Organisation profile

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The Centre for Social Innovation collaboratively seeks new pipelines for public innovation surrounding contemporary national and international challenges which threaten the physical and emotional security of individuals, communities and societies.

Drawing on multi-disciplinary approaches from across the social sciences and humanities, the centre team collectively explores the complex interplay between social cohesion, public policy and societal change, working collaboratively with a range of research partners.  These include Children North East, the UK Intellectual Property Office, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Public Health England, the College of Policing, NHS Digital, the National Crime Agency, the Ministry of Justice, and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Our work spans five research themes, closely aligned to the School of Social Sciences Humanities and Law’s strategy to develop a Social Science Park to be launched in 2023, and connected by an overarching ambition to deliver demonstrable and sustainable social impact:

  • Technology, Innovation and Civics
  • Communities, Education and Work
  • Place, Change and Harm
  • Crime, Social Exclusion and Extremism
  • Co-producing Alcohol and Public Health Research.

Underpinning these themes lies a methodological commitment to bringing together diverse participants from different sectors of society, with a view to co-producing possible solutions to the root causes of contemporary social problems, including the barriers to change which may influence their successful implementation.

To support this work the centre is led by internationally recognised academics who in addition to more traditional social research methods, possess a diverse range of expertise in policy briefing; workshop design and delivery; education and skills training; document archiving; as well as social media and network analysis.


Our research has been and is supported by many funding agencies, including the British Academy, National Institute for Health Research, Wellcome, Public Health England, UK Research and Innovation, Economic and Social Research Council, Innovate UK and Horizon 2020.

Doctoral training

A multi-disciplinary approach to addressing social change is strengthened by existing doctoral training initiatives.

The Centre for Social Innovation is a member of a number of externally funded consortia that recruit postgraduate research students in collaboration with several other UK Universities. These include ESRC NINE DTP and AHRC Northern Bridge DPT2, which exemplify the collaborative model of working we pursue. These two consortia are located in Northern Ireland and North East England and work in partnership with a number of internationally excellent research organisations including the British Schools in Rome and Ankara offering international and industry placement schemes.

The Centre also hosts a cohort of Marie Cure PhD Fellows, funded via the University Alliance Social Policy Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) and Cofund projects. DTA fellows are all working with interdisciplinary research approaches combining criminology, sociology, social care and social policy. The University Alliance DTA programme seeks to equip doctoral students with the necessary skills and experience to contribute effectively to the social policy challenges facing communities and societies in increasingly complex global contexts.


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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