The arrival of Covid-19 to the UK in early 2020 led to rapid and far-reaching changes in the way
we live our lives. ‘Lockdown’ led to school closures and working from home became the norm
for many workers. And while most shops and businesses closed, ‘key’ workers and services
experienced unprecedented pressures.
For the last two years, WISERD has adapted its research programme to address the challenges
posed by the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. This re-orientation has entailed two main
strategies. Firstly, where relevant, we have drawn on those existing research findings that can
be used to inform the likely impacts of the pandemic. Secondly, we have repurposed ongoing
and planned research projects to address the consequences of the pandemic on key activities
This report provides a brief overview of WISERD’s research across a range of areas, including
on education, work and labour markets, health and wellbeing, and welfare. Not surprisingly
given that WISERD hosts the ESRC Civil Society Centre, we also examine the current impact of
the pandemic on civil society, as well as exploring how civil society might help shape a brighter
post-pandemic future. While ESRC funding supports most of the research reported here, we
also include findings from projects funded by the European Commission, the British Academy,
the Welsh Government, the Leverhulme Trust, Carnegie UK Trust, Institute of Welsh Affairs,
and Sêr Cymru. A list of the projects referenced in this report is provided in Appendix A.
As always, our research draws from across a range of disciplines and methodologies. The
projects discussed in this report are informed by economic, sociological, geographical, and
social policy perspectives. Methodologically, in addition to the extensive secondary analysis of
administrative data, the complex use of geographic modelling and longitudinal surveys, we
have undertaken policy analysis and smaller scale qualitative projects with community groups.
To maximise the usefulness of our research for informing current challenges and future
possibilities, we have engaged in ongoing dialogue throughout the pandemic with a wide range
of policymakers, professionals and civil society stakeholders. A list of key engagement activities
is provided in Appendix B.
In the following pages we outline some of the key findings and projects. Because of the need
to disseminate findings quickly, many of the sources cited are infographic materials, reports
and blog posts, as peer-reviewed articles take a long time to be published. We also report on
research which is currently underway, and for which Covid-relevant findings will be available
in the future. A list of outputs referenced in the report is provided in Appendix C.