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In 2004 the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) set up the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) at the University of Southampton. NCRM was tasked to increase the quality and range of methodological approaches used by UK social scientists through a programme of training and capacity building, and with driving forward methodological development and innovation through its own research programme.

Since its foundation NCRM team at the University of Southampton has been responsible for carrying out a wide range of coordinating and strategic functions, operating as a focal point for national research and training activities in social science research methods.

From October 2014 onwards NCRM forms a partnership between three institutions with international reputations in methodological research and training in the social sciences. The University of Southampton has directed NCRM since 2004 and run highly regarded short-course programmes through CASS for more than 15 years. The University of Manchester has longstanding experience in delivering high quality methodological research and training through its Cathie Marsh Centre, the Methods@Manchester initiative, as well as hosting two NCRM funded projects and the Research Methods Programme before that. The University of Edinburgh recently received an additional five years of funding for the AQMeN Centre, which has achieved notable success in building quantitative methods capacity in Scotland through innovative training activities.

NCRM also works closely with WISERD in Wales, ARK in Northern Ireland, and the Department of Methodology at the LSE.

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