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Meet the team

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Professor Lisa Scullion

Lisa is Professor of Social Policy and Co-Director of the Sustainable Housing & Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU), University of Salford. She has led 35 externally funded projects as PI and delivered an additional 27 as Co-I. Her research focuses on the experiences of a range of socially excluded/vulnerable communities in relation to social security. She led Salford’s involvement in the five-year ESRC Welfare Conditionality project and is currently leading the UKs first project focusing on military veterans and social security funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT). Lisa is also a founder member of the Salford Anti-Poverty Taskforce; an innovative research/knowledge exchange partnership with Salford City Council. Through this Taskforce she is co-leading a programme of research that directly supports Salford’s Anti-Poverty Strategy and Action Plan.

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Dr Ben Baumberg Geiger

Ben is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy at the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR) at the University of Kent, and also involved in the the University of Kent’s Q-Step centre (which he helped found and co-directed until Sep 2016). He has several major areas of research, including (i) disability and the benefits system, including how to create a better version of the WCA; (ii) public attitudes to the benefits system; and (iii) issues of truth and power in social science. For a time in 2015-16 he worked on secondment as a Policy Advisor at the Department of Work and Pensions. You can see his full publications list (including open access versions) at

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Dr Daniel Edmiston

Daniel Edmiston is Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds, UK. He has undertaken national and comparative research drawing on mixed methods approaches to critically examine the distributional and discursive effects of welfare policy and politics. He has previ­ously worked for the ESRC, the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, and the University of Oxford. Daniel’s research focuses primarily on poverty and inequality, comparative public policy and social citizenship. He is author of Welfare, Inequality and Social Citizenship: Deprivation and Affluence in Austerity Britain.

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Dr Jo Ingold

Dr Jo Ingold is an Associate Professor at Leeds University Business School and from summer 2020 will be an Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at Deakin Business School in Melbourne. Her academic specialisms are at the intersection of human resource management and public policy and her research and publications cover: the employability and skills sector: programme design, delivery and workforce issues; the intersection of HRM and public policy; business engagement in labour market policy; the workplace inclusion of disadvantaged labour market groups. Jo previously worked in the voluntary sector and in policy, research and people development in central government. She received an ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellowship to examine employer engagement in the UK and Denmark and is an Associate of the ESRC DIGIT Centre. She is a member of the Editorial Board of Work, Employment and Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Employability Professionals, a member of the Employment Related Services Association, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an Academic Member of the CIPD.

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Dr Kate Summers

Kate Summers is a Fellow in Qualitative Methodology at the London School of Economics, where she is also an Associate of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion. Kate’s research interests are focused on poverty, economic inequality, and social security policy. She is also interested in the application of innovative qualitative methods. Specifically, Kate is interested in the uses of qualitative interviews, focus groups, and participatory and deliberative approaches. Kate is leading the qualitative longitudinal interviews with claimants.

Project management team

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Dr David Robertshaw

David Robertshaw is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation, and Change at Leeds University Business School. For Welfare at a (Social) Distance he is a researcher on the local area case studies (Work Package 2) and the longitudinal research with claimants (Work Package 3). He has previously worked on research projects relating to employer engagement in employment programmes, health and social security, and decision-making in HR. His research focuses on national and local labour market policy, and his thesis examined youth-targeted employment programmes under the Coalition government in the UK. He has a background of working with and researching seldom-heard communities, including street homeless people, and is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

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Dr Eleni Karagiannaki

Eleni Karagiannaki is an applied economist who works as an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has done work on range of issues relating to poverty and inequality measurement and analysis with a particular focus on understanding how the tax and benefit systems, the labour market and the family interplay to shape socio-economic inequalities and the transmission of inequalities across generations. She has published papers on cross-country differences in wealth inequality and on factors driving changes in wealth inequality over time, on the effects of inheritance in shaping the wealth distribution and on the intergenerational effects of wealth. Some of her recent research work looks at the relationship between persistent income poverty and material deprivation across different EU countries; the intergenerational fairness of the tax and benefit systems in different EU countries (both funded by European Commission Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion) and the effects of intrahousehold inequality on living standards (funded by the Economic and Social Research Council).


Dr Robert De Vries

Robert de Vries is a Lecturer in Quantitative Sociology at the University of Kent, and a part of the University of Kent Q-Step Centre. His research covers a variety of topics within the general theme of social stratification, including: social comparisons, cultural participation, health inequalities and social attitudes and stereotypes about marginalised groups (particularly benefit claimants).

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Dr David Young

David Young is a Research Fellow at the Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU) at the University of Salford and a researcher at the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath. David’s research focusses on social security policy and the experience of income change and insecurity. Wider research interests include precarious work, welfare reform, and the health and wellbeing impacts of advice services. David is a researcher on work packages two and three of the Welfare at a Social Distance project.

Porject support

Project support team

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Janis Bright

Janis Bright is Impact Officer for the WASD project. She is a journalist and researcher, specialising in housing and welfare topics. She worked for five years as Impact Officer for the multi-university Welfare Conditionality Project, based at the University of York.

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