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Two researchers in the Social Sciences Division have been awarded highly competitive European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grants. The ERC bestows the grants to outstanding researchers who have a promising scientific track record, and between 7-12 years of experience after the completion of their doctorates.

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Dariusz Wojcik, Professor of Economic Geography in the School of Geography and the Environment, has been awarded €1,998,696 over five years for a project called CityNet.  This ground-breaking study is due to start in Spring 2016 and will address how financial and business services (FABS) – including law, accounting, and business consulting – have been affected by the global financial crisis and the Eurozone crisis; how they are changing in response to new financial regulation, the expected shift of economic activity to the Asia-Pacific region, the digital revolution; and the impacts of FABS on urban, regional, and global development.

Professor Wojcik said: "This project will be a great opportunity to show that geography is central to understanding the nature of finance and its consequences for economy and society."

Christiaan Monden, Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology, has been awarded €1,998,488 over five years for a project called Family Size Matters. The study is due to start in Spring 2016, it attempts to understand the consequences of low fertility and re-think mechanisms for the reproduction of social inequalities. From this perspective Professor Monden generates new empirical and theoretical questions and highlights growing but under-researched groups (e.g. childless adults and only-children).

Commenting on his project, Professor Monden said: “There has been a shift to smaller families and the proportion of childless adults is increasing. We want to understand how these demographic changes affect different mechanisms in the reproduction of social inequalities from one generation to the next. Although I am pleased with the recognition and buy-out from administrative tasks, the best thing about the grant is to be able to give postdocs and DPhils students the opportunity to come to Oxford and work on a set of challenging questions. That’s a real privilege.”

In addition, Dr Debopam Bhattacharya, a former member of the Department of Economics, has been awarded €1,651,790 over five years for an project called EDWELL, the fundig application was submitted while Dr Bhattacharya worked at the University.  EDWELL aims to make contributions to welfare analysis by developing nonparametric approaches, which would avoid restrictive assumptions about consumer preferences and produce reliable welfare estimates from micro-data. 

Professor Roger Goodman, Head of the Social Sciences Division, said:  "ERC Consolidator Awards have become increasingly competitive, and these awards acknowledge the calibre of our promising researchers, enabling us to support their development as the next generation of research leaders by consolidating their own independent research team or programme. Oxford's Social Sciences have had an exceptional year with a 75% success rate. I would like to congratulate the researchers on their success, and wish them all the best in their continued research."