The SPA’s activities are co-ordinated by an elected Executive Committee. All members of the SPA are eligible to stand and elections for the Executive Committee are held at the AGM during SPA’s Annual Conference. The SPA is committed to promoting the discipline of Social Policy and representing its members’ interests. The SPA Executive operates under an agreed statement of ethics.

If you would like to discuss a particular issue with the SPA Executive or are interested in joining the Executive then please contact the relevant Executive member below.

Karen Rowlingson : Chair

Karen Rowlingson


University of Birmingham

Karen Rowlingson is Professor of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham.  She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and member of the REF sub panel for UoA 20: social work and social policy. 

Karen’s research interests include: wealth and the wealthy; financial inclusion; the moral economy of inequality; inter-generational relationships and inequalities; and the social security and tax systems.

Doreen Lawrence, Baroness of Clarendon, OBE : President

Doreen Lawrence, Baroness of Clarendon, OBE


Baroness Doreen Lawrence was awarded the OBE for services to community relations in 2003 and since then she has been made a life peer in the House of Lords in 2013. She has won praise for her tireless dedication to community, anti-racism and other causes close to her heart and she was recently named the most powerful woman in the country by the BBC. Her spirit and resilience and demand for a better way have genuinely changed an institution at the core of British life.

Doreen Lawrence continues to advocate and provide a voice for the voiceless with her continued commitment to inequalities in societies globally and supports many good causes and travels  initiatives that provide opportunities to young people that were tragically denied to her son Stephen by his senseless murder in 1993

Her efforts in seeking justice for Stephen’s murder has seen her on-going commitment lead to an investigation into claims of police corruption and, for her, the changes in policing remain ‘only partly done’ in her wish to see Britain become a fairer, just and tolerant society for all.

Following 22 years as the Founding Trustee and President of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, she stepped down to establish the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation where she is continuing to provide ‘a legacy of hope’ for young people, in particular boys of colour and disadvantaged communities with educational opportunities, community cohesion and career advancement.

Markus Ketola : Secretary

Markus Ketola


University of Edinburgh

Markus joined University of Edinburgh in 2019 as Senior Lecturer in Global and International Social Policy. He has also taught at Ulster University (2013-2019) and LSE (2011-2013).

Markus' research interests include the role of civil society organisations in social policy design and delivery, and the social policy of the populist rightist parties in Europe.

Anya Ahmed : Treasurer

Anya Ahmed


Manchester Metropolitan University

Anya is Professor of Wellbeing and Communities at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Her research interests include ageing, dementia, migration and BAME communities, marginalised groups  and homelessness.



Sarah Brooks-Wilson : Early Careers and Postgraduate

Sarah Brooks-Wilson

Early Careers and Postgraduate

Sarah Brooks-Wilson is a Lecturer in the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology at the University of Birmingham, teaching Criminology and Social Policy.

Her research focuses on inequalities accessing essential local services, particularly journey capabilities, structural journey barriers, and consequences for not being present and punctual. These issues have been explored in the context of young people's lives more broadly, as well as those in the justice system.

Gideon Calder : Conferences

Gideon Calder


Gideon is Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at Swansea University.

His main current research interests lie in three areas, which sometimes overlap: inequalities and social justice in childhood; ethics, including in research; and co-production.  He is co-editor of the journal Ethics and Social Welfare, and director of Swansea’s Research Institute of Ethics and Law.

Ruby C M Chau : Teaching & Learning / Editor of Social Policy & Society

Ruby C M Chau

Teaching & Learning / Editor of Social Policy & Society

University of Nottingham

Ruby Chau is an Associate Professor in Public and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham. Previously, she was a Marie Curie Research Fellow and a Lecturer at the University of Sheffield.

Her main research interests are women and ageing, women and family care, defamilisation, health and social care for older migrants,  East Asian welfare systems and comparative social policy. She is currently involved in a project called ‘Leading the Way – towards an Ageing-Friendly Sheffield’ in which older people from different backgrounds are engaged in co-production activities to design ageing-friendly measures for the city.

Jan Eichhorn : Editor of Journal of Social Policy

Jan Eichhorn

Editor of Journal of Social Policy

University of Edinburgh

Jan Eichhorn is a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Edinburgh.

His research focuses on challenging orthodox economic assumptions in social policy and on understanding how people engage politically to affect changes. In addition to his university role, Jan is also the research director of a non-partisan German think tank, d|part, that connects research and practice in the field of political participation.

Jan is a co-editor of the Journal of Social Policy.

Naomi Finch : Communications (Joint Lead)

Naomi Finch

Communications (Joint Lead)

University of York

Naomi is a lecturer in Social Policy at the University of York.

Her research interests focus on gender equality specifically related to work and care, and how welfare states shape, support and value care. She mainly focuses on intra-household care, how parents share care and work, and the implications of this both in terms of gender equality in the labour market, and other areas such as parental and child wellbeing and poverty. She specialises in micro and comparative quantitative analysis.

As Joint Communications Portfolio Lead, together with Ewan Robertson, Naomi looks after the SPA's twitter account, the Newsletter and SPA Online management.

Jennifer Hamilton : Membership Secretary

Jennifer Hamilton

Membership Secretary

Ulster University

Jennifer is Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at Ulster University.

Her research interests focus on minority ethnic groups in Northern Ireland, mainly migrant labour, racism and integration.

Elke Heins : Publications

Elke Heins


University of Edinburgh

Elke Heins is Lecturer in Social Policy and Deputy Director (Research) of the Graduate School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh.

Her principle research area is comparative and European social policy. She is particularly interested in labour market and unemployment policy as well as well as the politics of health and wellbeing. She is currently one of the co-editors of Social Policy Review.

Steve Iafrati : Vice Chair, SPA Opportunities

Steve Iafrati

Vice Chair, SPA Opportunities

University of Nottingham

Steve's research interests focus on how specific groups in neighbourhoods experience poverty and/or are able to engage with services.

His research is mainly carried out within localities and often in partnership with voluntary and public sector organisations; recent examples include food banks, hate crime, drug treatment services and caste discrimination.

Vikki McCall : Strategy & Marketing

Vikki McCall

Strategy & Marketing

University of Stirling

Dr McCall is a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Housing at the University of Stirling. Her work has included extensive research on the role of front-line workers, users and volunteers and the policy process and the integration of health and housing. This has included exploring front-line worker discretion, interpretations, activities and actions and bridging the gap between policy and practice. Dr McCall has a broad portfolio of social science teaching and research with the University of Stirling.

Key interests and publications include work on housing and ageing, volunteering, devolution, poverty,  stigma, inequality, gender, urban society, museums and the cultural sector.

Theo Papadopoulos : International Relations

Theo Papadopoulos

International Relations

University of Bath

Theo works in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences at the University of Bath where he lectures and conducts research in comparative and European social policy.

His research interests include the political economy of familistic welfare regimes, migration and welfare, the politics and impact of austerity policies and the changing governance of social welfare in Europe and, more recently, in Latin America.

Ewan Robertson : Communications (Joint Lead)

Ewan Robertson

Communications (Joint Lead)

University of Edinburgh

Ewan is a PhD candidate and academic tutor in social policy at the University of Edinburgh.

His thesis examines the dynamics driving tax, benefit and minimum wage reforms which impact low-income workers in France and the UK, with a special focus on in-work benefits. His wider research interests include working-age social security, the interaction between labour markets and social security, and comparative analysis of welfare systems.

As Joint Communications Portfolio Lead, together with Dr. Naomi Finch, Ewan looks after the SPA's website content, including SPA blog postings and control panel management.

Enrico Reuter : Conferences

Enrico Reuter


University of York

Enrico is Lecturer in Public and Social Policy at the University of York.

His current research interests are in self-employment (and the wider context of changing wage-labour conditions and social protection systems), in public service reform (with a focus on the ideational underpinnings of reform trends), and in the crisis of liberal democracy (notably with respect to the principle of popular sovereignty).

Antonios Roumpakis : International Relations

Antonios Roumpakis

International Relations

University of York

Antonios is a Lecturer in Comparative Social Policy at the University of York. Antonios completed his PhD at the University of Bath and his dissertation focused on the comparative governance of pension funds.

His current research interests centre on the political economy of familistic welfare regimes, debt and asset-based welfare, comparative research methods, the politics and impact of austerity policies and the changing socio-economic governance in Europe.

James Stanyer : PGR representative

James Stanyer

PGR representative

University of Wolverhampton

James Stanyer is a doctoral student at the Institute for Community Research and Development based at the University of Wolverhampton, researching Inclusive Growth in the West Midlands region under the supervisory team of Dr Steve Iafrati and Dr Stuart Connor. Prior to his research, James completed a Masters in Social Policy at the University of Birmingham and a BA (hons) degree in Politics and Social Policy at Wolverhampton.

Outside of his doctoral research James has lectured across undergraduate Social Policy modules, and foundation level courses.  His other interests include; food insecurity, disability, asylum seekers and refugees, and race.

Ellen Stewart : Awards

Ellen Stewart


University of Strathclyde

Ellen is a Senior Lecturer and Chancellor’s Fellow in Health Policy, in the School of Social Work & Social Policy.

Her research interests are in citizen participation in healthcare; critical approaches to evidence-based policy; and interpretive policy analysis.

Kate Summers : Impact and Engagement

Kate Summers

Impact and Engagement
London School of Economics
Kate is a Fellow in the Department of Methodology at the London School of Economics where she is also an associate of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion.
Her research interests centre around poverty, economic inequality, and working-age social security policies in the UK context. She is also interested in the development and application of innovative qualitative research methods, including the use of deliberative and participatory approaches.
Alessio D’Angelo : Editor of Social Policy & Society

Alessio D’Angelo

Editor of Social Policy & Society

University of Nottingham

Alessio is an Associate Professor in Public and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham, where he also leads the International Centre for Public and Social Policy (icPSP).

His research interests include migration, social inequalities and access to public services, with a particular focus on education and the role of Third Sector organisations. Most recently he has been working on EU and UK funded grants on school engagement, community-led education programmes, intra-European migration and refugee reception across the Mediterranean. His work employs quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods and he has particular expertise in Social Network Analysis (SNA).