The Ben Pattison Memorial PhD Prize

The prize is named after Dr Ben Pattison, who sadly passed away at the age of 40 in March 2020.   Ben was an exceptional ESRC funded CHASM Doctoral Researcher at the University of Birmingham from 2012-2015. His PhD studied ‘Generation Rent’ and during his time here he worked as a teaching associate and a researcher and was an active member of CHASM and Housing and Communities Research Group. 
Dr Ben Pattison

Ben was a passionate advocate for policies to help those most disadvantaged by the inequalities within our society’s housing system.  In 2015, he took up a research post at the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University, working on various housing-related research projects particularly around homelessness, social lettings, affordability and young people.  For three years, Ben was a trustee of a charity which provided accommodation for refugees and asylum seekers in the East Midlands. He was also a member of the executive committee of the Housing Studies Association from 2012 to 2018. 

In honour of Ben’s memory, CHASM is running an annual competition for PhD researchers.  The prize will be awarded on the basis of a blog post.

Eligibility conditions

  • Eligible persons include anyone registered for PhD study in any country
  • Eligible blogs are restricted to those that are single-authored
  • The subject matter of the blog must be directly related to CHASM’s areas of interest.
  • Eligible blogs must not have been published or be under consideration for publication at the time of nomination.
  • Eligible blogs should conform to the guidelines listed below in terms of style and format

Process for applying for consideration

The Ben Pattison Memorial PhD Prize application process opens on Thursday 1 December 2022 and closes at 12pm on Monday 30 January 2023. You must submit your blog before 12pm on Monday 30 January to be considered for the prize. The prize winner will be announced via our website and social media on Monday 13 February 2023.

Submissions to be made via email to

Please read all the guidance before submitting your application, if you have any questions contact the above email address.

Criteria and judging process

The CHASM Director and two core members of CHASM will form the judging panel and make a decision which will be final using the following criteria:

  • The relevance of the blog to CHASM’s research interests
  • The originality of the ideas, evidence and argument in the blog
  • The clarity and power of the argument in the blog
  • The extent to which the blog will appeal to a wide audience
  • The extent to which the blog is written in accordance with the guidance on the style and format


The winner will be awarded £200 and the blog will be published on the CHASM website.

Guidance for CHASM blog

Blog writing differs in style and format from most academic forms of writing, so we’ve put together a style guide for you, drawing on the SPA’s blog guidance. In addition, this guide includes some requests for information that will be necessary for publishing your blog.

  • Length and format: blogs should normally be between 800 and 1,200 words.
  • Use Word format, 12 point font, single line spacing.
  • Include a title at the top along with your name and affiliation. The title should draw the reader’s attention while also clearly indicating the content of the blog.
  • As with journalistic pieces ‘lead with the best.’ Begin with a “hook” to draw the reader into your blog. This could be a provocative or intriguing question, statement of fact, observation, or a short vignette that illustrates the topic you will address in your blog. Don’t save your main argument or analysis for the end of the post.
  • Keep paragraphs and sentences as short as possible without compromising the meaning or the integrity of your thoughts. Shorter sentences are easier for the average reader to digest, so where possible, consider breaking up long, complex sentences. Also use simpler words where possible and avoid jargon.
  • Use subheadings to mark thematic or argumentative transitions in your blog. Subheadings make digital writing more appealing to readers. They also help Google search find your blog when someone searches for a related keyword.
  • To that end, please include a few suggested keywords for Google search.
  • Use hyperlinks to link to sources rather than parenthetical or note style forms of citations. Try, where possible, to avoid links to sources that are behind paywalls (including some journal articles).
  • Provide a brief 1-2 sentence biography that includes a link to your website, Facebook and/or Twitter page.
  • Graphs and charts are great. Please just make sure that it adds to the argument you are trying to make – and that you have permission to use these if you have not created them yourself. Each chart needs a clearly labelled heading, labels for the X and Y axes or histogram bars, including units of measurement and a readable scale or background grid. There should be a clear legend distinguishing multiple data series from each other and a brief note on sources. Lines must be thick enough and distinctively coloured. Please send the source data in XL format.
  • Please try to avoid using footnotes wherever possible and integrate material directly into the text.
  • Please submit an image that can accompany your blog post. It is vital that you check copyright permission to reproduce images that are not your own and that you state the type of license. When searching on image databases such as Flickr restrict your search to those with a creative commons licence. On Google images, use the advanced search function and select ‘free to use or share’. It is always advisable to go back to the original image site to double-check the type of license. Alternatively, Pexel is a database where all images are free to use. A useful short guide to different creative common licences types can be found here: