Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Research in Social Policy

Centre staff

About Professor Donald Hirsch

I have spent thirty years analysing social policy in the UK and internationally – as a journalist, OECD official, consultant to public organisations and charities, and an academic.  From 1998 to 2008, prior to joining CRSP, I was Poverty Adviser to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and played a leading national role in monitoring Labour’s welfare reforms and efforts to cut child poverty.

At CRSP I lead the Minimum Income Standard research, which produces on-going studies of what people need for an acceptable standard of living.  By combining this evidence with associated studies of life on a low income and evidence from large surveys, our team is well placed to show the impact of turbulent economic times and changing welfare policies on the ability of low income families to live adequately.  This allows me to produce regular commentary on policies as they unfold, and to make calculations influencing the national debate: in particular, I work closely with the Resolution Foundation to help calculate the Living Wage based on our research and make an annual assessment of the cost of a child.

You can read my blog, commenting on recent developments in social policy and on our research here.

Recent Publications

About Abigail Davis

Prior to joining CRSP I worked as a researcher for the BBC. Since 2006 I have specialised in budget standards, as part of the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) team.  I lead the qualitative element and the budget compilation process for the core MIS programme. 

My research includes work on the additional and different costs for households living in rural communities in England and Scotland, and a minimum income standard for Guernsey. Most recently I have completed a project using the MIS framework to explore and identify the household costs of foster carers.

I design and deliver training in MIS methods for researchers in other countries, and am currently a consultant on MIS projects in Austria, France, Ireland, Japan and Portugal.

My research interests include lifestyles and living standards, poverty and social exclusion, budget standards and income adequacy. 

Recent Publications

About Katherine Hill

I studied Social Policy and went on to complete a MSc in Social Research Methods. I then worked at CRSP as a Research Associate for over ten years, during which time I focussed predominantly on qualitative projects.  Most of my research has been in the area of welfare policy, disadvantaged groups and low income with a particular interest in the perspectives of people themselves.  I worked on several policy evaluations including NDDP and LHA, and most recently focussed on research on ageing looking at the needs and experiences of older people.  This included managing the Resources in Later Life project for JRF and Living on a Low Income in Later Life for Age UK.

I had a short break and have recently re-joined CRSP to lead a project on Minimum Income Standards for people with sensory impairments.  This is being funded by the Thomas Pocklington Trust.

Recent Publications

  • Dr Nicola Horsley BA (Hons) MSc (Research) PhD
  • Research Associate

About Dr Nicola Horsley

Nicola left the Centre in April 2017 to take up the role of researcher at DANS of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Recent Publications

About Matt Padley

I studied sociology at Manchester and Nottingham Universities before joining Loughborough in 2003. Working in the Institute of Youth Sport between 2003 and 2009, I developed an interest in social policy, specifically how policy is delivered within, impacts upon and is shaped at the local level. I joined CRSP in 2009 and I have conducted research across a range of different policy areas. In recent years I have led research developing a Minimum Income Standard for London and worked with Birmingham City Council to undertake an analysis of the Living Wage in the city and the impact of welfare reform. I am involved across the Minimum Income Standards (MIS) programme, leading the annual analysis of Households below a Minimum Income Standard and the quantitative elements of the MIS programme.

Over the last year, I have developed and led work, in collaboration with teams in Mexico and South Africa, exploring the application of the MIS method in the global south.

My research interests focus on understanding the patterns, causes and consequences of social disadvantage, particularly with regard to income. My research has included work on living standards and income adequacy, housing affordability, poverty measurement and international conceptions of living standards.

Recent Publications

  • Dr Laura Valadez Martinez BA (Hons) MA (Hons) MSc DPhil
  • Research Associate
  • +44 (0)1509 223494

  • U1.26

About Dr Laura Valadez Martinez

I finished my Doctorate in Social Policy at the University of Oxford in May 2012. My thesis explored the effects of multiple dimensions of household poverty on children in rural Mexico. Before that, I studied for an MSc in Public Policy in Latin America (Oxford), an MA in Public Administration and Public Policy (EGAP, Mexico), and a BA in International Relations (ITESM, Mexico). After completing my doctoral studies and before joining CRSP in November 2013, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Lisbon, where I conducted research on social inequalities and the welfare state in Portugal. 

My research interests include comparative social policies, poverty measurement, poverty alleviation programmes, child wellbeing and international conceptions of living standards. I joined CRSP to work on the Minimum Income Standards programme which will include quantitative and qualitative research on income adequacy, the Living Wage and the welfare system.  Also, I will collaborate in conducting international comparisons of income adequacy and living standards and in enhancing the impact of CRSP research on policymaking.

Outside of CRSP, I am an online tutor for the Inter-American Development Bank and a social policy researcher for an FP7-programme called nopoor.

Recent Publications

About Lisa Jones

I provide administrative support for the Centre’s projects. This includes general administration tasks such as formatting reports, documents and presentations as well as managing the diaries of the research team. Project administration includes booking travel and accommodation, arranging meetings and advisory groups when required and organising all requirements for any fieldwork taking place.

I am also responsible for the day to day finances of the Centre and its projects.

About Nicola Lomax

I have worked at CRSP since 2000 and provide administrative support the centre’s projects. This includes general administration tasks such as formatting reports, documents and presentations as well as managing the diaries of the research team. With regards to project administration, this can include booking travel and accommodation, arranging meetings and advisory groups when required and organising all requirements for any fieldwork taking place.

I am also responsible for the Centre's publicity, in the form of updating the centre’s website, Twitter and Facebook pages.


Centre for Research
in Social Policy

Department of Social Sciences
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

+44 (0)1509 223372