The IPR has appointed two new staff members in Spring 2018 to support its research portfolio. Dr Rita Griffiths joins the IPR from March as Research Fellow, and Seren Essex joins the IPR as a PhD Candidate from February.

Dr Griffiths, who previously served as Research Programme Lead (Maternity Cover) in the IPR, will be dedicated Research Fellow on a new ESRC project examining the impact of Universal Credit on couples with children – part of the IPR’s research stream on the welfare state, family and work. With 25 years’ experience of policy research and government evaluation, she will assume the main responsibility for the outputs of this project.

Dr Griffiths will be based in the IPR, and can be reached by email on

Seren joins the IPR to pursue doctoral research on the effect of subject requirements at degree level. Contributing to the widening participation in higher education research stream, she will study for her PhD under the supervision of Drs Paul McCombie and Matt Dickson as well as IPR Director Professor Nick Pearce.

Since completing her master’s degree in engineering at Swansea University, Seren has worked as a physics teacher at a comprehensive school in Cornwall; she has also acted as Teacher Coordinator for the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Seren will investigate the extent to which the specification of subject qualifications for entry to engineering degree courses unnecessarily restricts applications of potential students from under-represented groups. She will seek to establish whether specific entry requirements are supported by evidence of a correlation to eventual degree performance.