About the Social Policy Research Network

The Social Policy Research Network (SPRN) is designed to provide a way of connecting people from the Faculty of Education and Social Work with other academics from around the University and all those interested in social-policy development. It host seminars, coordinates research proposals and encourages the involvement of new and early-career researchers as well as research students, managers, policy analysts and practitioners.


The network aims to develop a theoretical, applied and interdisciplinary association of like-minded people that will:

  • focus on further developing existing strengths and collaborative links

  • enhance the reputation of the SPRN within the institutions and organisations of its members

  • engage with contemporary state, national and international issues

  • develop the capacity to operate as a reference point for informed submissions and comment on parliamentary and wider social debate

  • adopt an inclusive approach to new and early-career researchers, research students and all those starting out in the policy and practice arena.

Main research areas

  • community development and participation

  • domestic and gender-related violence

  • gender and social policy

  • welfare states (national and international)

  • mental health

Key roles and contacts

Position Faculty member



Minutes secretary

Dr Ruth Phillips

SPRN seminar series

Professor Barbara Fawcett

Postgraduate researchers support

Dr Susan Goodwin

SPRN-NGO research forums

Dr Susan Goodwin

Special projects

Dr Ruth Phillips

Discovery Grants application support

Associate Professor Jude Irwin