Two sociologists appointed to ESRC Council

Jo Johnson, the Minister of State for Universities and Science, has appointed Professor Jane Falkingham, Professor Nigel Gilbert, Professor Melinda Mills, and Ms Susan Penwarden as Council members for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

They join the ESRC at a crucial time as they work towards the successful creation of UK Research and Innovation. Council is the senior decision making body of the ESRC, and is comprised of individuals from business, civil society and the public sector as well as representatives from the academic community.
Jane Falkingham OBE is Professor of Demography and International Social Policy and Dean of the Faculty of Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton. She is also the Director of the ESRC Centre for Population Change. Over the past 25 years, Jane has pursued a multidisciplinary research agenda, located at the interface between social policy and population studies and spanning both developed and developing countries. She is currently actively engaged on research projects in the Nairobi slums, rural South Africa, urban China as well as within Europe and the UK. Jane is also the President of the British Society for Population Studies and Vice-President (President elect) of the European Association for Population Studies. She is also a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences and the Royal Society of Arts.

Nigel Gilbert CBE is a computational sociologist and Professor of Sociology at the University of Surrey. Nigel is Director of the ESRC-NERC Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus and a member of the Defra Social Science Expert Panel. He was previously a Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Surrey. Nigel was one of the first to use agent-based models in the social sciences and has since published widely on the methodology underlying computer modelling, and on the application of simulation for applied problems such as understanding commercial innovation, managing environmental resources, and supporting public policy decision-making. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Chartered Engineer, and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences.

Melinda Mills is the Nuffield Professor of Sociology at Nuffield College and Head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Oxford. She is a specialist in the area of sociogenomics (combining social science and molecular genetics), life course research (fertility, partnerships, assortative mating) and has published in the areas of labour market, cross-national research and statistics. Melinda is an elected member of the European Academy of Sociology and has held faculty positions in the Netherlands (Amsterdam, Groningen) and Germany (Bielefeld). Melinda is the Editor-in-Chief of the European Sociological Review and publishes in both social and natural science journals. 
Susan Penwarden joined Aviva in January 2013. Her current role is Director, General Insurance, Aviva France. She has responsibility for the performance of the General Insurance business (profit and volume), and in particular drives the technical fundamentals of pricing, underwriting, and claims underwriting performance (around €1.5 billion). Previous to joining Aviva Susan worked for RSA for 14 years. She held increasingly influential and global positions, moving from team leader to regional and then corporate executive level roles. Her last role at RSA was based in the UK as Group Specialty Portfolio Director. Before that Susan spent two and a half years in Denmark as Technical and Risk Director for the RSA Scandinavian business, and before that worked in the RSA Canada operation in a number of technical and business leadership roles.