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Speaker biographies

Professor Jon Bannister

Jon Bannister FAcSS is Professor of Criminology in the Department of Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University (United Kingdom), where he directs the Manchester Metropolitan Crime and Well-Being Big Data Centre (BDC).  Established in 2016, the BDC is a cross-faculty multi-disciplinary initiative that seeks to deliver world-class theoretically driven, methodologically innovative and empirically rich and impactful research. The BDC has established a wealth of partnerships with public sector agencies across the region and nationally. 

Jon holds research expertise in urban criminology, policing, evidence-based policy, advanced quantitative methods and knowledge mobilisation (inclusive of co-production). His research examines the interplay between urban processes (whether structural transformations or the daily rhythms of the city) and urban inequalities (crime and disorder).  

Jon is Managing Editor of Urban Studies journal and Visiting Professor at the University of Wuhan (China).


Professor Cristina Iannelli

Cristina Iannelli is Professor of Education and Social Stratification in the Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh and Research Lead in the Institute for Education, Community & Society in the same School.

She is Co-Director of the Understanding Inequalities project.  From 2013 to 2017 she was Co-director of the ESRC-funded centre AQMeN (Applied Quantitative Methods Network) in the University of Edinburgh and within the centre she led the ‘Education and Social Stratification’ research strand which involved collaborators from Scotland, Ireland, Germany and the US.

Her main research interests are: social inequalities in education, social mobility, youth transitions, cross-country comparative analysis and advanced quantitative research methods. Cristina has extensive research experience as leader and co-investigator of several national and international research projects. She was the principal investigator of the ESRC project Education and Social Mobility in Scotland in the 20th Century which provided an up-to-date picture of social mobility patterns in Scotland.

After this study she was awarded a three-year ESRC Research Fellowship on The Role of Educational Structure and Content in the Process of Social Mobility and more recently funding from the Scottish Funding Council for the project Beyond access to HE: Widening Access Initiatives and Student  Retention.


Professor Susan McVie

Susan is Director of the Understanding Inequalities project.  She is also Co-Director of the Administrative Data Research Centre in Scotland; Co-Director of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime; and a founding member of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.  From 2009-2017, she was Director of the Applied Quantitative Methods Network (AQMeN).

Susan is an expert in advanced quantitative methods and the bulk of her research involves using large-scale, crime and justice-related survey and administrative datasets.  Her current interests include research into: crime patterns, trends and inequalities in the context of the crime drop in Scotland; youth crime and juvenile justice; criminal careers through the life-course; patterns of violence and homicide; youth gangs and knife crime; policing and crime reduction; stop and search; and police use of biometric data.

Susan received (with Professor Lesley McAra) the Howard League for Penal Reform Research Medal in 2013 and the University of Edinburgh’s Chancellor’s Award for Impact from HRH Princess Anne in 2016.  She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2014 and received an OBE for services to social science in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List in 2016. In July 2019, together with Professor Lesley McAra, she was awarded the ESRC Impact prize for Outstanding Public Policy for their work on the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime.


Professor Gwilym Pryce

Gwilym Pryce is Professor of Urban Economics and Social Statistics at the University of Sheffield. He holds a joint appointment in the Sheffield Methods Institute and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield. Gwilym is Co-Director of the ESRC Understanding Inequalities project, Director of the Advanced Quantitative Methods pathway of the White Rose DTC and is the Sheffield Director of the £6m ESRC CDT in New Forms of Data which spans social science, engineering, health, law and computer science.

He was formerly: (i) Founding Director of the £1.6m Glasgow Q-Step Centre, (ii) Associate Director of the £10m Urban Big Data Centre, (iii) Co-Director of the £4m ESRC AQMeN Centre; (iv) Founding Director of the Sheffield Methods Institute, and (vi) Glasgow PI on the £1.6m EPSRC CREW project. In these various roles, Gwilym has worked across a variety of inter-disciplinary areas including the socio-economic impacts of climate change, urban segregation and inequality, urban economics, and housing supply. He has also worked closely with policy makers and stakeholders including membership on the Defra Economic Advisory Panel and the DCLG Expert Panel on Housing Markets and Planning; and has been an academic consultant to HM Treasury and the Financial Services Authority.

His current research interests are primarily in social segregation and the impacts of neighbourhoods on the life outcomes.


Professor Mike Savage

Mike Savage is Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics, where he is also Director of the International Inequalities Institute, one of the world’s premier centres for research and teaching, focusing on the contemporary challenge of inequality.
He has long standing interests in the study of class and inequality, especially recognising the cultural processes involved in class divisions. His work with the BBC on the Great British Class Survey was widely discussed and led to the book ‘Social Class in the 21st Century’.

His new book ‘The challenge of inequality: social change and the weight of history’ will be published by Harvard University Press in 2020.


Professor Ingrid Schoon

Ingrid Schoon is Prof. of Human Development and Social Policy at University College London, Institute of Education. She is currently President of the Society for Longitudinal and Lifecourse Studies. She is a Fellow of the British Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) and the Social Science Centre (WZB) in Berlin.  She is member of the scientific advisory board for the German Youth Institute (DJI), the Swiss Longitudinal Study on ‘Transition from Education to Employment)´(TREE); the ‘Growing up in Ireland’ Longitudinal Study; the German Family Panel PAIRFAM (“Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics”); and 'Growing up in Germany' (AID:A).

Her research focuses on the study of risk and resilience, in particular during the transition from dependent childhood to independent adulthood, asking 1) to what extent and how do social conditions, in particular socio-economic adversity, affect individual thinking, feeling and behaviour; 2) to what extent and in what circumstances can individuals succeed against the odds and steer their own life course?; and 3) what can be done to improve the life chances of the most vulnerable? Her studies are guided by a socio-ecological developmental systems approach, mapping human development over time and in context using longitudinal data.


Professor Patrick Sharkey

Patrick Sharkey is Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Sharkey holds a PhD in Sociology and Social Policy from Harvard University and was previously Chair of the Department of Sociology at New York University. He is the author of Uneasy Peace: The Great Crime Decline, The Renewal of City Life, and the Next War on Violence, focusing on how the decline of violent crime has affected urban life and urban inequality in America. His first book, Stuck in Place: Urban Neighbourhoods and the End of Progress Toward Racial Equality, received the Mirra Komarovsky Award for the best book of the year from the Eastern Sociological Society, the Otis Dudley Duncan Award from the American Sociological Association, and The American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence in Sociology and Social Work. He served as Scientific Director of Crime Lab, New York, and is the founder of AmericanViolence.org 

Professor Emer Smyth

Emer Smyth is a Research Professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in Dublin, Ireland and is adjunct Professor of Sociology at Trinity College, Dublin. She has published extensively on her main research interests of education, school to work transitions, gender and comparative methodology.

She has conducted a number of studies looking at young people’s experiences of the schooling system and the factors shaping their post-school transitions, publishing Students’ Experiences and Perspectives on Secondary Education (Palgrave Macmillan) based on a decade-long mixed methods longitudinal study in 2016. A central theme of her work has been educational inequality and she has published a number of studies examining the school and individual factors influencing early school leaving and exam underperformance. She is on the management team of the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) study and has used GUI data to look at arts and cultural participation among children and young people, spatial variation in child outcomes and the transition into primary school. She is currently leading an evaluation of Youthreach, a second-chance programme for early school leavers in Ireland.