23. April 2007 12:17

ESF names Sir Roderick Floud as the Chair of the Social Sciences

The European Science Foundation (ESF) has named Professor Sir Roderick Floud from London Metropolitan University as the Chair of the Standing Committee for the Social Sciences. (SOC (formerly SCSS)) 


Professor Floud, who is currently the President Emeritus of London Metropolitan University, received a knighthood for services to higher education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2005.


“I am delighted with the appointment which links together two of my main interests – European universities and social science,” said Professor Floud. “Expanding knowledge and applying it to the problems of society is very important to me.” 


His own knowledge has propelled him to become an economic historian and author of books and articles on technological change, the use of IT in the study of history, and on the evolution of technical education and on changes in human height, health and welfare which have drawn on the expertise of human biologists, demographers, economists, nutritionists, physiologists and others to create the new discipline of anthropometric history.


Professor Floud said he will continue his efforts in linking social sciences with other disciplines as interdisciplinarity has always been “fascinating and challenging” to him.  


“The social sciences are important, indeed vital, to every human society,” commented Professor Floud. “They help us to understand how we have developed over past millennia and they help us to comprehend the complexities of modern societies.” 


With the new position Professor Floud said he will focus on listening, understanding and guiding as the characteristics to deal with the Members Organisations (MOs), the Standing Committee and the academic community.


“I try to work hard and to respond rapidly,” he said. “Any head of a university gets used to multi-tasking as well as weighing up evidence and guiding colleagues to a decision.”


Also an avid skier who has a strong interest in national and international politics, Professor Floud said his main passion is drawn from the most basic form of social setting – his own family. “Their interests come first, even if that means juggling work, travel and meetings,” he added.


Professor Floud will start his position in May 2007.




  • Professor Sir Roderick Floud is 65 years of age. 


  • He was elected an Academician of the Social Sciences in 2000 and a Fellow of the British Academy in 2002.  He has a particular interest in part-time and mature students in higher education and was previously a Professor at Birbeck College London, Wadham, College Oxford, Emmanuel College Cambridge, the City and Guild of London Institute and the Historical Association. 


  • Under Professor Floud’s leadership as Provost, London Guildhall University – which merged with the University of North London in August 2002 to become London Metropolitan University – was a partner in many regeneration and economic development activities in East London.  He was, until 31st March 2006, an Observer on the Board of the London Development Agency and co-Chair of the London Skills Commission.  He chaired the working party that produced London: the Knowledge Capital, the first London Innovation and Knowledge Transfer Strategy. 


  • Professor Floud was the first convenor of London Higher, which represents all 41 of London’s Higher Education institutions.  He was also President of Universities UK, which represents 121 British universities, from July 2001 to July 2003 and chaired the interim Board of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. 


  • He was a council member of the Conference of European Rectors and is currently a Vice-President of the European University Association, taking particular responsibility for the “Bologna Process” of convergence of higher education systems in Europe.


Issam Ahmed
Communications Unit
+33 (0)3 88 76 71 14