeology, Geography, Law, Land Economy, and Economics, might also contribute at a later stage, and, while some students would follow the SST right through, others would opt to specialize elsewhere, provided that they met qualifying criteria. At this stage the Committee has reached no firm decision as to whether Part I should comprise one or two years but it is inclined to favour a two-year course since this would maintain a parallel structure with the NST, which would facilitate the borrowing of papers.

9.3 Part I subjects in a new Tripos might initially include Psychology, Elementary Mathematics for Biologists (for those without A level Mathematics) or Quantitative Biology (for those with A Level Mathematics), Social Anthropology, Biological Anthropology (from the Archaeology and Anthropology Tripos), Politics, and Sociology. The Committee envisages that there would be a requirement for four subjects to be taken in the first year.

9.4 The Committee considers that there are major advantages in such a Tripos: its attraction to a wider range of students (including those not currently applying to Cambridge) and an opportunity for Cambridge to make a distinctive contribution at undergraduate level to a general social science degree; a range of ‘taster’ courses of Part I (with particular requirements for Part II progression) going through to identified routes in this or other existing Triposes. It will also assist with research synergies.

9.5 Student numbers will come from numbers (50 p.a.) released by the proposed abolition of the three-year Education Tripos. This is likely to be augmented by a further c.110 students p.a. presently admitted to the PPS Tripos.

9.6 Alternative titles for the Tripos have been considered, including Human or Behavioural Sciences. Research conducted into provision elsewhere indicates that ‘Human Sciences’ generally requires Biology/another science A Level and covers biological as well as social disciplines. ‘Behavioural Sciences’ (typically a combination of Sociology and Psychology) tends elsewhere to be narrower than what the Committee has in mind.

9.7 Such a Tripos will need a Management Committee; at this stage, a Pilot Management Committee needs to be established quickly, given the time it will take to construct a Tripos and to work up detailed proposals.

9.8 A start date of October 2012 is proposed. This will require proposals to be sufficiently worked up into a Prospectus entry by December 2010.

Professor Richard Smith (Chair)

Professor Vicki Bruce

Professor Andrew Harvey

Professor Ian Leslie

Dr Rachael Padman

Professor John Rallison

Professor Mike Savage

Appendix A

General Board review of provision for teaching, learning, and research in the social sciences

Terms of Reference

Review the University’s arrangements for research, teaching, and learning in the social sciences and to make recommendations for the future, having particular regard to:

(i)Identification of those areas of critical mass where research in the social sciences should be supported and enhanced and the appropriate strategies to deliver research excellence of the highest quality in these fields;

(ii)whether present arrangements for the delivery of teaching, learning, and examination within the social sciences are appropriate (with particular reference to Education, Psychology, and the Politics, Psychology, and Sociology Tripos) and meet training and quality assurance requirements at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels;

(iii)the future development of, and prospects for, work across the social sciences in the University, including scrutiny as to whether there is duplication of activity and, if so, the appropriateness of this in the context of the need to sustain academic excellence and ensure the effective use of resources;

(iv)the resources available to support the delivery of subjects within the social sciences, including academic and support staff, accommodation, and library and IT provision, and giving consideration to future arrangements for the organization, management, and administration of these activities; and

(v)the need to meeting statutory and other regulatory timescales and requirements.

The Committee will determine: (a) the institutions to be considered and nature of that consideration; (b) the form of any evidence sought from those institutions (and any individuals it considers appropriate whether within or external to the University); and will present an initial report to the General Board by the end of Michaelmas Term.


Professor Richard Smith (Department of Geography) (Chairman)

Professor Vicki Bruce (Professor of Psychology), Newcastle University

Professor Andrew Harvey, Faculty of Economics

Professor Ian Leslie, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Dr Rachael Padman, Department of Physics and General Board representative

Professor John Rallison, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education)

Professor Mike Savage (Head of Department of Sociology), University of Manchester

Peta Stevens and Duncan McCallum (Joint Secretaries), Academic Division

Appendix B

Review of provision for teaching, learning, and research in the social sciences

Documents received

SocSci 1. Terms of reference.

SocSci 2. RAE Narrative submissions from the Department of Experimental Psychology, Sociology and Developmental and Social Psychology (contained within the Sociology Submission), and the relevant extract on the Psychology component within the submission made by the Faculty of Education.

SocSci 3. Submission to the Review Group from the Department of Experimental Psychology.

SocSci 4. Submission on social sciences at Cambridge from Professor Michael Lamb.

SocSci 5. Letter from Professor Margaret Stanley in her capacity as Chairman of the Faculty Board of Biology.

SocSci 6. Establishment sheets for the Departments of Experimental Psychology and of Social and Developmental Psychology together with a spreadsheet showing staffing complements in various institutions in the University with psychology as an integral component.

SocSci 7. Ph.D. submission rates.

SocSci 8. Allocation quotas for ESRC Studentships.

SocSci 9. Undergraduate applications, offers, and acceptances data.

SocSci 10. Average UMS scores for undergraduate applications and offers 2008–09.

SocSci 11. Current student fte load for particular institutions.

SocSci 12. Data on transfers between Triposes.

SocSci 13. Postgraduate course summaries.

SocSci 14. Postgraduate admissions data.

SocSci 15. Digest of issues raised through General Board Reviews, professional and statutory regulatory body reports, and the Senior Tutors’ Committee.

SocSci 16. Institutional submissions: Education (plus a further submission) and Sociology (including Centre for Family Research).

SocSci 17. Reports of Reviews referred to the Committee by the General Board’s Education Committee: Archaeology and Anthropology; Centre for Latin American Studies.

SocSci 18. Submissions from Faculty Boards of Archaeology and Anthropology, Economics, Law, and Politics, Psychology, Sociology, and International Studies.

SocSci 19. Institutional submissions (Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Criminology, Economics and Social History Group (Faculty of History), History and Philosophy of Science, Land Economy, and Latin-American Studies).

SocSci 20. Submission from Professor Peter Jones, Head of the Department of Psychiatry.

SocSci 21. Submission from Dr Michael Rice, Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Law.

SocSci 22. Submissions from members of the University Computing Service.

SocSci 23. Submission from Professor Usha Goswami, Director of the Centre for Neuroscience in the Faculty of Education.

SocSci 24. Submission from Dr David Good, Department of Social and Developmental Psychology.

SocSci 25. Submission from Professor William Marslen-Wilson, Director of the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit.

SocSci 26. Correspondence concerning the position of the Department of Biological Anthropology.

SocSci 27. Data on staffing distribution and RAE outcomes for certain institutions.

SocSci 28. Data on staff and their primary research areas, on student numbers, and on institutional strategic plans.

SocSci 29. Various submissions from Professor Bell and Professor Brown (as previous and current Chair of the Council of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences).

SocSci 30. A note on Intellectual Context by Professor Savage.

SocSci 31. Data on research grant income.

SocSci 32. Letter from Professor Scott concerning the vacant Professorship of Sociology.

SocSci 33. Two submissions from the Faculty of Education.

SocSci 34. Submission from the Principal of Homerton College.

SocSci 35. Comments from Professor Vicki Bruce on UK University Psychology Departments.

SocSci 36. Letter from the Director of the Institute of Criminology.

Appendix C

Review of provision for teaching, learning, and research in the social sciences

Individuals seen by the Review Committee*

Professor G. Barker, Department of Archaeology

Professor J. Bell, former Chair of the Council of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor W. Brown, current Chair of the Council of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor M. Daunton, previous Chair of the Council of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences and incoming Chair of the Faculty Board of Politics, Psychology, Sociology, and International Studies

Professor R. Foley, Department of Biological Anthropology

Professor C. Gilligan, current Chair of the Council of the School of the Biological Sciences

Professor U. Goswami, Faculty of Education

Professor A. Gamble, Department of POLIS

Professor S. Golombok, Centre for Family Research

Professor C. Hill, Department of POLIS

Professor D. Ibbetson, Chairman of the Faculty of Law

Professor M. Jones, Head of the Department of Archaeology

Professor F. Loesl, Director of the Institute of Criminology

Professor H. Moore, Department of Social Anthropology

Professor M. Lamb, Department of Social and Developmental Psychology

Professor T. Robbins, Department of Experimental Psychology

Professor J. Scott, Department of Sociology

Dr D. Sneath, Department of Social Anthropology

Mr M. Younger, Faculty of Education

*A number of these were seen more than once and a number seen by sub-sets of the full Committee.

Appendix D

Number of established staff (UTOs, November 2009)




Senior Lecturer


total UTO







Biological Anthropology






Social Anthropology












Institute of Criminology*






Social and Developmental Psychology






Politics and International Studies






Experimental Psychology






* Institute of Criminology (1 Director and 5 Professors)