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Government Social Research

Government Social Research (GSR) is the analytical profession within Government for Civil Servants who generate and provide social and behavioural research and advice. This evidence and analysis enables government to understand issues relating to society, groups, and individuals; and to monitor and evaluate the societal impact of policy and public service delivery.

What we do

GSR members come from a wide range of professional backgrounds and disciplines, covering the breadth of social and behavioural sciences. Our work puts people at the heart of government decision-making by providing expertise and interventions to solve complex problems.

GSR takes a scientific and tailored approach supported by diverse bodies of knowledge who use a range of research methods to inform, influence and evaluate. As a Government Social Researcher, you’ll contribute to the identification, investigation and reporting of social trends, the development of government policy, and the monitoring and evaluation of how policies make a difference to public services.

You will have the opportunity to work on issues that really matter, learn how government works, and gain the skills and experience that will allow you to be a future leader within the UK Civil Service. In addition, you will also have access to the benefits available to all UK Civil Servants, including the Civil Service pension scheme, professional qualifications, and flexible working.

We place great value on our career, learning and development offer. As well as on-the-job learning and generating a wider understanding of the UK Civil Service, all Government Social Researchers have access to a wide range of social research-specific technical training, seminars and other courses. These are supported by networking and access opportunities that come with being part of a social research community that has a diverse array of experiences and professional knowledge.

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“My favourite thing about being a government social researcher is the opportunity to influence decisions that improve people’s lives.”


Senior Research Officer, Ministry of Justice

Our career offer

Government Social Researchers play a critical role in gathering, analysing, and interpreting the information and evidence that informs decision-making in government. Our members contribute to the reporting of social trends, the development of government policy and the evaluation of how policies make a difference to public services. Your work might involve developing surveys, analysing data, producing statistics, reviewing existing research evidence, and working with other analysts in government to provide timely, relevant, and robust briefing for policy colleagues and Ministers.

GSR members come from a wide range of professional backgrounds and disciplines covering the breadth of social and behavioural sciences. Join us, and you will be a valued member of the wider GSR community, where people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds can form lasting friendships with supportive networks, learn and develop professionally, and most importantly influence and impact government policy and delivery.

Where could you work?

With 2,500 Government Social Researchers working across 30+ departments we offer opportunities across the UK and across government. For example in 2024 our Research Officer recruitment campaign offers roles in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Darlington, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Salford, Sheffield, Treforest (Pontypridd) and Wolverhampton.

Our routes into the profession

Degree Apprenticeship Programme

Research Officer Scheme

Sandwich Student Placement Scheme

Fast Stream Scheme