Social Sciences and BBC Ideas video partnership: Introductory event

Is 2023 the year you want to engage more people with your research? Are you keen to share your big (or small) idea with the world? Have you ever wanted to help make a video or short film? The Social Sciences Division’s Research, Impact and Engagement Team is excited to launch a new partnership with BBC Ideas this year, which will see the co-production of 4-6 social sciences research videos to be published on the BBC ( and University of Oxford websites. We’re looking for exciting new research ideas as well as new perspectives on older ones, which are of interest to a general audience of under-35s, to feature as part of this video series.

About BBC Ideas:
BBC Ideas films are short (usually in the region of 5 minutes) but are designed to leave the audience learning something they genuinely didn’t know before and/or give them a fresh perspective on a topic. They aim for an engaging watch that leaves people with genuine take-homes – the kind of thing you might chat with your friends about and say “Did you know…?”.

BBC Ideas commissions both film and animation, and tries to avoid anything that would be covered by BBC News. The objective is not to provide head-on news or current affairs, but rather to explore underlying issues/take a broader perspective etc. Their films are relatively evergreen, and will often be re-promoted multiple times. That said, films are generally commissioned on subjects that feel ‘of now’ and are in some way zeitgeisty – not too detached from reality – or on topics that feel timeless and universal. A news “hook” (even a loose one) is always useful in terms of getting that initial promotion.

Films are promoted via the BBC News website, the BBC homepage and social media channels (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok where suitable). BBC Ideas is keen that its films represent diversity in all its forms. You can see examples of recent BBC Ideas films below.

About the event:
This event will formally launch the call for expressions of interest in this opportunity. We will be joined by Editors from BBC Ideas who will introduce researchers to the platform and its background, the types of videos that BBC Ideas produce, and the broad themes under which they would welcome expressions of interest from researchers. Researchers will also have the chance to ask any questions.

The call for expressions of interest will be open to all faculty members and research staff from departments in the Social Sciences Division. Fixed term researchers are particularly encouraged to apply. Established academics can nominate themselves or members of their research team to take part – this might include doctoral students and research staff. Students are not eligible to apply.

Broad themes that BBC Ideas are particularly interested in pursuing as part of this series include: – Economics/cost of living – e.g. unexpected impacts of a financial squeeze – Mental health – Climate change and environment – Work/leadership – Technology and society
Please don’t feel limited by these subject areas – they are just an indication of the kinds of things BBC Ideas is interested in.