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Our Research

One of the primary aims of the Centre for Social Policy is to generate knowledge and evidence to inform policy formation and implementation, locally, nationally and internally.

If you would like to find out more about our research, please contact Dr Palash Kamruzzaman

Research areas

Policy Challenges towards Rohingya Crisis in Bangladesh The Role of National Development Experts

This research is based on the findings of a pilot study jointly convened by Dr Bulbul Siddiqi (North South University, Bangladesh), and Dr Palash Kamruzzaman (University of South Wales, UK). The study extends Dr Kamruzzaman’s idea of National Development Experts (NDEs) and apply in a practical policy context, namely the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh.

Based on 25 qualitative interviews with development professionals working on Rohingya issues, this paper explores to what extent NDEs can play a meaningful role in resolving this crisis. 

Evidence presented in this paper suggests that a nonchalant non-responsive practice limits the role of experts towards finding a dignified solution to the crisis. Additionally, for the NDEs, as opposed to international experts, the space is further confined. Dr Siddiqi and Dr Kamruzzaman contend that the lack of an evidence-based policy culture further complicates the Rohingya crisis as locally derived expertise is often ignored in policy recommendations when seeking a durable yet dignified solution to the Rohingya crisis.

Download the full report: ‘Policy Challenges towards Rohingya Crisis in Bangladesh The Role of National Development Experts’ 


Rohingya camp i Bangladesh

Dr Palash Kamruzzaman led a British Academy funded project (with Professor Ali Wardak and Professor Kate Williams of the Centre for Criminology) to explore the experiences of violence and loss of dignity among the Rohingyas in Bangladesh and Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Afghanistan. 

This project aimed  to contribute to a more in-depth and nuanced understanding of some of the world’s poorest, most excluded and victimised groups of people: the Rohingyas in Bangladesh and Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Afghanistan.

Professor Steve Smith was commissioned by the British Academy to complete the following report: S.R. Smith (2019) The Childhood Policy Landscape in Wales: A Case Study - for the British Academy ‘Reframing Childhood and The Childhood Policy Programme’

Major factors driving policymaking and outcomes relating to children policy have been identified under three main headings: political, economic, and socio-cultural. Through these wide lenses, significant policy initiatives, as captured in the policy chronologies, have been identified and discussed, highlighting the ways in which Wales is developing distinctive policies within the UK. These initiatives include, for example, the focus on promoting universal children’s rights underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC); the implementation of extensive reforms of the school curriculum and assessment regimes; the enactment of wide ranging legislation designed to enhance well-being of Welsh citizens including children; and the on-going application of a WG child poverty strategy to tackle material and other inequalities across Wales. 

It is via these policy initiatives, that overarching themes and constraints on policy goals and objectives are also identified and explored. These concern, for example, identifying potential mismatches between WG policy intention and practice, highlighting conflicts and tensions within and between WG policy goals, and identifying data / research gaps for informing policy development. 

Finally, in the light of this analysis, the case-study identifies broad areas of reflection concerning the future direction of childhood policy in Wales, concerning, for example, the increasingly complex relationship emerging between the ‘rights’ of children as distinct from ‘duties’ to children, and the subsequent distinction and overlap between defining children as citizens, and adults as citizens.

The Centre for Criminology has a well-established interest in youth justice research, probation, custody and vulnerability (Williams, Wardak, Deering, Evans and Pierpoint).  There is particular emphasis on how research findings can be applied to policy and practice in such areas as desistance, diversion, children’s rights, restorative justice and homelessness.  

Dr Roiyah Saltus’ research is rooted in a clear commitment to social justice, participatory methods and the positioning as central the voices, experiences and knowledge generation  of marginalised, migrant and minority ethnic people, groups and communities. 

Over the last decade Dr Saltus has worked on a number of studies linked to relational dimensions of wellbeing, including  studies exploring  role of leisure, place, community and migration in shaping manifestations of wellbeing, belonging and life satisfaction. Dr Saltus' projects include qualitative and mixed-methods studies on understandings of dignity, and on experiences and expectations of care, drawing on the perspectives of older Caribbean migrants (men and women) in a localised context, and on the perspectives of older women from a range of minority ethnic backgrounds, alongside the surveyed findings of community-based social care and support professionals across Wales.

Studies completed include an ESRC funded study Go Home: Mapping the unfolding controversy of Home Office immigration campaigns, an 18-month, multi-site, interdisciplinary research project that explored the impact on local communities and national debate of current publicity campaigns about migration by the UK Home Office. 

Representing Communities: developing the creative power of people to improve health and wellbeing (July 2013 to July 2017) was a large multi-site project funded by AHRC exploring how community representations produced through creative-arts practices can be used as forms of evidence to inform health-related policy and service development. Dr Saltus led on the Representing Butetown work package and the focus was on the leisure pursuits, physical endeavours and creative activities of older people, with a focus on individual as well as collective wellbeing (behaviours, expectations and representations). This work has led to the securing of two funded PhD studentships exploring the role of leisure as linked to wellbeing, and understanding of loneliness for older migrant population groups in Wales. 

With a long-term commitment to addressing the priorities of the voluntary and community sector in Wales, Dr Saltus’ consultancies include: 

  • an analysis of Ethnic Minorities & Youth Support Team (EYST) for a series on the impact of COVID-19 on BME communities in Wales (2020)
  • an evaluation of the ‘Tiger Bay Tales’  Heritage Lottery Funded Project for the  Wales Millennium Centre (2013) 
  • o-producing a research strategy to underpin Diverse Cymru’s Mental Health Programme for BME people in Wales (2012).

Dr Jennifer Law's recent research has focused on the Well-being of Future Generations Act in Wales and explored what it might mean in relation to public service values and collaboration between health and local government.

One element of this has been research which concentrated on public health in Wales.  Although there has always been collaboration in this policy area the Act has  introduced a legal requirement for organisations to operate in this way and to work towards shared outcomes such as ' A healthier Wales'. This research has examined some examples of collaborative work that has taken place as a result of the act and this evidence suggests that although the Act could drive ‘systems change’, it is too early to identify any impact on public health outcomes. 

Another strand of this project is research that has evaluated the Welsh governments' attempt to create a shared set of values amongst public servants in Wales. It explores these values in relation to the 'new ways of working brought in by the Well-being of Future Generations Act and concludes that these elements are complementary.  Values are an important aspect of public service work but research shows that other factors such as leadership and cultural change are also vital. 

Professor Steve Smith over the past five to seven years has been working on a number of research projects applying the philosophy of well-being to various issues relating to social policy and welfare practice. These projects have culminated in a book-length research monograph, having completed a first draft, which he will hopefully publish in 2022. The book has a provisional title, Well-Being and the Human Condition: Conflicting Experiences of Time, Emotion, and Self-Consciousness in Social Policy and Welfare Practice. 

Professor Smith has been working with colleagues in the Wales School for Social Prescribing Research (WSSPR) who are developing a tool to measure social well-being in the context of social prescribing in GP practices, and other health settings. 

The WSSPR is also part of the Wales Centre for Emergency and Primary Care Research (PRIME Centre Wales) which partners with a number of other Welsh Universities and is funded by Health and Care Research Wales. Professor Steve Smith is a member of the management executive team of PRIME which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Wales and internationally, through undertaking high quality research on topics of national policy priority.

Professor Steve Smith is the Head of the Well-Being Research Network in WISERD, is an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded large research centre, which partners with a number of other Welsh Universities. 

One of his areas of focus will be to champion and encourage interdisciplinary research, applying well-being research from social and political philosophy, social policy, sociology, economics, social geography, political science, psychology, and the health sciences.

Dr Filippos Proedrou's research into energy security and geopolitics includes oil and gas and extends to renewables, and global climate policy. His recent research explores the transition to low-carbon energy systems - the pivotal political economy issue for the EU as it stands in the nexus of energy, politics and markets.  His research also aims to critically discuss the trade-offs involved in the roll-out of smart grids and the existent barriers. 

Outputs include

Are smart grids the key to EU energy security? In R. Leal-Arcas and J. Wouters (eds). Research Handbook for EU Energy Law And Policy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2017, pp. 450-459

Prosumers: New actors in EU energy security (μαζί με Rafael Leal-Arcas and Feja Lesniewska). In F. Amtenbrink, D. Prévost and R. Wessel (eds.), Netherlands Yearbook of International Law: Shifting Forms and Levels of Cooperation in International Economic Law: Structural Developments in Trade, Investment and Financial Regulation, vol. 48, 2017, pp. 139-171.  

Smart grids in the European Union: Assessing energy security, regulation & social and ethical considerations (μαζί με Rafael Leal-Arcas and Feja Lesniewska), Columbia Journal of European Law, vol. 24, no. 2, 2018. This research provides an analysis of smart grids in the European Union (EU) as a way forward to reach sustainable energy. 

Legislation, Business Models and Social Aspects (together with R. Leal-Arcas et al.). WiseGRID Report, 2018, pp. 1-249. This report discusses the impact that the project will have on energy security as well as social and ethical considerations that ought to underpin projects of this nature. 

Energy Policy and Security under Climate Change. Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan, 2018 . This book raises the trilemma between growth, energy security and climate change mitigation and, breaking from scholarly orthodoxy, challenges the imperative to growth. It sets forth the argument that a steady-state approach is a more appropriate conceptual mindset to lead the energy transition, sets out a steady-state energy policy, and assesses the projected outcomes of its implementation in the realms of energy security, geopolitics and development. 

Anthropocene geopolitics and foreign policy: Exploring the link in the EU case, Alternatives, vol. 45, no. 2, 2020, pp. 83-101. Scholarly literature has recently developed the notions of Anthropocene geopolitics and planetary security. How these relate to and whether they inform states’ foreign policy, however, remains a largely underdeveloped issue. This research goes some way toward addressing this gap. 

Behind the EU’s energy-climate policy conundrum: Erroneous power toolbox, deadlocks and the way forward, Journal of Common Market Studies, vol. 58, no. 2, 2020, pp. 402-418. This research explores  EU energy and climate policy through the prism of multidimensional power.

Contesting Greek gas policy: Geopolitical, energy and climate considerations, International Spectator, vol. 54, no. 2, 2019, pp. 87-101 Three main drivers underlie states’ intent to expand gas supply: energy security, geopolitics and climate goals. Such considerations also drive Greece’s expansive gas policy, but come with significant caveats. 

Unpacking EU external energy governance vis-a-vis Egypt: Contradictions, geopolitics and Euro-centrism, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, vol. 27, no. 2, 2019, pp. 224-236. Energy diplomacy, regulation of the single energy market and the export of this regulatory model to EU’s vicinity govern EU energy affairs. This governance nexus, however, suffers from three distinct shortcomings. This research paper addresses these in the context of EU external energy governance vis-à-vis Egypt. 

Dr Filippos Proedrou has been a 2019 Academic Fellow with the National Assembly for Wales, conducting research and providing expert advice to the Climate Change, Environment, and Rural Affairs Committee in regards to Wales' climate policy and decarbonisation plans.

His research Addressing the climate policy gap in Wales is based on a thorough scrutiny of the Welsh political and climate policy context and existing legislative framework, the work of the National Assembly for Wales Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee, the Welsh Government’s related policy documents, including the most recent Prosperity for All: A low carbon Wales, And the UK Committee on Climate Change advice and reports, including the very recent Report Net Zero: The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming.

The report contributes insights and conceptualisations of the climate change challenge and its interaction with other key political and policy priorities, and sources evidence and best practices from around the world. 

The report elaborates on the co-benefits of an ambitious climate policy, and provides ample evidence and global best practices that can be utilised in Wales. It also discusses Welsh climate policy within the broader growth paradigm Wales follows, and sets out different energy transition pathways. 

The report also qualifies the need for an energy company for Wales, and delineates the role and the tasks it could play, and looks into the potential for rendering the Zone Demarcation Scheme more engaging with local communities/ citizens. It also points at a number of implications Brexit can bear for Welsh climate policy.

Professor Howard Williamson_14268.jpg

Professor Howard Williamson has been closely involved in youth research and youth policy.  He has provided wide-ranging policy advice at many levels of governance from the Welsh government level to the United Nations. Professor Williamson’s research on youth policy revolve around a number of areas including education, vocational training and employment, health, and criminal justice.  

In recent years, his focus has been more specifically on the European institutions: the European Commission and the Council of Europe, and the Partnership between them in the field of youth.  Between 1997 and 2016, he co-ordinated youth policy reviews of 21 European countries, authoring three volumes capturing the salient issues emerging from them.  He was also involved in ‘advisory missions’ to a number of member states of the Council of Europe.  He helped to draft the Council of Europe youth sector strategy 2030, launched in January 2020.  Most recently, he has co-edited and co-authored a manual on youth policy from a European perspective.

Key publications

Howard-Williamson at the 3rd European Youth Work Convention Dec 2020

Over the past ten years, Professor Howard Williamson has contributed to research on the history of youth work in Europe organising research seminars and co-editing seven volumes published by the Council of Europe.  The editing process has involved considerable writing collaboration with many contributors for whom English is rarely a first language.

Professor Williamson has served as the rapporteur-general for three successive European Youth Work Conventions (2010, 2015, 2020), providing position papers – Finding Common Ground, and Cornerstone Challenges for European Youth Work and Youth Work in Europe – respectively, for the last two Conventions.  After the 2nd Convention in 2015, he co-edited a key text on youth work in Europe.  At the end of 2020, he prepared the final declaration of the 3rd Convention, ‘Signposts for the Future’.

Key publications

Some of the key questions in policy studies include ‘who makes policy’, ‘for whom’ and ‘whose interests and agendas are served during the process of policymaking’? Often, polices are made through a top-down process, where the elites and powerful make various policies with stated aims of promoting socio-economic benefits for all including socially excluded marginal groups within the society. For a long time, participation, especially from the poor and marginalised groups, has been excluded in making policies. However, participatory policymaking is now an established field in social science. 

Dr Palash Kamruzzaman explores in his research to what extent wider participation in the processes of policymaking can actually ensure the stated aims actually benefit the poor and marginalised people? Why participation in some cases are used as a pre-condition for policymaking, to legitimise or validate the top-down agenda, as a tokenistic gesture for inclusive policymaking, or to empower the people who are generally excluded and usually do not have a voice in this process?

Key publications

Dr Roiyah Saltus

Dr Roiyah Saltus' current work includes  studies directly exploring the impact of wellbeing policy and national strategies on people, organisations and care systems. This work includes being a steering group member and contributing to written outputs for the Measuring the Mountain project, a study led by USW colleagues. Funded by Welsh Government and forming part of their work to understand the early impact of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, this project captured people's experiences of using care and support services and of being an unpaid carer in Wales to better understand what things are really like for people day-to-day, with outputs including two citizens juries. 

Dr Saltus is an active steering group member on  another study funded by the Welsh Government, and has contributed to publications in the area of voice and control. The evaluation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 will deliver an independent assessment of the implementation of the Act. Also led by colleagues within the Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care (WIHSC), the study  is examining how the Act has affected the well-being of people who need care and support, and their carers.

Dr Saltus currently sits on two advisory groups set up by the First Minister in 2020: The Slave Trade and the British Empire - An Audit of Commemoration in Wales Task and Finish Group, and the COVID-19 Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Socio-economic Sub-Group.  In both cases the groups comprise a host of stakeholder representatives who have come together to pool their experiences, expertise and knowledge in order to address  pressing concerns of citizens - in this case the global pandemic and the global rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement – in order to  shape a government and Welsh policy response.

Dr Palash Kamruzzaman

The landscape of international development is dominated by the discourses and narratives of the Western donors. Most frequently, donor countries/organisations shape and dictate the agenda of development for the aid recipient countries. In this process, the scholars and experts from the western countries play some important roles brokering, cultivating, transferring, and producing development in the global South. But is development expertise racially blind? There is an emerging genre of reflexive literature, often described as ‘aid-ethnographies’, assesses the effectiveness of aid and development through the lenses of Western/International experts of development. 

In this context, Dr Palash Kamruzzaman has coined a new term National Development Experts (NDEs) in understanding the roles, motivations, and agencies of the development experts who are based in and work for their countries of origin. Dr Kamruzzaman’s research reveals that without the views of the NDEs, existing ethnographies of aid will only depict a partial picture, like colonial ethnographies.

Key publications


My research interests cover displacement, economic migration, livelihood transition, and climate change adaptation. My works are inspired by theoretical frameworks in political ecology, sustainability and empirical knowledge on multifaceted nature of human diversity and resilience.

Research Areas:

  • Economic Migration
  • Displacement/Forced Migration
  • Livelihood Transition
  • Environmental Degradations

Current Project: Unpacking the magnitude and heterogeneity of the impacts of reverse migration in environmentally vulnerable locations in Bangladesh.

Funder: USW FBCI ECR Research Grant

Conference Paper

Kabir, M. E. (2023) "Unpacking the magnitude and heterogeneity of the impacts of reverse migration in environmentally vulnerable locations in Bangladesh" (DSA Conference Paper Link)

Key Publications

*Please visit USW online profile to see my publication details

Global development goals such as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) make reduction/eradication of extreme poverty as one of their headlining goals and objectives. This is a noble goal indeed. But, how is extreme poverty measured? Apparent catchy ideas such as $1 a day poverty line may sound simple but these are notoriously tricky and often beyond the comprehension of most people without a specialist knowledge in economics (mainly because the $1 a day definition (and updated versions $1.90/day) is based on purchasing power parity value). 

Dr Palash Kamruzzaman’s works focus on how the poor people themselves, whose conditions the global development architects want to improve, make of current definitions of extreme poverty and what implications these views may have for the global development goals.

Key publications

Prof Howard Williamson, The Milltown Boys 2021

Beyond his European research and policy work, Professor Howard Williamson has sustained his longitudinal ethnographic study of the ‘Milltown Boys’, about whom he first published in 1978.  Just short of 50 years after first meeting them, he has written a third book about their lives.

Key publications