University of Bristol: Bristol academics elected as Fellows to The British Academy

Simon Burgess, Professor of Economics, and Jonathan Rigg, Chair in Human Geography, are among 85 newly elected Fellows announced today.

Professor Burgess is based in Bristol’s School of Economics. A former Faculty Research Dean for the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, he is an applied economist, interested in data, evidence and policy. Over the last 20 years he has used the tools of economic analysis to study education including the behaviour and outcomes of pupils, teachers and schools in order to improve policy for better outcomes.

From 2004 to 2014 he was Director of The Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO), an ESRC-funded research centre, and The Centre for Understanding Behaviour Change (CUBeC) from 2010 to 2014, which was funded by the Department for Education.

Professor Burgess said: “I am very happy and honoured to be elected a Fellow of the British Academy. I very much appreciate the distinction of being asked to join such a prestigious intellectual institution. Almost all of my research has been conducted with co-researchers and the honour is shared with them.”

Professor Rigg, who is based in the School of Geographical Sciences, studies agrarian change in Asia, working with farming households in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Nepal to understand what they do, and why, in the context of deep and rapid social, economic and environmental transformation.

Just this month he returned from Thailand where he is tracking households in two communities in the province of Mahasarakham in the north-eastern region, that he first visited some four decades ago. Earlier panel restudies in these communities were supported by the British Academy.

Professor Rigg was one of the first recipients of a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship in 1986, which he held at the School of Oriental & African Studies and has therefore been indebted to the Academy from the very start of his academic career. He has since received several research grants from the Academy.

He said: “To be elected a Fellow of the British Academy and joining such an eminent group of scholars is an honour. I couldn’t be more delighted.”

Founded in 1902, the British Academy is the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences.
It is a Fellowship of over 1,600 of the leading minds in these subjects from the UK and overseas. Current Fellows include the classicist Professor Dame Mary Beard, the historian Professor Sir Simon Schama and philosopher Professor Baroness Onora O’Neill, while previous Fellows include Dame Frances Yates, Sir Winston Churchill, Seamus Heaney and Beatrice Webb.

The Academy is also a funding body for research, nationally and internationally, and a forum for debate and engagement.

Welcoming the Fellows, the President of the British Academy, Professor Julia Black, said: “I am delighted to welcome these distinguished and pioneering scholars to our Fellowship. I am equally delighted that we have so many new female Fellows.

“While I hope this means that the tide is finally turning for women in academia, there is still much to do to make the research world diverse and open to all.

“With our new Fellows’ expertise and insights, the Academy is better placed than ever to open new seams of knowledge and understanding and to enhance the wellbeing and prosperity of societies around the world. I congratulate each of our new Fellows on their achievement and look forward to working with them.”