ESRC horizon-scanning survey: Work, Education and Skills

Closed 22 Dec 2023

Opened 2 Oct 2023


The ESRC’s Work, Education and Skills (WES) team are undertaking a long-range horizon-scanning exercise. We have identified a series of broad provisional priority areas within our portfolio remit that we think have the potential to be significant, long-term challenges for society and the economy over the coming decades.

  • Work priority areas: a resilient, inclusive, and sustainable labour force and market
  • Education priority areas: societal impacts on education provision, educational inequalities, special educational needs and disability (SEND) provision and skills for life.

We are now seeking input from the academic, policy, third sector and business communities to explore in more detail what these challenges could mean for individuals, organisations, and the UK labour market and education systems.

We are particularly interested in identifying persistent and future research and evidence gaps where ESRC funding could have a genuine ‘real-world’ impact.

Please note that we are currently ONLY seeking input on the priority areas that we have identified; although there is an opportunity to flag other areas of interest at the end of the survey.

There are two separate questionnaires available: one on work and one on education. We recognise that these two portfolio spaces overlap in many places, so you can choose to answer both questionnaires or just one. Depending on the detail of your responses, we anticipate that the survey should take 10-15 minutes to answer.

You can answer the survey as an individual or as a group of contributors (for example: as a project team, university research group; Special Interest Group, etc.).

This is an exploratory exercise only. There is no guarantee of any future funding in the work, education, or skills space; or that any future calls will address the issues highlighted here.

What happens next

This survey is now closed. We are analysing your responses and hope to be able to report back on some of the main priority areas identified in early 2024.


  • Research Community
  • Innovation Community
  • Third Sector
  • Government
  • Parliament
  • Public, Schools
  • Industry


  • Public Opinion
  • Industry Engagement
  • Research and Innovation Sector Engagement