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Social policy and social work research

Furthering social progress through cutting edge research into real world issues.

We are a world class research community well known for its emphasis on theoretically-rich and empirically-grounded research that directly influences policy and practice.

The city of York has a long tradition as a leading voice for social reform. Our vision for the School for Business and Society is to be the stewards of this historical legacy, ensuring York remains recognised internationally as a beacon for social progress.

We analyse complex human and social situations to find solutions to problems. We evaluate current systems and engage our expertise with the latest methods to deliver social change and to improve people's lives.

We welcome visiting researchers (PDF , 151kb) who wish to collaborate with our research staff.

The Research Excellence Framework 2021

  • Our social policy and social work research ranked 11th in the UK - according to the Times Higher Education’s ranking of the latest REF results (2021).

Learn more about the 2021 REF results

Research strengths

Our vibrant community of academic staff, research staff and PhD students is organised across seven research themes. 

Through these themes we lead intellectual debates in the applied social sciences, pushing conceptual, methodological and theoretical dimensions of social policy and social work research. We place a strong emphasis on knowledge exchange and impact, championing applied research that influences policy and practice in the UK and beyond.

Impact and engagement

We believe that achieving impact is fundamental to the integrity of our research.

Through a combination of academic rigour and applied research, our work makes a difference to international, national and local communities by driving evidence-based improvements to policy and practice.


The Centre for Housing Policy has a 25 year record of academically excellent and policy-relevant research.

Centres and networks

We collaborate with our colleagues across the University and beyond to undertake unique research projects, tackling the issues facing today's society. 

Major Funded Projects

We are supported by large grants and endowments, ensuring the sustainability of our research activity.