About us

SPRU is an internationally recognised research unit that carries out world class, policy-related research, communicates its outputs to policy makers, practitioners, voluntary organisations, and service users, and influences change. The Unit was established in 1973 and has become one of the largest and most successful groups of applied social policy researchers in the UK.

Since its inception, SPRU has been concerned with research related to policy, service design and delivery, and practice within the broad fields of welfare and health and social care. Some our projects directly inform, or evaluate, policy and practice; others contribute towards a wider evidence base which informs policy and practice debates and developments.  

From the beginning, three strong commitments have underpinned our research:

  • to reflect, and communicate, the experiences and views of the users and beneficiaries of services and policy interventions;
  • to recognise that people’s lives do not divide into neat segments which coincide with agency and professional boundaries, and to engage in research which crosses these boundaries;
  • to make our research influential in bringing about change, and therefore to communicate findings effectively to key audiences; and engage actively with policy makers and practitioners in thinking through their implications.

Our research is funded by central government, the National Institute for Health Research, Economic and Social Research Council, the European Union, charitable trusts and foundations.

Our Directors

SPRU is co-directed by Professor Yvonne Birks and Professor Bryony Beresford.

Contact us

Social Policy Research Unit
spru@york.ac.uk
+44 (0)1904 321950
Alcuin Block B, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom.
SPRUYork

Find out more

Contact us

Social Policy Research Unit
spru@york.ac.uk
+44 (0)1904 321950
Alcuin Block B, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom.
SPRUYork