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Social Policy staff win ESRC grant to study EU referendum

Staff from Social Policy receive a substantial grant from the ESRC to study attitudes towards the UK EU referendum in other member states of the European Union.


In cooperation with German think tank d|part, colleagues from Social Policy, in the University of Edinburgh's School of Social and Political Science, have won extensive funding from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for a project to investigate attitudes towards the upcoming referendum on the UK’s EU membership in other members states of the European Union. The project is hosted by Applied Quantitative Methods Network (AQMeN) and worth over £94,000 (over €130,000). It is part of the ESRC’s “The UK in a changing Europe” programme and will contribute empirical evidence to the discussions informing the debates in the lead up to the referendum.

The project team is led by Social Policy's Dr Jan Eichhorn and further involves Dr Daniel Kenealy as well as the German think tank d|part and one of its partners, Christine Hübner. They will carry out a comprehensive survey of respondents in six European member states (Ireland, Spain, Germany, France, Poland and Sweden) to assess public attitudes in those countries.

Questions in the survey will address people’ attitudes towards the UK’s role in the EU, views on the position their respective governments should take in negotiations with the UK as well as opinions about how the UK should be engaged with if it chose to leave the European Union. In addition, respondents will be asked to what extent they are satisfied with their ability to influence policies towards the EU in their own country and whether they would like to have the opportunity for such a referendum themselves.

The findings from the research will be very insightful for policy makers in other EU member states in informing them about the attitudes of their publics, but the results will also have great relevance for those involved in campaigns for and against the UK’s membership in the European Union. Understanding public attitudes in other EU countries will also be relevant for decision makers and commentators in the UK to appraise the domestic influences on the position of other governments in upcoming EU-level negotiations.

Results from the survey will be published in March 2016 and presented at open public events in Edinburgh, London, Brussels and Berlin.

You will be able to find details on the project website hosted by AQMeN here.

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