Celebrating SPA’s 2020 Award Winners

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

As with so many things, 2020’s SPA Awards looked a little different from usual. This year, we weren’t able to give out these awards at our usual Annual Conference dinner. However the whole Executive Committee agreed that it was important not to miss the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the wider social policy community in a year where, for most, there hasn’t been much to celebrate.

We met instead via Zoom, and over 50 members still joined to hear the Awards announced, as well as a welcome from our President Baroness Ruth Lister, who gave out the following, well-deserved awards.

Policy Press Outstanding Teaching Award

This prize recognises excellence in social policy teaching and is given to nominees who have made a significant and valuable contribution to the development of innovative practice in teaching

  • WINNER: the University of Glasgow Social and Public Policy teaching team, led by Dr Mark Wong


Excellence in Doctoral Research Award

This prize, awarded for an SPA conference paper by a doctoral student, recognises excellence in doctoral research such as the study of interesting and novel questions; the application of novel theoretical or methodological approaches; the use of innovative methods of enquiry; the general contribution to the advancement of understanding in social policy

  • WINNER: Chloe Alexander, University of Birmingham, for her paper “Localising policy-making on young carers: learning from an ethnography of children’s care work and family life


Public Understanding of Social Policy Award

This award recognises nominees who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of social policy, through campaigning, lobbying, service provision, fundraising, journalism, funding of research, dissemination of research, engagement with social policy research; or through other non-academic means.

  • WINNER: Baron (Frank) Field of Birkenhead, for his huge and lasting contribution to social policy in the UK as a campaigner, parliamentarian, and writer.

The Richard Titmuss Book Award

Dr Jackie Gulland with her award and the prize-winning book

This award recognises a general contribution to the advancement of the understanding of social policy through the publication of scholarly works in the form of single or co-authored monographs.



Cambridge University Press Awards for Excellence in Social Policy Scholarship – Journal of Social Policy and Social Policy & Society

These awards recognise excellence in social policy scholarship that challenges the boundaries of existing understanding and that engages the interest of the respective journals’ readership; nominated were publications from the year 2019, shortlisted by members of the SPA Executive Committee.

Outstanding Achievement in Social Policy Award

Professor Jane Millar with her award

This award recognises the achievement of academics within and outside of the UK who are acknowledged to have made an outstanding and sustained contribution to advancing social policy scholarship – in the form of a sustained contribution to scholarship, understanding and/or learning; a sustained impact on political process or discourse through advisory or consultancy work; and by securing esteem measured in terms of leadership within the discipline

  • WINNER: Jane Millar, Professor of Social Policy at the Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath


The nomination process for next year’s awards will be announced in early 2021.