The University of Manchester has re–vitalised its e-Social Science research programme with the launch of the Manchester eResearch Centre (MeRC) under the directorship of Professor Rob Procter.
The Centre is pursuing two related strands of work. The applications strand seeks to develop an enabling infrastructure (e–infrastructure) – comprising advanced information and communication technologies – that will support social scientists in their pursuit of new solutions to their substantive research problems. The social shaping strand adopts a social studies of science and technology approach to understand how e-science, including e-social science, is being developed, how it is being used and what its implications are for scientific practices and research outcomes.
MeRC builds on Manchester's five years of highly successful operation as the coordinating Hub of the National Centre for e–Social Science (NCeSS), responsible for the strategic management of the Centre's seven research projects ("Nodes") at universities across the UK. The Hub is widely recognised to have played the key part in establishing NCeSS internationally as the world-leading centre of e-social science, and its success has influenced analogous developments in other countries. From 1 October 2009, the key research work of the Hub is being carried forward by MeRC.