Dr Peter Matthews

Peter Matthews

Department: Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, Faculty of Social Sciences

Role: Deputy Associate Dean for Research

Research interests: I am interested in how public services can exacerbate or ameliorate poverty and socio-economic inequalities. Over the past seven years, my research in this area has been particularly focused on LGBT+ people.

Why do you think a positive research culture is important?

I believe a positive research culture is important for pragmatic and moral reasons. The pragmatic reason is that the evidence is clear that a positive research culture produces sustainable research success in terms of research funding and outcomes. The moral imperative is that work should always be a positive place to be.

What aspects of research culture are most important to you?

I think a research culture has to be supportive and challenging. It is easy for research conversations in a supportive culture to just end up being about nice ideas, but there does also have to be a constructive challenge to turn those into actual research projects and outputs. A research culture must also be inclusive, and in doing so recognise that inclusion is a difficult, messy thing to do with lots of difficult decisions, trade-offs and arguments to be had.

Can you give an example of an action you have taken to improve research culture?

Ensure the inclusion of research fellows in UoA20 in the REF2021 when I noticed a particular part of the Panel C guidance on these staff had been overlooked by the REF manager. 

What is something that you personally would like to do next to improve research culture?

Restart some stalled careers among colleagues who are mid-career T&R staff.