As a Professor of Social Policy in the Institute of Applied Social Studies, Birmingham University, and Deputy Director of the Third Sector Research Centre, I develop and direct programmes of research on the distinctive contribution of the third sector in the UK.
I serve on research advisory groups for the Institute for Volunteering Research and Home Start UK, am a member of the board of the European Research Network on Philanthropy (ERNOP) and I have also acted as a Specialist Advisor to the Health Select Committee of the House of Commons.
My academic background was initially in human geography and I held posts in that subject at the universities of Plymouth, London and Portsmouth before transferring to a chair in Social Policy at Southampton in 2005.
Outside academic life I am trying to get my piano playing back into shape, inspired by Alan Rusbridger’s Play it again. I also sing in a couple of choirs in Birmingham. More energetically I intend to compleat (that’s not a misprint) the Munros in the next few years – I am currently down to my last 40 or so. And in a 40-year triumph of hope over experience, I’m a long-time supporter of Newcastle United.