Picture of Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick

Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick

Suzanne Fitzpatrick is the director of I-SPHERE. Suzanne is a leading international scholar on homelessness, and has undertaken research on family, single and youth homelessness, as well as on rough sleeping, ‘street culture activities’, domestic violence, and rights-based approaches to tackling housing exclusion. Her methodological expertise lies mainly in qualitative research (in-depth interviews, focus groups, qualitative longitudinal research), and in policy, legal and international comparative analysis, but she has also led numerous mixed methods studies with strong statistical components.

Suzanne is principal investigator on the highly respected Crisis/Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF)-funded “Homelessness Monitor” series, and has recently led/co-led major programmes of work on “Destitution in the UK”, also for JRF, and on severe and multiple disadvantage (“Hard Edges”), for the Lankelly-Chase Foundation/Robertson Trust. She is homelessness theme lead in the ESRC/JRF-funded ‘UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE)’, and previously led/co-led the housing and homelessness strands in five-year ESRC funded study of “Welfare Conditionality”, as well as an earlier ESRC-funded project on “Multiple Exclusion Homelessness”. Suzanne is currently managing a four-year programme to support the Oak Foundation’s evaluation and research on homelessness, and she is a lead researcher for the Chicago-based Institute of Global Homelessness.

Research interests

  • Homelessness and housing exclusion
  • Housing policy
  • Housing law
  • Housing rights
  • Social housing
  • Domestic abuse and violence
  • Begging, street drinking and other aspects of street culture
  • Social justice, social cohesion and social exclusion Critical realism.

Contact Details

Email: s.fitzpatrick@hw.ac.uk
Picture of Professor Glen Bramley

Professor Glen Bramley

Glen is one of Britain’s leading academics in housing and urban economics having been engaged in academic and applied policy research in this field since the mid-1970s. Glen has been Professor of Urban Studies at Heriot-Watt University since August 2002 and was Professor of Planning & Housing, Heriot-Watt University/Edinburgh College of Art from 1994-2002. He gained a PHD and held several academic positions at the former School for Advanced Urban Studies, University of Bristol. Prior to this Glen was an Economist with Shankland/Cox Partnership, Town Planning Consultancy working on the Lambeth Inner Area Study for the government.

Research Interests

  • Housing systems, economics and demography
  • Housing needs, affordability and access
  • Housing finance and affordable housing provision
  • Household formation and migration
  • The housing market, particularly the impact of planning regulation and local/neighbourhood impacts of policy interventions
  • Planning, land supply and infrastructure
  • Local government and services distribution and finance
  • Local environments in poor neighbourhoods; local income and wealth distributions
  • Public finance and economics, particularly local government services and the relative need of different local areas
  • Poverty, including housing-induced poverty, social exclusion, severe and complex need manifestations, and methodologies to investigate including conventional and new kinds of surveys, administrative data and data linkage.

Contact Details

Email: g.bramley@hw.ac.uk
School Profile: https://www.hw.ac.uk/staff/uk/egis/glen-bramley.htm
Research Profile: https://researchportal.hw.ac.uk/en/persons/glen-bramley
Picture of Professor Sarah Johnsen

Professor Sarah Johnsen

Sarah Johnsen is a Professorial Fellow in I-SPHERE. Much of Sarah’s research focuses on homelessness, substance misuse, and related forms of ‘street culture’ such as begging and street drinking. She has particular interest in the different manifestations of and relationships between aspects of extreme exclusion, and in individuals’ journeys into thProfessor Sarah Johnsene most severely excluded populations which can often be traced back to childhood trauma. Sarah has extensive experience in assessing the effectiveness of interventions for homeless people with complex needs. She also has longstanding interest in the practice and ethics of research involving vulnerable people.

In recent years Sarah has led or contributed to studies on, amongst other topics: the ethics and efficacy of welfare conditionality; specialist healthcare for homeless people; housing-led interventions targeting rough sleepers (including Housing First); peer mentor schemes; multiple exclusion homelessness; gendered manifestations of severe and multiple disadvantage; rough sleeper reconnection schemes; faith-based service provision for homeless people; policy responses to youth homelessness; links between homelessness and poverty; and homelessness affecting ex-service personnel. This work has been funded by a wide range of research council, government, and charitable sources.

Research Interests

  • Rough sleeping and other forms of homelessness
  • Begging, street drinking and other aspects of street culture
  • Substance misuse, mental health and ‘complex needs’
  • Role of faith communities in welfare provision
  • Practice and ethics of research involving vulnerable people

Contact details

Email: S.Johnsen@hw.ac.uk
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Professor Morag Treanor

Morag Treanor is Professor of Child and Family Inequalities and the Deputy Director of I-SPHERE.The primary focus of Morag’s research is families and children who are living with economic deprivation and inequality. Her research uses longitudinal methods, both quantitative and qualitative, to analyse child poverty – its measurement, causes, consequences, mitigation and prevention. Her current research uses birth cohort & linked administrative data, and qualitative research with families, to explore the impacts of longitudinal poverty on children’s lives and outcomes, and the impact of family, peer and social relations on child wellbeing.

Her work spans academic research and publications, applied social research for public and voluntary bodies and statistical analysis of large-scale datasets.

External appointments

Current funding

Research Interests

  • Poverty and Inequality
  • Education
  • Children and young people’s wellbeing
  • Impacts of family, peer and social relationships on children’s wellbeing
  • Children and young people’s developmental outcomes
  • Children and young people’s educational, social and personal transitions
  • Adolescent risk and poverty
  • Adversity in childhood
  • Lone parenthood
  • Methodological – longitudinal qualitative and quantitative methods; administrative data; birth cohort data; and poverty concepts and measures

Contact Details

Telephone: +44 (0)131 451 8358

Email: m.treanor@hw.ac.uk
School Profile: https://www.hw.ac.uk/staff/uk/egis/morag-treanor.htm
Research Profile: https://researchportal.hw.ac.uk/en/persons/morag-treanor
Morag’s blog site
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Dr Beth Watts

Dr Beth Watts is a Senior Research Fellow at I-SPHERE (Institute for Social Policy, Housing and Equalities Research), Heriot-Watt University.

Beth’s research focuses on homelessness, housing and welfare policy, and the ethical dimensions of social policy problems. She has written (with Suzanne Fitzpatrick) a book on Welfare Conditionality published in Routledge’s Key Ideas series; journal articles in Housing Studies, the Journal of Social Policy, the European Journal of Homelessness and Housing, Theory and Society; comment pieces for the Guardian, the Conversation and LSE’s Politics and Policy blog; and commissioned reports for funders including Crisis, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Shelter Scotland, Social Bite and Depaul UK.

Before joining I-SPHERE in 2013, Beth completed her PhD on legal rights-based responses to homelessness at the University of York. She has previously worked as a researcher at The Young Foundation, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Shelter. Beth is current chair of the Housing Studies Association, book reviews editor for the international journal Housing Studies and a board non-executive director of the Rock Trust.

Research Interests

  • Homelessness and youth homelessnessRough sleeping and complex needsSocial housing and security of tenureWelfare conditionalityPolitical and moral philosophy and their application in social policy

Contact Details

Email: b.watts@hw.ac.uk
Picture of Dr Patricio Troncoso

Dr Patricio Troncoso

Dr Patricio Troncoso is a Research Associate at I-SPHERE (Institute for Social Policy, Housing and Equalities Research), Heriot-Watt University. Patricio is currently working in the “Understanding children’s lives and outcomes” strand of the ESRC-funded Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR).

Patricio is an applied statistician with a background in Sociology and Public Policy. His research focuses on a range of children’s outcomes and experiences, including educational inequalities in attainment, school behaviour and attendance, school value-added, social care and protection, mental health as well as social and emotional learning and development.

Before joining I-SPHERE in 2021, Patricio worked at the Manchester Institute of Education and the Department of Social Statistics at the University of Manchester (2016-2020), where he also gained his PhD in Social Statistics (2015).

Research Interests

  • Educational inequalities
  • Child protection
  • Child development
  • chool value-added
  • Quantitative methods

Contact details

Email: p.troncoso@hw.ac.uk
Picture of Dr Filip Sosenko

Dr Filip Sosenko

Dr Filip Sosenko is a Research Fellow at I-SPHERE (Institute for Social Policy, Housing and Equalities Research), Heriot-Watt University. His research focuses on destitution, foodbanks, homelessness and ‘complex needs’. A sociologist and methodologist by background, Filip has advanced statistical analysis skills but also frequently uses qualitative research methods, on which he wrote his doctoral dissertation. He has contributed to several influential research reports, including ‘Destitution in the UK’ for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Hard Edges: Mapping Severe and Multiple Disadvantage in England’ for the Lankelly Chase Foundation and ‘Review of Scottish Welfare Fund Interim Scheme’ for the Scottish Government.

Filip is currently principal investigator on the largest-ever study of foodbank users in the UK (for the Trussell Trust) and is also leading on a gendered analysis of ‘severe and multiple disadvantage in England’ for the Lankelly Chase Foundation. He is also involved in a study of ‘severe and multiple disadvantage in Scot.

Research Interests

  • Severe Poverty/destitution
  • Homelessness
  • Foodbanks
  • Complex needs
  • Adverse childhood experiences

Contact Details

Email: f.sosenko@hw.ac.uk
Picture of Dr Janice Blenkinsopp

Dr Janice Blenkinsopp

Dr Janice Blenkinsopp gained her PHD from Heriot Watt University in 2017 and has been working as research associate with the I-SPHERE team since 2014, contributing to many significant research projects including Destitution in the UK.

Research Interests

  • Housing and Social Policy
  • Social Security
  • Welfare Reform
  • Welfare Regimes
  • Inequalities
  • Homelessness

Contact Details

Email: j.blenkinsopp@hw.ac.uk
Picture of Sam Thomas

Sam Thomas

Sam Thomas is a senior research fellow at I-SPHERE. He leads our collaboration with the Hunter Foundation and the Scottish Government, which is examining the impact of innovative, relational and capability-based responses to poverty and disadvantage across Scotland.

Sam previously led work influencing government at Making Every Adult Matter, a coalition of charities working to address multiple disadvantage. He has also worked at the Health Foundation, where he led the development of Common Ambition, a £2.1 million funding programme supporting partnerships of people, families, health care professionals and researchers to work together to improve health care. He has also held positions at the RSA and the University of Leeds.

Sam’s research interests include homelessness prevention, substance misuse and mental health policy and participatory approaches to policymaking. He was a 2016-17 Crook Public Service Fellowship at the University of Sheffield.
Picture of Dr Dan Hope

Dr Dan Hope

Dan Hope is a research associate at I-SPHERE. He works on our collaborative project with the Hunter Foundation and the Scottish Government, which is examining the impact of innovative, relational and capability-based responses to poverty and disadvantage across Scotland.

Dan completed his PhD in sociology at Edinburgh University in 2019. His doctoral thesis investigated nurses’ discourses of care in the context of nursing’s ‘professionalisation’ and role expansion. Before joining I-SPHERE, he worked as a research officer with the Scottish Government where he facilitated a longitudinal co-design project; working with social security clients to create a ‘measurement framework’ to assess the implementation of the commitments in Scotland’s social security charter.

Dan’s research interests include person-centred approaches to service provision, the sociology of organizations and professions, and discourse analysis.


Charter Measurement Framework – Co-design process  
PhD Thesis 
Participatory Budgeting evaluation 
Picture of Dr Toriqul Bashar

Dr Toriqul Bashar

Toriqul Bashar is a research associate with I-SPHERE.  Tori has undertaken a series of international research predominately in Bangladesh and India on issues affecting people living in extreme poverty and on addressing housing supply and provision.

Research Interests

  • Urban Poverty
  • Affordable Housing
  • Applied Economics
  • Social Policy
Picture of Jill McIntyre

Jill McIntyre

Jill is project coordinator at I-SPHERE.

Jill supports the team across a range of research projects with the majority of her time on our partnership project with the Oak Foundation which aims to increase the number of quality researchers and improve evidence based practice in the field of Housing and Homelessness.

Jill has a wealth of experience in public policy, evaluation and research. Prior to joining I-SPHERE in 2017, Jill’s roles included freelance consultancy, Policy and Research manager at sportscotland, Private Secretary and Policy Advisor at the Home Office.

Contact details

Email: J.McIntyre@hw.ac.uk
Telephone: 0131 451 8366