The ESRC has posted two new videos answering this question (it’s more than sociology, which is good news for some of us). Beyond the general line about usefulness and relevance, and ‘making things better’, there is an interesting sub-text about social science as central to the whole scientific endeavour. Interestingly assertive.
They also have a new Facebook page, which seems to be pushing things a little (they’re already on Twitter).
Nobody I know thinks of the ESRC as a ‘friend’.