Donald Hirsch headshot

Professor Donald Hirsch

  • Director of CRSP
  • School Associate Dean for Enterprise

I have spent nearly 40 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 oversee 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, make an annual assessment of the cost of a child, advise the growing number of charities who are using our research as a benchmark against which to give grants to households facing hardship, and lead an ongoing project estimating the additional cost of living in remote areas for the Scottish Government as part of its calculation of fuel poverty. 

As Associate Dean for Enterprise in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, I aim to support other academics in these fields to apply their research through partnerships with non-academics and to think about the impact it brings beyond academia.

Recent publications