John Brown

BSc (Bath), MPhil (York)

  • Honorary Fellow


Brief biography

Academic interests have evolved from an interest in all aspects of health care provision to a focus upon staff training in learning disabilities and the policy debates around the design and delivery of services and provision, especially inter-professional issues. Over 30 research and development grants have been awarded to develop this work the majority coming from central government and professional body funding.

Various committees have been chaired on learning disability staff training at regional and national level and for 8 years I chaired the Learning Disability Awards Framework for the Department of Health before this became the basis of the learning disability qualifications currently offered by Skills for Care.

The work in learning disabilities has led to an interest in social firms that, itself, has led to an increasing interest in social enterprise that now comprises the main focus of my research activity.

Areas of expertise

  • Social enterprise
  • Services for people with a disability
  • Health and social care policy
  • Staffing public sector services

Professional activities

These have included:

  • Editorial panel ‘Health, Risk and Society’
  • University of York:
    • University Teaching Committee
    • Standing Committee on Assessment
    • Collaborative Provision Forum (Chair)
  • York College Higher Education Quality Committee
  • External examining  Undergraduate and Masters programmes as well as PhD theses at a range of UK universities from 1978 to 2010


Current research interests and projects

Latterly, my research interests have focused upon social enterprise, especially upon how the dynamics of social and environmental initiatives at the local level are promoted or hindered by the ways that different organisational structures and relationships evolve as an initiative progresses. The different organisational skills that this involves increasingly informs the delivery and assessment of my modules to help prepare students for employment and increase their employability after they graduate as well being the basis for programmes that promote the continuing professional development of the skills of those already working in the community. How this impacts upon improving the efficacy of social enterprise initiatives, and how this can be gauged and measured, provides the basis for current research interests. Crucially, with increasing globalisation, this research is placed within an international perspective.

Research teams

Working closely with colleagues in both the social policy and social work teaching sections to develop and promote research and teaching agendas around social enterprise.


Recent publications

Gunn, R. and Brown, J. (2008) ‘Social Entrepreneurship in the social policy curriculum”, Journal of Social Enterprise, 4, 1, pp74-82.

Gunn, R. and Brown, J. (2008), ‘First steps: An innovative approach to teaching social entrepreneurship’ in Ingle, S. et al (eds) Promoting Entrepreneurship in Universities, Lahte University of Applied Science.

John Brown

Contact details

John Brown
Honorary Fellow

Tel: 01904 32 1240