Graham Room, Professor of European Social Policy, received the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Medal at the University’s winter Award Ceremonies.
In his four decades at the University, Professor Room has gained an international reputation for his innovative research in social policy and has made a fundamental contribution to Bath’s global standing in this area of social sciences research.
His work played a key role in our Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education, awarded to the University this year for its ‘influential applied research into child poverty, and support for vulnerable people’.
The Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell paid tribute to Professor Room in a ceremony on Wednesday 12 December, saying: "As well as being a leader in his discipline and in his role within the University, Graham combines his formidable academic rigour and forensic attention to his subject with enormous personal and scholarly generosity. His knowledge of the social sciences is encyclopaedic and his enthusiasm for sharing and communicating its insights is a distinguishing feature of his considerable contribution.”
Professor Room has played a major role in developing research in European social policy, including the development of the European Commission’s social action programmes in the field of poverty and social exclusion in the 1970s and 1980s.
He became a Member of the Council of Europe Steering Group on Poverty and Marginalisation in the 1990s and was a Special Adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities. He was the founding editor of the Journal of European Policy.
The University appointed Professor Room to the Chair of European Social Policy in 1992 and he was elected to the Academy of Social Sciences in 2004.
He held a prestigious Fellowship from the Economic & Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC) between 2008 and 2010, which led to publication of his most recent book, Complexity, Institutions and Public Policy: Agile Decision-Making in a Turbulent World. This inter-disciplinary work has involved him in collaborations across the university, including with colleagues in Mathematics and Computer Science.
His work continues to be at the leading edge of the discipline. He is currently examining how national policy regimes are changing in response to the dramatic re-structuring of the global environment and is leading on the development of the University’s new Institute for Policy Research, which will be launched next spring.
Professor Room said: “It is a great honour to receive the Vice-Chancellor's Research Medal. And, while I realise that this is a personal award, it also reflects the stimulating research environment that I have enjoyed in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences, and working with colleagues across the University.
“I came to the University in 1973 and have made my entire career here. It is my work on policy analysis that continues to engage me, building on foundations laid down during my ESRC fellowship. Here I am blending together analytical perspectives concerned with complex adaptive systems (including evolutionary models) and certain strands of social and political science (notably historical institutionalism).
“This will continue as the focus for my research work over the coming years, and my efforts to engage with practical problems in the world of policy-making.”