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Research and knowledge transfer

The School of Social Sciences has been working at the cutting edge of research for more than 40 years, attracting leading international academics and committed scholars to work within dedicated research groups.

Our research centres provide a wide range of services for international organisations, national governments, local authorities and non-governmental organisations.

Our research environment is vibrant, committed, crossdisciplinary and outward-looking, with a highly professional ethos but a welcoming atmosphere.

Working with organisations

Our mission is to offer high quality contracted research, consultancy and training services which facilitate and promote the exchange of ideas, knowledge and expertise.

We offer a multi-disciplinary and holistic approach that combines theory and practice effectively.  We have a strong track record in delivering world class applied research, consultancy, policy advisory work, skills development and professional development programmes, short or long term training programmes, regeneration support and community engagement programmes.  Above all, we ensure our programmes and projects deliver value for money and meet our client’s needs.

For more information about any of our projects or to discuss how we may be able to work with you, please contact Chris Kelly, R&KT Support Coordinator.

Research degrees

All Divisions in the School of Social Sciences invite PhD applications.

Subjects we supervise include the following areas:

Development Studies emphasises the applied and policy-relevant approaches to research, and this is reflected in the consultancy work which staff have undertaken for a number of governments and international organisations.

The Division's areas of research include:

  • foreign direct investment
  • trade liberalisation
  • the operations of multinational corporations
  • issues arising from resource-based economies
  • sustainable livelihoods
  • human rights and capabilities
  • social justice
  • water research
  • regional development challenges within the UK
  • accountability mechanisms
  • poverty
  • inequality
  • democracy

Under these broad headings, a very considerable variety of doctoral research projects find an accommodating and stimulating intellectual environment.

Current areas of research broadly come under two categories:

  • Trade and Integration
  • Social Economics

Research on Trade and Integration includes inquiry into the economic interaction between countries and regions encompassing globalisation and trade, the impact of FDI and trade on economic growth, contemporary aspects of European political economy and strategies for economic growth.

Social Economics includes inquiry into the individual and social dimensions of economic problems, the foundations and implications of economic analysis and the application of an economic approach to social and political questions, such as corruption and anti-corruption policy; consumption, lifestyle, culture and behaviour; job satisfaction, employee involvement and management; and progressive economic policy. 

The culture of research in Peace Studies is unique and interdisciplinary, involving field-based, theoretical and applied knowledge creation.

While issues-based work remains important, theoretical research is no less valued – indeed we regard it as essential to the continuing work of trying to address some of the most vexed and troubling problems of our time.

Key focuses include:

  • Disarmament (from small arms and light weapons to WMD and biological arms control)
  • innovative work in Participation Studies including research on social class, ethnicity, gender and human rights
  • research undertaken within the John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS)
  • research on development in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America on democratisation and gender and development
  • research from the pioneering Centre for Conflict Resolution on conflict analysis, peace-building from below and humanitarian intervention

Other Regions in Conflict studied include east-central Europe, the Middle East, South Asia and Central America.

Peace Studies is multi-disciplinary and we invite applications from suitably qualified and motivated individuals, whatever their disciplinary background. 

The Psychology Division encompasses a range of theoretical and applied researchers.

The Division has a particularly strong focus in the areas of health psychology and behaviour change.

The Applied Health and Social Psychology Group has an increasing national and international reputation receiving Economic and Social Research Council and NHS funding for research. The Group’s work is inclusive of research on:

  • gender and health
  • motherhood
  • eating behaviour
  • health behaviours
  • alcohol and drug misuse
  • community development and practice
  • inequalities in health and mental health
  • neuropsychological disorders
  • diversity in prisons
  • identity
  • creativity
  • sustainable societies
  • PTSD research and social media
  • suicide and social media
  • online disinhibition
  • attibution research
  • cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience
  • cognitive ageing research and dementia

Members of the Bradford Cognition and Brain Group in the Division of Psychology work collaboratively with colleagues from the Faculty of Life Sciences to explore cognitive development and neuropsychological functioning.

In addition to collaborations with Social Policy and Psychology, the Social Work Division undertakes important and timely work on a range of Social care issues.

Social care is a vital social function, and social work is one of the major means by which the state intervenes in personal welfare, yet both are often both underplayed and under-researched.

Research in this area seeks to redress the balance, when the importance of social care is re-emerging as traditional forms of working and living decay while the content and form of social work has changed dramatically over the last decade.

Current research addresses this agenda in the following linked strands:

  • understanding policy and practice with children and families in the context of gender, culture and life experience, such as family support, mothering and fathering, child welfare policy and practice, adults who were in care as children, men as sexual offenders, child sexual abuse among Asian communities, and adoption and divorce
  • religion and spirituality in social work, including the needs, strengths and difficulties that arise in practice from the religious, spiritual and other beliefs both service users and practitioners
  • the experiences of service users, including the family carers of dementia sufferers
  • the eellbeing and autonomy of older people in care
  • the organisation and management of social work, such as interprofessional working
  • ‘new managerialism’ in social work, and service organisation

Government deliberation and public debate over social policy has never seemed more topical – and in some particulars, never more urgent.

Our vibrant Social Policy Division engages both the practical and theoretical aspects of contemporary social policy at the international, national and local levels across a wide range of issues.

These include:

  • criminal justice studies
  • policing
  • hate crime
  • racism in prisons
  • human trafficking
  • youth offending
  • families, ethnicities and identities
  • transnational identities
  • anti-Muslim racism/Islamophobia
  • ethnicity and religion
  • gender and ethnicity
  • gender and sexuality
  • violence against women
  • work-life balance in Britain and Europe
  • individualisation and new families
  • parenting and partnering
  • children and young people’s participation
  • identity and self
  • contested sexualities
  • the economics of personal behaviour

JEFCAS research centre

The John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS) supports teaching and research on Africa at the University of Bradford.

The Centre's mission is to foster a collaborative and vibrant environment in which expertise on Africa is shared between academics, researchers, and students across all departments and research centres, and acts as a platform for interdisciplinary research, bringing the University's Africanists together with scholars from African, American and European Universities.

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