Auriol Miller, the director of the Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA), was named as one of 47 social scientists elected to be a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.
She is one of four nominees from a Welsh institution, and the only fellow from a Welsh think tank this year.
The Fellowship, which includes 1,500 members, recognises social scientists for outstanding contributions to their discipline in the field of social sciences academia, the private and third sector.
Auriol Miller joined the IWA after a career in international humanitarian response and sustainable development. She was the first woman to run the IWA after leading Cymorth Cymru, the umbrella body for homelessness policy in Wales. She has served on a number of advisory groups to Welsh Government, Natural Resources Wales, the Future Generations Commission and others, including the Health Foundation’s Covid Impact Inquiry as the sole Wales member, making sure Welsh data informed the UK-wide inquiry. She is currently a member of the Expert Panel supporting the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales.
Founded in 1987, the IWA has hosted essential discussions about Wales’ future since the advent of devolution, conceiving evidence-informed policy and holding robust debates to foster a strong, confident democracy and a successful, green and fair economy for Wales.
Under Auriol’s leadership, the IWA issued Re-energising Wales, a flagship project that laid out an itinerary for Wales to be entirely powered by renewables by 2035, and led a consortium of partners to develop Understanding Welsh Places, which brings together data about Welsh places of over 1,000 inhabitants, supporting people to develop place-based opportunities. The IWA’s work on media and democracy has spearheaded work on deliberative democratic methods in Wales, public interest journalism, and the devolution of broadcasting powers. Its in-house magazine, the welsh agenda, is widely respected.
Other Wales-based nominees to the fellowship include Professor Jiří Přibáň and Professor Russell Sandberg, both Professors of Law based at Cardiff University, and Professor David Bewley-Taylor, Professor of International Relations and Public Policy at Swansea University.
Auriol Miller said:
‘I'm really thrilled to be elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. As a practitioner at the Institute of Welsh Affairs, making sure we commission and deliver effective inter-disciplinary research is a key part of our role to improve devolved policy making. We convene debates, strengthen policy capacity across different sectors and offer recommendations informed by evidence as well as real world experience. We have to communicate clearly why the issues matter too, and not just to the policy community, but far more widely. Understanding how the world works now is crucial for imagining and bringing into being a stronger, more resilient and fairer economy, as well as a healthier, confident and more inclusive democracy.’