ESRC ‘benchmarking review’ of Human Geography

Review of research quality and impact in Social and Cultural Geography

As you may already know, the ESRC is currently undertaking a ‘benchmarking review’ of UK human geography in partnership with the AHRC and the RGS-IBG.  This is intended to gauge the strength of the subject in terms of its international standing and provides an opportunity to make the case for additional support for the subject.  The review is being chaired by Professor David Ley from UBC and is completely independent from the Higher Education Funding Councils’ Research Excellence Framework.

As part of the review, Professor Peter Jackson has been commissioned to undertake a review of research quality and impact in the field of Social and Cultural Geography (with reviews of other sub-disciplinary areas also being commissioned).  As part of the review, which is working with very tight deadlines, he has been asked to liaise with study group members, to confer with senior academics in the field and to produce a report of c.2000 words by 27 February.  This is to seek your assistance with this process.

Please make your suggestions under some (or ideally all) of the following headings:

  1. How has research in social and cultural geography in the UK developed over the last ten years, and what are the major strengths and weaknesses of the field?
  2. Give examples of key academic outputs (books and other publications) that have made an important contribution to scholarship and/or have helped to set or move intellectual agendas in the field.
  3. Give examples of key non-academic impacts (including engagement with research users in policy and practice), noting any changes that have arisen as a result of research in social and cultural geography.

This last question is particularly challenging given the lack of any single group of research ‘users’ in our field so suggestions of particular people to contact who might be able to verify the non-academic impact of research in social and cultural geography would be particularly helpful as this is also part of my brief.

If time permits, I hope to be able to circulate a copy of my draft report (at the end of February), providing an opportunity for further comments and suggestions before the final version is submitted in mid-March.

Please send your replies to by Friday 27 January at the latest.  Your help with be very much appreciated and will contribute directly to the benchmarking review process.


Thanks and best wishes

Peter Jackson