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About the Blog

This blog is a partnership between two research institutes at Heriot-Watt University: Institute for Social Policy, Housing, and Equalities Research (I-SPHERE), and The Urban Institute (TUI). We cover a wide range of topics related to the research specialities of our staff, and postgraduate research students. We aim to provide a platform for evidence-based debate and discussion, including by publishing details of our joint seminar series to which all are welcome. Below is information about each Institute.



Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick

The Institute for Social Policy, Housing, and Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) is among the UK’s top social and urban policy research centres. Led by Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, the Institute also includes internationally renowned professors: Glen Bramley, Chris Leishman and Sarah Johnsen.

In our joint submission with the University of Edinburgh we were ranked first in Scotland and second in the UK on the comprehensive Research Power indicator in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. This indicator reflects size, scope and quality of research.

I-SPHERE members have a robust track record of externally funded research, including research council and charitable funding as well as commissions from a wide range of government departments and agencies throughout the UK and beyond. Strong scholarship credentials are evident in the Institute’s publication record. Over the last 5 years, the Institute produced 6 research-based books and almost 100 refereed journal articles.

To find out more about the Institute please contact us or take a look at our recent blog posts.

Institute for Social Policy, Housing, and Equalities Research

William Arrol Building

Heriot Watt University

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK EH14 4AS



Professor Mark Stephens

The Urban Institute was founded in August 2016, and Professor Mark Stephens was appointed its Director in December 2016.

TUI’s mission is to generate and share, through research and teaching, knowledge that contributes to creating sustainable, resilient and just cities.

Our research focuses on three broad areas:

  • Housing systems and real estate
  • Planning, infrastructure and urban design
  • Urban inequalities, poverty and well-being

Urban Institute staff raised more than £800,000 in research funding over the period 2012-16. Three-quarters of this funding came from the charitable sector and research councils. You can access our publications and staff here. We also have a thriving community of more than 30 Doctoral Students.

We are one of the universities that form the new ESRC Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence, and The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accredit our undergraduate and post-graduate planning and real estate degrees. The National Student Survey (NSS) ranked our undergraduate degrees fourth in the UK and first in Scotland, and The Guardian’s “league table” placed our undergraduate degrees second in the UK after Cambridge and ahead of University College London. We are currently developing a new Geography undergraduate degree, which will begin in 2018.

The Urban Institute

William Arrol Building

Heriot Watt University

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK EH14 4AS

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