Rebuilding Macroeconomics is a four year research network supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Our aim is to transform macroeconomics back into being a policy-relevant social science. At the end of the four year horizon, we will deliver a ‘road-map’ to the ESRC showing avenues of research that we consider has the most transformative potential and whether academic and policy institutions may stifle innovation.

Our model is structured to address the most pressing ‘real world’ questions; we have designed Rebuilding Macroeconomics to be substance rather than procedure orientated. We will ask fundamental questions about macroeconomics and encourage rigorous and inter-disciplinary research. We look to fund exciting, disruptive and genuinely new research which takes risks and brings together inter-disciplinary ideas and new methods.

Our blue-print for Rebuilding Macroeconomics can be summarised in four stages:

1) Discovery

We want to find out today’s most important macroeconomic policy questions that yield promising and sustainable research programmes. To discover the right questions, we hold three kinds of meetings:

  • Policy Meetings: private meetings with policy makers
  • Discovery Meetings: open meetings with academics, policy makers, civil society and business organisations
  • Public consultations: open meetings between the public and academics

Meeting notes for each Hub can be found through here.

2) Research hubs

From Discovery to Research Hubs, where scholars, policy-makers and practitioners coalesce around a substantive macroeconomic policy question to explore, learn from and challenge each other’s assumptions and ways of thinking and to consider possible new methods of investigation.

Each Research hub is designed to exploit the potential for new policy relevant ideas that can flow from interdisciplinary engagement. The purpose of these meetings is to encourage scholars from across disciplines to present fresh ideas and promising areas of research to each other and students, policy makers and practitioners.

3) Pilot projects

Research Hubs will issue calls for pilot research projects to be funded by the network. We will support innovative and risky research ideas, and encourage inter-disciplinary research as well as extensions and adaptations of existing methodologies. We will not support projects that lack rigour or which we judge are better suited to funding from elsewhere.

We will require each recipient of funding to write jargon-free blogs explaining their research, progress and findings. Our approach will be to ‘let a thousand projects bloom’.

4) Engagement

Each stage of Rebuilding Macroeconomics is designed to re-connect academics with policy-makers and the general public. Important public policy questions can support a sustainable research programme.

We aim to address a two-way barrier between academia and the public about macroeconomic issues. We are committed to including public concerns while designing our Research Hubs and to explain key macroeconomic concepts and the findings of research supported by our network.

Road map

Towards the end of the investment period, the management team of Rebuilding Macroeconomics and Research Hub leaders will present a ‘road-map’ to the ESRC. This will summarise the outcomes of the research pilot projects and network discussions and provide an assessment of the direction of future macroeconomic research likely to yield the greatest social benefit. The ‘road-map’ will be a published record.

Learn, innovate and adjust

Rebuilding Macroeconomics is unique in the UK. As with all blue-prints, we expect to have to learn, innovate and adjust our processes.

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