Social Policy research

HandsWithin the School of Social Policy, we undertake innovative, exciting, applied research. We believe in research making impact and we aim to build into the research process itself, communities, policy makers and practitioners, so as to ensure that our research travels and impacts upon people's everyday lives. Our research is ethically driven and sensitive, and deeply resonates with local, national and international issues.

As a School we are a diverse body and linking that diverse body together are three characteristics. We believe in our research having meaning, having relevance and being methodologically rigorous.

Research expertise across the School currently sits within our Departments:

The School's research activities include two research centres, four research groups and research carried out at the Health Services Management Centre, which is organised around its areas of work or specialisms.

Our research centres

Research groups

In addition there is an over-arching Participatory Research Theme which is cross-cutting across all four of our Research Groups.

HSMC organises its research around its five areas of work or specialisms:

Our courses

The School is committed to excellent standards of academic research, policy work and related knowledge transfer activities. Staff members engage in high profile international research and policy and practice networks as well as delivering a range of taught masters and research degree programmes.

Read more about doctoral research opportunities within the School of Social Policy.

RAE success

The School of Social Policy is delighted it has recently received further recognition as an internationally leading centre for research in social policy and social work.  In the latest Research Assessment Exercise, for 2008, some 95% of its research is internationally recognised.  This includes 15% regarded as world-leading, and a further 45% as internationally excellent.  This is a significant advance on its research quality since 2001, since when new appointments have been made and there have been significant increases in PhD completions and externally-funded research.  This achievement is all the more impressive as the School is a major provider of social work and social policy education and training, which draws on our research.



Doctoral Training Centre status

The University of Birmingham has been selected as one of only 12 single institutions to receive 'Doctoral Training Centre' status from the ESRC. The award recognises the work of social science colleagues over the past two years in consolidating our research training programmes into the new MA Social Research, as well as the commitment to high quality doctoral supervision and the wider experience for doctoral researchers at Birmingham.


Professor Pete Alcock
Director, Doctoral Training Centre


ESRC Doctoral Training Centre