The Social Science Research Council is proud of its long history at the forefront of social science research for the public good. The concept of “interdisciplinarity,” as a method and an approach to organizing research projects, was one of the Council’s fundamental contributions to twentieth century social thought. Similarly, when future scholars look back at twenty-first century modes of research, we hope that “anticipation” will be the SSRC’s enduring method-level offering, with collaboration as its key mode of practice.

We are calling this new arena Anticipatory Social Research (ASR). Broadly conceived, ASR will direct research toward identifying, contextualizing, and framing emergent social phenomena into understandable concepts and, as necessary, actionable outcomes, drawing on the best knowledge on a given topic.

Scholars of science and technology, inequality, and other fields too often find themselves orienting their research toward reacting to catastrophe and controversy. While this reactive, elucidatory approach is an important facet of scholarly work, it should not be carried out at the cost of expansive thinking and forward-looking research agendas. Instead of reacting to new problems as they arise, this new research paradigm is intended to be agile, nimble, and capable of “tuning” a complex set of variables (Pickering 1995). A central question for ASR is how ideal conditions are defined and by whom.

Projects and Initiatives

Charles E. Lindblom Memorial Fellowship

In collaboration with the College and University Fund for the Social Sciences, the Social Science Research Council is pleased to announce a new annual fellowship award in honor of Professor Charles E. Lindblom (1917–2018). This fellowship has been made possible by a generous contribution from Dr. T.Y. Shen, a former SSRC fellow.

The Charles E. Lindblom Memorial Fellowship supports an interdisciplinary social science project that focuses on Anticipatory Social Research. One fellowship of $7,500 will be offered annually to a doctoral candidate in economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, and/or history. This funding opportunity is open exclusively to PhD candidates affiliated with the member institutions of the College and University Fund for the Social Sciences.