New award to reward best political thinking

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A Sheffield research group is backing a new prize designed to spotlight the best thinking in the field of political economy.

The Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute - SPERI - has joined forces with magazine the New Statesman to launch the award.

It is hoped The New Statesman SPERI Prize for Political Economy will inspire great minds of the future.

The prize will be awarded biennially, starting this year, to a scholar who has succeeded most effectively over the preceding two or three years in disseminating original and critical ideas in political economy to a wider public audience.

Professor Tony Payne, director of SPERI at The University of Sheffield, said: “We hope the prize will gain attention and become critically acclaimed. We will award it every two years and we want its standing and reputation to grow.

“It is important to have such a prize because political economy, although a very old field of study, has lately come to be eclipsed somewhat by the huge growth in the study of economics and politics as separate arenas of discussion and debate.

“Political economy does not recognise this separation and seeks to speak much more to the real world. This is badly needed after the great post-2008 crisis in which economics and politics have been consistently wound together in complicated and unusual ways.”

Members of the prize jury are currently being selected and will be announced soon. The jury will prepare a shortlist of up to six names which will be announced in September.

“We are presently assembling the prize jury,” said Professor Payne.

“Its first task will be to put together a shortlist of possible winners of the New Statesman SPERI prize.”

The first winner of the prize will be announced in October and will deliver a prize lecture in London at the Royal Institution in November.