Social & Policy

Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research

The Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research (CMI) is a centre for excellence in quantitative social science. Their work contributes to advancing quantitative social science in three key ways. Firstly, they are actively engaged in developing new methods and forms of data for conducting quantitative social science research. Second, they apply new and established quantitative methods to answer major substantive social and political research questions. Finally they offer extensive training and capacity building to help the academic and non-academic community make the best use of quantitative methods and data to conduct their own research.

The Institute environment is a highly inter-disciplinary and vibrant one, bringing together scholars from a range of social science disciplines including sociology, politics, health and criminology. Their core research projects investigate a range of important societal problems such as the causes and consequences of social and ethnic inequalities, the drivers and barriers to wider civic and political participation and the ethical and practical challenges that new forms of data bring to social research. Their core mission is to offer innovative and rigorous empirical answers to contemporary social and political problems, and to empower others to do the same.

Lead Reseachers in Data Science at the Cathie Marsh Institute:

Professor Rachel Gibson

Rachel is the Director of the Cathie Marsh Institute and works on quantitative social science along with other social statistical researchers. Her research interests include new media, political parties, election campaigning and citizens’ online participation and the use of new media by political organisations and candidates in campaigns and elections. Rachel has led several projects examining the impact of the Internet on political parties, campaigns and voters funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Australian Research Council (ARC). She led the internet component of the 2015 British Election Study (BES) which undertook to merge survey responses with social media tracking data. She has also been a PI/Co-I on the Australian Election Study since 2001 and co-directs the Australian Candidate Study. She is on the Peer Review College of the ESRC and has reviews for a range of funding bodies including the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy.

Professor Mark Elliot

Mark Elliot has worked at the University of Manchester since 1996, where he currently holds a chair in data science. His research is focused on the topics of data privacy and anonymisation. He founded the international recognised Confidentiality and Privacy Research Group (CAPRI) in 2002, and has run numerous research projects within the CAPRI remit. He leads the UK Anonymisation Network and the University's CDT on Data Analytics and Society. Mark collaborates widely with non-academic partners, particularly with national statistical agencies (e.g. Office for National Statistics, US Bureau of the Census, Australian Bureau of Statistics) where he has been a key influence on disclosure control methodology used in censuses and surveys and where the SUDA software developed in collaboration with colleagues in Computer Science in Manchester is currently employed. Aside from Confidentiality and Privacy his research interests include the Psychology and Sociology of Personal Relationships. 

Dr Kingsley Purdam

Kingsley is an expert in public consultation including public policy making and consultation methods. He has successfully completed a range of national research projects across challenging social policy areas working both in the public and private sector. He has successfully completed and published consultancy and research on behalf of: the Electoral Commission, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Home Office, the Department for Trade and Industry, the Department for Work and Pensions, the National Assembly for Wales, the European Union, the International Labour Organisation and numerous local authorities and charities.