Professor John Mohan

Professor John Mohan

Third Sector Research Centre
Professor of Social Policy and Director of the Third Sector Research Centre

Contact details

School of Social Policy, TSRC
Park House
University of Birmingham
B15 2RT

John is a Professor of Social Policy in the Institute of Applied Social Studies, and is currently Director of the Third Sector Research Centre.


  • PhD 1983
  • BA 1979


John joined IASS in September 2013. He is currently Director of the Third Sector Research Centre ( – the first substantial investment by the ESRC and government into academic research on the third sector in the UK. He is a member of research advisory groups for the Institute for Volunteering Research and Home Start UK, and has acted as a Specialist Advisor to the Health Select Committee of the House of Commons. His academic background was initially in human geography and he held posts in that subject at the universities of Plymouth, London and Portsmouth before transferring to a chair in Social Policy at Southampton in 2005.


John currently contributes to the MA in Social Policy (specialist option on the third sector).

Postgraduate supervision

Having recently moved from the University of Southampton, John continues to remain involved in supervision of: 

  • Magda Zasada (2010-) Social enterprise approaches to health inequalities
  • Naomi Harflett (2010-) Lifecourse approaches to the study of volunteering
  • Vicki Bolton (2009-) – longitudinal studies of volunteering 
  • Anjelica Finnegan (2009-) policy towards volunteering, past and present’


John’s research currently focussed on the distinctive contribution of the third sector to society and economy in contemporary Britain. His work includes projects on: the development of large-scale databases on voluntary organisations, including registered charities, social enterprises, cooperatives and mutual; the geographical and sectoral distribution of these organisations including UK-wide comparisons and small-area analyses; long-run trends in the formation and survival of organisations; the pattern of funding, including the balance between public service provision and voluntary finance; and patterns of voluntary action and the relationship between voluntary action and social capital.

Recent / current / forthcoming research projects include:

Funded research projects

I have received over 30 awards from the Economic and Social Research Council, UK charitable organisations, government, European sources. The total value of these awards is c. £17Mn and the principal awards are broken down, by funder, here.

Economic and Social Research Council

15 awards in total, including:

  • 2015 (with D Kane (NCVO) Data resource construction for the third sector: open grantmaking and public procurement data (£210 000)  
  • (with D Kane, N Ockenden (NCVO) (invited application from ESRC’s Directed Knowledge exchange scheme) £250 000 to extend existing work on third sector databases
  • 2014  (with R Lindsey (PI), C Silver (CI) £200000 from Secondary Data Analysis Initiative Phase II, “Defining Mass Observation”
  • 2012 CI (with Jane Elliott (Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education) for work on longitudinal studies of volunteering: evidence from the cohort studies (£94k)
  • CI  with Rose Lindsey (PI), Sarah Bulloch and Ros Edwards (all Southampton) Secondary Data Analysis initiative (linking qualitative secondary longitudinal data on volunteering to cross-sectional surveys (£200k);
  • 2008 £9.6Mn (coinvestigator with Pete Alcock (Birmingham) and Jeremy Kendall (Kent)) for establishment of the Third Sector Research Centre (2008-2013);
  • 2007 (with I Wilkinson, B Breeze, M Bond, B Sanghera) £497 000 (FEC: £398 000) from ESRC Charitable giving and philanthropy research centre for work on Charity and social redistribution (2008-13) (Principal investigator)
  • 2007 (with L Twigg) £97 000 (FEC: £78 000) from ESRC UPTAP Initiative (Exploring the Goodhart thesis at the local scale)(2007-8)(co-investigator)(final report  rated ‘Outstanding’ by ESRC)
  • 2002  Hospital contributory schemes and health insurance in Britain, 1945-2000 (£40000, with M Gorsky; rated “outstanding”).

Pre-2002: four awards.

Charitable Trusts

13 awards in total, including:

Leverhulme Trust

  • 2005 £17595 (Leverhulme personal research fellowship for work on social polarization, place and quality of life in Britain)
  • 2002 £46000 (with M Gorsky) Hospital contributory schemes and the coming of the NHS
  • 1998 £29000 (with M Gorsky, M Powell) Public-private mix for health in inter-war Britain
  • 1996 £54000 (with M Powell) Voluntary hospitals in the UK, 1891-1944

Wellcome Trust

  • 2007 £40000 (with M Gorsky) Research resources in medical history: Web access and database linkage for the British Voluntary Hospitals database; see

Northern Rock Foundation

  • 2007 (with K Wilding, O Reichardt, L Hems) £275 000 from Northern Rock Foundation (state of the voluntary and community sector in the Northern region – quantitative analyses) (Principal investigator)

Government / public sector

  • 2014 NIHR (£694k) (with J Glasby, D Davidson (HSMC) et al Role and effectiveness of community hospitals
  • 2005 (with A Pollock, J Shaoul, D Price) £85 000 from NHS Service Delivery and Organisation Programme (non-profit organizations and service delivery in health care)
  • 1999 (with L Twigg, K Jones) £92000 from Health Development Agency (social capital, place and health)
  • 1988 (with S Curtis et al) £25 000 from Health Development Agency (Mapping the epidemic: coronary heart disease mortality in English health authorities)
  • 1987 (with S Curtis, B Jarman, M Butts, et al) £27000 from DHSS (integrated analysis for the review of the Resource Allocation Working Party (RAWP) formula)

European Union

2013      2.5Mn Euros – consortium (led by ISF, Norway plus several partners) funded by FP7 programme, Impact of the third sector in Europe



Gorsky, M, Mohan, J with Willis, T. (2006) Mutualism and health care: British hospital contributory schemes in the twentieth century (Manchester University Press, pp. xii + 243).

Mohan, J, S Barnard, K Jones and L Twigg (2004) Social capital, place and health London: Health Development Agency.

Mohan, J (2002) Planning, markets and hospitals (London, Routledge.)

Mohan, J and Gorsky, M (2001) Don’t Look Back? Voluntary and charitable finance of hospitals in Britain, past and present (London: Office of Health Economics).

Refereed Journal Articles

Clifford, D, Geyne Rajme, F, and Mohan, J. (2013) 'Variations between organisations and localities in government funding of third sector activity: Evidence from the National Survey of Third Sector Organisations in England, Urban Studies, 50(5), 959-976.

Mohan, J (2012) Entering the lists: what can we learn about the voluntary sector in England from listings produced by local infrastructure bodies? Voluntary Sector Review, 3(2), 197-215.

Mohan, J. (2012) Geographical foundations of the Big Society, Environment and Planning A, 44(5), 1121-1129.

McCulloch, A., Mohan, J., and Smith, P. (2012) Patterns of social capital, voluntary activity, and area deprivation in England, Environment and Planning A, 44(5), 1130-1147.

Mohan, J., Twigg, L. and Taylor, J. (2011) Mind the double gap: using multivariate multilevel modelling to investigate public perceptions of crime trends. British Journal of Criminology, 51(6), 1035 -1053 (doi:10.1093/bjc/azr041).

Taylor, J., Twigg, L. and Mohan, J (2010) Investigating perceptions of antisocial behaviour and neighbourhood ethnic heterogeneity in the British Crime Survey. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 35, (1), 59-75. (doi:10.1111/j.1475-5661.2009.00365.x).

Taylor, J., Twigg, L. and Mohan, J. (2010) Diversity or disadvantage? Putnam, Goodhart, ethnic heterogeneity and collective efficacy. Environment and Planning A, 42, 1421-1428.

Heins, E., Price, D., Pollock, A., Miller, E., Mohan, J and Shaoul, J. (2010) A review of the evidence of third sector performance and its relevance for a universal comprehensive health system. Social Policy & Society, 9, (4), 515-526. (doi:10.1017/S1474746410000230) .

Mohan, J and Twigg, L. (2007) Sense of place, quality of life and local socioeconomic context: evidence from the Survey of English Housing, 2002/03. Urban Studies, 44, (10), 2029-2045.

Mohan, J., S Barnard, K Jones, L Twigg (2006) Developing and evaluating small-area indicators of the neighbourhood social environment. Environment and Planning A 38, 2173 – 2192.

M Gorsky, Mohan, J., Willis, T (2005) Social insurance, the British hospital system and the NHS debates, 1941-8: the rejection of social insurance in British health care? Twentieth Century British History, 16, 170-192.

Gorsky, M. Mohan, J and T. Willis (2005) From hospital contributory schemes to health cash plans: mutualism in health care in the post-war period. Journal of Social Policy, 34, 447-67.

Mohan, J, Barnard, S, Jones, K and Twigg, L (2005) Social capital, geography and health: a small-area analysis for England Social Science and Medicine, 60, 1267-83.

Contributions to edited collections

Mohan, J. (2012) Charity and social redistribution: the question of “charity deserts”, in Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy Philanthropy and a better society, (London: Alliance Publishing Trust), 51-55.

Mohan, J. (2011) Hospital policy in England and Wales: of what is the 1962 Hospital Plan a case? In Exworthy, M, Peckham, S, Powell, M and Hann, A (eds, 2011) Shaping health policy: case study methods and analysis (Bristol: Policy Press), 59-76.

Mohan, J. (2011) Above and below the radar: Mapping the distribution of civil society associations in England, in Halpin, D and Jordan, G (eds) The scale of interest organization in democratic politics, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), 202-222. (with L. Twigg) Social capital, in Kitchin, R and Thrift, N (eds) International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (Elsevier).

Mohan, J. (2010) (with J Taylor and L Twigg) Exploring the links between population heterogeneity and perceptions of social cohesion in England, in J Stilwell and M van Haan (eds) Ethnicity and Integration (Heidelberg: Springer), 269 – 288.

Mohan, J. (2009) Visions of privatisation: New Labour and the reconstruction of the NHS as a regulated market, in J Gabe and M Calnan (London: Routledge), The New Sociology of the Health Service. London, GB, Routledge.

Mohan, J. (2006) The ‘caprice of charity’: regional variations in the finances of voluntary hospitals in Britain before the NHS. In Gorsky, M and Sheard, S Financing British Medicine (Routledge), pp. 77-92.

Mohan, J, Barnard, S, Twigg, L and K Jones (2006) Geography and voluntary action: does where you live influence whether you volunteer? In Milligan, C and Conradson, D (eds) Landscapes of voluntarism Bristol: Polity Press.

Mohan, J (2004) Sozialer Wandel, raumliche Spaltung und Sozialpolitik: New Labour und der britische Wolfahrtstaat (Social change, spatial divisions, and social policy: New Labour and the British welfare state). In F Kessl and H-U Otto (eds.) Soziale Arbeit und Soziales Kapital: Zur Kritik localer Gemeinschaftlichkeit (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag), pp. 97-112.