Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby

Research Professor of Social Policy
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Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby


Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Founding Academician at the Academy of Social Sciences and, previously, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Sociology and Social Policy Section. 


'COVID-19 and the UK Welfare State: where next for the post-pandemic welfare state provision?' Professor Taylor-Gooby delivered the Centenary Sidney Ball Lecture for the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford on 12 November 2020.


Professor Taylor-Gooby chaired the REF 2014 Social Work and Social Policy and Administration panel and the corresponding RAE 2008 Panel. He won the University of Kent Advanced Research Prize in 2018. 

Between 2009 and 2010, Professor Taylor-Gooby participated in the Prime Minister’s No 10 ‘progressive consensus’ Round Table and advised the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit.

Professor Taylor-Gooby was awarded the OBE for services to social science in 2012. 

He completed his PhD in Social Policy at the University of Kent, his M Phil and Diploma in Social Administration at the University of York and his BA in Philosophy and English Literature at the University of Bristol. He started his lecturing career at the University of Manchester as a Lecturer in Social Administration before joining the University of Kent in 1979 as a Lecturer in Social Policy. He became Professor of Social Policy in 1990. 

Professor Taylor-Gooby directed the Norface WelfSoc programme 2015-18, the ESRC Risk programme (2003-9), the EU FP7 Welfare Reform and Societal Change programme (2001-4) and the ESRC Economic Beliefs and Behaviour programme (1994-9). He has written 28 academic books, over 140 articles, more than 130 chapters in academic books and has given more than 100 keynote presentations at international conferences. Having become increasingly dissatisfied with the weakness of social science in addressing the emotions and presumptions that are so strong an influence on people’s behaviour, he is developing ways of examining such issues through novels such as 'Ardent Justice' and 'The Baby Auction'. 

For further detail, please see Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby's CV

Research interests

Professor Taylor-Gooby's main interests are in current developments in the welfare state: the cuts and welfare state restructuring, the social divisions association with inequality and the struggles over multiculturalism.

He has further interests in cross-disciplinary work on risk, comparative cross-national work on European social policy and work on theoretical developments in social policy. He believes that careful, theoretically-founded qualitative and quantitative empirical research is essential to make progress in all these areas. He is greatly concerned about the damage the current austerity programme does to the welfare state.

Major grants include: 

  • Our Children’s’ Europe, 2015-18, a NORFACE project led from Kent, 1.5m Euro. The project links together teams in Denmark, Germany, Norway, Slovenia and the UK, carrying out innovative research into people’s attitudes to the welfare state and how it will develop, using Democratic Forums and Focus Groups.
  • INSPIRES (Resilience, unemployment and young people), an EU FPV project, led from Erasmus, Rotterdam, Euro 220,000. Inspires conducts co-ordinated research in 12 countries on policy responses to unemployment among vulnerable groups and compares the success of different initiatives. 
  • Social Contexts and Responses to Risk, an ESRC Priority Network, 2003-2008, £2.8m. The Network links together research projects in 12 universities which examine how people perceive and respond to risks. 
  • Welfare Reform and the Management of Societal Change, an EU FPV project, 2001-5, 1.1m euros. This project, directed from Kent, examines how European social policy responds to the challenges of population ageing, labour market change and ideological shifts against the welfare state. 
  • Economic Beliefs and Behaviour, an ESRC Research Programme, 1994-9, £1.5m. The research investigated the relationship between people’s understanding of economic and material issues and their behaviour. It was conducted in 17 university departments and research institutes in the UK and in collaboration with visiting experts from Europe and America.

Plus 42 smaller grants to a total value of £6.2m, £4.5m from ESRC. 


Professor Taylor-Gooby welcomes research students in social policy with special interests in current developments in the welfare state: the cuts and welfare state restructuring, the social divisions associated with inequality, the struggles over multiculturalism, cross-cutting interdisciplinary work on risk and comparative and European social policy.

Two of his ex-research students hold chairs at Russell Group universities and one at a leading European university.  



  • The University of Kent Advanced Research Prize in 2018
  • the Social Policy Distinguished Achievement Award in 2017
  • an OBE, Services to Social Science, in July 2012 

Recent speaking engagements

  • Launch of new specialist group on Social Policy and Political Studies for the Political Studies Association. Watch again as Professor Taylor-Gooby discusses the implications of Brexit for social policy & the multi-disciplinary nature of social policy research
  • Centenary Sidney Ball Lecture for the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford on 12 November 2020. The lecture on 'COVID-19 and the UK Welfare State' asked 'where next for the post-pandemic welfare state provision?'
  • AcSS Annual Lecture ‘The State of Social Science: only itself to blame’, London, July 5 2012
  • Keynote, Council of Europe Forum for the Future of Democracy 14 October 2011, Cyprus.

Selected recent professional activities 

  • Chair of the REF Social Work and Social Policy and Administration panel, 2011-2015.
  • Chair BA Nudge Programme 2011-12
  • Invited Chair, Inside Government Westminster Conference on Welfare Reform to be addressed by the Chief Executives of the DWP Universal Credit Programme, Shelter, Job Centre Plus, the National Children’s Bureau, The Centre for Welfare Reform, and others, 7 June 2011.
  • Social Science Judge Fulbright Young Researcher Award, 2011. 
  • Member Government Office for Science Review of DWP 2011  
  • Chair of the British Academy New Paradigms in Public Policy Programme, 2010-2011


A discussion with Ann Widdlecombe about the cap on two-child benefit on BBC Radio Kent, 8 May 2019

End of no-fault evictions to be welcomed, but renting woes in UK go far deeper on Kent Tonight, 15 April 2019

Discussing social policy and the future of the welfare state on Channel Radio, 21 June 2017 (MP3)


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