Who Are We?

The Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF) is a public benefit foundation funded by a group of private philanthropists with interests in academia and social science, founded in 2008. It is dedicated to advancing the social sciences through the promotion of new modes of inquiry and the development of interdisciplinary expertise and methods, and through better understanding of social entities and processes.

To achieve this objective it intends to provide a series of research grants, enter into partnerships with academic institutions and support research activities that promote development in its field.

Academic Background & Objectives

There is an increasing recognition — both within and outside academic organisations — that the most pressing social and research challenges are beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research.  There is evidence of this in universities, key funding bodies and the users of social science research.

This is particularly true of fundamental questions in the social sciences:  How do societies evolve?  Why does hunger persist?  How do people make decisions?  What are the causes of war? These questions are inherently complex and call for diverse insights.  A particular challenge created by this complexity is the need to understand the implicit content of the models employed in social science and to ensure that it is appropriate for social analysis.

The ISRF believes that interdisciplinary research — understood here as not just the simple combination of traditional approaches, but the conversation between established disciplines and the introduction of new modes of inquiry  — is critical for the advancement of new knowledge and for solving contemporary theoretical and practical problems.

The ISRF’s Executive Team comprises:

Dr Louise Braddock
Director of Research

Dr Louise Braddock works with the ISRF’s Foundation Board to direct all academic work within the Foundation, in consultation with its Academic Advisors. She proposes, implements and assesses the Foundation’s funding strategy and activities.

She trained as a psychiatrist, and now researches and publishes on the philosophy of psychoanalysis. She taught philosophy in Oxford, where she is an associate member of the Philosophy Faculty, and at Girton College in Cambridge where she is a Bye-Fellow in Philosophy and Praelector (www.girton.cam.ac.uk/girton-today/people/fellows/).

She is an academic associate of the British Psychoanalytical Society, co-founded its London Philosophy-Psychoanalysis study group and co-convenes both the St John’s College (Oxford) Interdisciplinary Psychoanalysis seminar (oxfordpsychoanalysis.blogspot.co.uk) and INSEI, the Interdisciplinary Network on Sympathy, Empathy and Imagination (www.insei.net).

Dr Rachael Kiddey
Editorial Assistant

Dr Rachael Kiddey joined the ISRF in 2014 as Editorial Assistant. Rachael’s priorities are editing the ISRF’s quarterly Bulletin, assisting the Director of Research in academic matters, and responsibility for commissioning and producing content for the website. Rachael’s role includes encouraging wide dissemination of research funded by the ISRF, for example through podcasts, popular articles and talks and the use of film.

Rachael has a PhD from the Department of Archaeology at the University of York (where she remains Research Associate). Her doctoral research involved developing methodologies for working archaeologically with homeless people; documenting how heritage can function in socially useful and transformative ways. This research was shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Award for Widening Participation Initiative of the Year 2012 and was shortlisted for the Society for Historical Archaeology’s Mark E. Mack Community Engagement Award 2016. Before undertaking a PhD Rachael worked as a documentary radio producer for BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4. She is currently completing a monograph for Oxford University Press.

Stuart Wilson

Stuart Wilson oversees the general administration of the ISRF’s operations. He supports the Director of Research in the implementation of the Foundation’s funding strategy and activities, and is the first point of contact for all general enquiries.

He is an experienced administrator whose previous employers include University College London and King’s College London.

The ISRF is advised by an Academic Advisory Board comprised of leading international academics from across the social sciences.

The composition of the Academic Advisory Board is as follows:
Greg Watson is Honorary Secretary to the Academic Advisory Board.
Former Academic Advisory Board members include:

The ISRF’s Foundation Board comprises:


2016 Annual Report

2015 Annual Report


The Independent Social Research Stichting’s policy plan draws together the objectives and activities of the foundation.

The ISRF is an endowed foundation – the endowment, and any additional donations, are directly used to promote and support the objectives of the ISRF. Oversight responsibility for the foundation’s endowment lies with the ISRF Investment Committee. The Executive Team are responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the annual budget, as approved by the Foundation Board. The Independent Social Research Stichting (the “ISRF”) has its own remuneration policy. A financial statement will be published on an annual basis, from 2017 onwards.