Institute for Policy Research

About the Institute for Policy Research

The University of Bath Institute for Policy Research (IPR) is a leading institute of public policy research in the UK. We undertake and enable policy-relevant research to make an impact, especially through building links with the worlds of policy and practice as well as by increasing public understanding of policy research through our Public Lecture and Policy Brief series. We deliver activities for policy makers, researchers and practitioners to enable two-way learning and original contributions to both research and practice, delivered through our Policy Fellowship Programme, Professional Doctorate, and Outstanding Visiting Fellows and Visiting Policy Fellows Schemes.

IPR Central team

IPR Sabbaticals

Dr Kate Woodthorpe, Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath

Since joining the University of Bath in 2010, Dr Kate Woodthorpe has completed funded research on funeral costs and practice, and professional development for staff in the deathcare industry. She acted as a Special Advisor to the Work and Pensions Select Committee Inquiry into Bereavement Benefits in 2016, and her work has been widely disseminated through the media, including numerous appearances on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, BBC Breakfast, and features in The Guardian and The Telegraph. She has undertaken consultancy work with Royal London, Axa SunLife and Volunteer Cornwall.

Externally she is co-editor of the journal Mortality and sits on the editorial board for the journal Sociology. Internally, she is the Director of Teaching for the Department of Social & Policy Sciences. She supervises two PhD students and was twice voted Supervisor of the Year by the University of Bath and Students' Union (2013-14 and 2014-15).

She is a member of the Centre for Death and Society (CDAS), the UK’s only research centre devoted to the study of social aspects of death, dying and bereavement.

IPR Global Chair

Professor Janine Wedel, George Mason University

Janine R. Wedel is an award-winning author and University Professor in the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs at George Mason University (also affiliated in 2015-2016 with the Hertie School in Berlin and Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Ukraine). She writes about governing, corruption, and influence elites through the lens of a social anthropologist. A five-time Fulbright fellow, she is the first anthropologist to win the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order, an honor typically reserved for political scientists (previous recipients include Samuel Huntington and Mikhail Gorbachev). She also has won awards from the MacArthur Foundation, National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Institute for New Economic Thinking, among many others.

A public intellectual, Wedel is a pioneer in applying anthropological insights to topics dominated by political scientists, economists, or sociologists. Her most recent book is Unaccountable: How Elite Power Brokers Corrupt our Finances, Freedom, and Security (Pegasus, 2014) was named in Bloomberg’s survey of 2014 favorite reads. Her other prize-winning books are Shadow Elite: How the World’s New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market (Basic Books 2009); and Collision and Collusion: The Strange Case of Western Aid to Eastern Europe (Palgrave 2001). She has contributed analysis pieces to more than a dozen major outlets, including the Financial Times, New York Times, Foreign Policy, Washington Post, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal Europe, and her work has been reviewed or translated into more than a dozen languages.

Wedel is co-founder and president of the Association for the Anthropology of Policy (ASAP), a section of the American Anthropological Association.

IPR Visiting Professor

Professor Dr Ricardo García Mira, University of A Coruña 

Professor Dr Ricardo García Mira is a Professor of Social and Environmental Psychology at the Department of Psychology of the University of A Coruña, Spain, where he teaches Social Psychology at the Faculty of Educational Sciences. He has been leading the People-Environment Research Group in this University, where he has conducted applied research in environmental issues during the last 20 years. Current clients include the Galician Government, the Ministry of Science and Technology of Spain, and the European Commission (EFRD and FP7 programmes). He has been the Project Coordinator of the GLAMURS project (2014-2016), as well as the LOCAW project (2011-2013), and a partner of the TRANSIT project (2014-2017). He has been coordinating some recent research on the “Prestige” disaster occurred in 2002, or the Northwest Spain fires occurred in 2006.

R. García Mira is the President of the International Association for People-Environment Studies (IAPS), and he has been a Visiting Reader at the University of Surrey (UK, 2003-2012), and an International Visiting Scholar at Texas State University (San Marcos, USA, 2001). He is currently a Visiting Professor at the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath. He gave lectures and seminars in a number of universities over the world: University of Paris V, University of Texas A&M, Unviersity of Tallin, University of Sao Paulo, Sapienza University of Rome University of Groningen, University of Umea, and UNAM-Mexico, as well as other Spanish universities like Oviedo, Vasque Country, Madrid, Barcelona, or Santiago de Compostela, among others.

He is the current European Editor of the Journal of Architectural and Planning Research and a member of the Editorial Committee of a number of international journals. Author/editor of more than 100 papers/monographs/reports and a number of books on environmental assessment, environmental attitudes and methodology issues. Some recent publications are: "Culture, Environmental Action and Sustainability" (2004, Hogrefe); "Housing, Space and Quality of Life" (2005, Ashgate); "Sostenibilidad, Valores y Cultura Ambiental / Sustainability, Values and Environmental culture" (2009, Pirámide).

R. García Mira was recently elected as a Member of the Parliament of Spain, where he is the Spokesman for the Study of Climate Change among other roles.

IPR Honorary Professor

Professor Susan Maguire

Professor Sue Maguire, formerly of the University of Warwick, will join the IPR for a three-year term from 1 July.

Professor Maguire’s work on the topics of education, employment and social policy have earned her great distinction and much recognition in her field. Her extensive research publications record, previous professorial appointment at the University of Warwick, substantial engagement with policymakers, and achievements in securing research funding and commissions from public bodies are all testaments to an outstanding career.

Currently working as co-investigator on a three-year ESRC fully-funded pan-EU project A Lost Generation? Understanding and preventing NEETs in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Japan, Professor Maguire will bring more than her substantial experience and acumen to the IPR. It is expected that her networks with civil servants and in government will allow the IPR to offer its Policy Fellowship and Professional Doctorate programmes to new audiences, and that University of Bath academics may have opportunity to collaborate with her on publications proceeding from her research.

Professor Maguire’s core area of expertise in youth policy is a perfect fit for the programme of research conducted by the IPR, and we look forward to welcoming her officially next month.

Email Professor Maguire

IPR Policy Fellow

Dr Jurgen De Wispelaere

Dr Jurgen De Wispelaere is an occupational therapist turned political theorist and policy scholar. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Tampere (Finland), and in this capacity forms part of the Kela-led research team preparing the upcoming national basic income experiment in Finland. Previously he worked at universities in Montreal, Barcelona, Dublin and London. His major research interest is the political analysis of basic income, which was the topic of his doctoral dissertation at the University of Tampere, and his work in this area is supported, in part, by a Political Economy Research Fellowship from the Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF).

Dr De Wispelaere has published extensively on basic income in leading international journals, including - most recently - Journal of Social Policy, Journal of Public Policy, Politics, Political Studies, International Social Security Review and Social Service Review, as well as specialist edited volumes. He is a founding co-editor of the journal Basic Income Studies and co-editor of Basic Income: An Anthology of Contemporary Research (Wiley 2013). Jurgen De Wispelaere is a board member of the Canadian basic income network BICN/RCRG (currently taking a backseat due to his relocation to Europe) and was the co-convenor of the 2014 BIEN Congress in Montreal.

His publications can be seen here.

IPR Visiting Fellow

Keum Jeong Soo

IPR Visiting Fellow Keum Jeong Soo is an experienced policymaker who has held a number of prominent positions in the Korean government. Before joining the IPR he was Regional Director of the Ministry of Employment and Labour (MoEL) for the Gunsan Region, but he has also held the position of Director of International Relations in the Republic of Korea's Economic and Social Development Commission, and worked in various fields for the MoEL. His particular expertise lies in policy areas relating to labour standards, minimum wage, ageing societies and in-work benefits.

During his one-year fellowship, Keum will pursue a programme of research based on the comparative study of unemployment benefits and active labour market policy across several countries including the UK and Korea. As this research progresses, he will also contribute to IPR Policy Briefs and present his research in IPR seminars.

Keum is based in 10 West 3.60, and can be reached by email or by phone on 01225 386724.

IPR Advisory Board

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