ESRC Festival of Social Science 2016 Celebration Event
  • Crosspoint, Roland Levinsky Building

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Join us in a toast to our past and present event holders, who will be showcasing some of their events during the evening.

Our events relate to the theme Pirates, Entrepreneurs and Visionaries: Social Sciences in the 21st Century. Ranging from the piracy of Drake, the concoctions of Cookworthy and the imagination of Christie, there is a long tradition of opportunity seeking and discovery in the South West. This year’s theme evokes this spirit of change and invites a conversation between social scientists and residents in the South West as to how ongoing research in social sciences is changing the future of the region.

The Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Festival of Social Science offers a fascinating insight into some of the country's leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future. The University has hosted a festival as part of the ESRC’s annual programme since 2014.

Proceedings will be launched by Professor Judith Petts, CBE, our Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, providing an overview of social sciences at the University. Professor Nikolaos Tzokas, Dean of the Faculty of Business will provide an insight into the impact of social sciences. This will be followed by a short talk from an entrepreneur with links to the University who will provide an insight into the impact of social science in their career.

You will then have the opportunity to enjoy canapés, good company and displays of past and present events, including film and virtual reality!

This event is open to all. Please register your attendance via the above link.

View this event profile on the ESRC Festival website 

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Today's events

Biography: Professor Judith Petts, CBE

Professor Judith Petts was appointed the University of Plymouth’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive in February 2016. She joined Plymouth from the University of Southampton where she had been Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise and previously the inaugural Dean of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences. 

Over some 30 years, her research has particularly examined the interface between science and policy-making, and the effective use of evidence in decision-making. Currently she is a member of the Council of BBSRC and of NERC’s Innovation Board.

She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Year Honours, 2012, for services to Scientific Research.

Biography: Professor Nikolaos Tzokas

Professor Nikolaos Tzokas is the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Business at the University of Plymouth and a Council Member and Chair of the Internationalisation Committee of the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS). Previously he served as the Head of the Norwich Business School and the Associate Dean for Research, Enterprise & Engagement at the Social Sciences Faculty of the University of East Anglia. 

As a Professor of Marketing he has published extensively in the areas of New Product Development, Adoption and Diffusion of Innovation and Knowledge Management. 

He received considerable research funding as a Marie Curie research fellow and from other sources such as the ESRC, EPSRC and the EU’s Horizon 2020.

Biography: Roya Rafferty

With a background in human rights and international development, Roya designs educational programmes for vulnerable individuals from undemocratic states or states wishing to start a democratisation process. She is a humanitarian who is extremely passionate about human development especially for women from developing countries. 

Roya coordinates Dream Maker Community Enterprise, a democratic institution designed to help vulnerable communities and has previously managed the voluntary organisation Refugees First. She was Regional Development Officer of the monitoring group that dealt with the Stephen Lawrence Murder Enquiry.

Roya believes the tools of equality must be seeded in the foundation of societal education. Policy makers must implement and develop strategic plans that have a lasting effect on protected characteristics, lives and target the most vulnerable and isolated to build an integrated society.

About the ESRC Festival of Social Science 

(extract from the ESRC* website)

The ESRC Festival of Social Science offers a fascinating insight into some of the country's leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future.

You may be surprised at just how relevant the festival's events are to society today. Social science research makes a difference. Discover how it shapes public policy and contributes to making the economy more competitive, as well as giving people a better understanding of 21st century society. From big ideas to the most detailed observations, social science affects us all everyday - at work, in school, when raising children, within our communities, and even at the national level.


Everyone - from schoolchildren to politicians - can take part in and hear about social science research in the festival's many engaging events.

This celebration of the social sciences takes place across the UK - via public debates, conferences, workshops, interactive seminars, film screenings, virtual exhibitions and much more. 2016 is the 14th year that ESRC has held the Festival of Social Science and each year the festival grows from strength to strength.

Visit the ESRC Festival of Social Science website for more information about the festival.

* ESRC - Economic and Social Research Council.


Event photography and video
Please be aware that some of Plymouth University's public events may be attended by University photographers and videographers, for capturing content to be used in University online and offline marketing and promotional materials, for example webpages, brochures or leaflets. If for whatever reason, you or a member of your group, do not wish to be photographed, please make yourself known to staff working at the event on arrival or to the photographer.