Gemma Duggan, Thinkhouse Editorial Panel member, outlines Thinkhouse’s inaugural early career researcher prize sponsored by Altair. was set up last year for anyone who is interested in housing and wants to read something which will make them think, from the most innovative research pieces to policy publications and case studies.

It is a shiny new site for great housing research to get the recognition it deserves. You will find work which proposes ways to increase the amount and quality of the UK’s housing stock, and you will find research on the related economic, social and community benefits of doing this.

And, because not all research is created equal, it is rated and reviewed by an editorial panel of housing association CEOs, housing academics, key sector leaders and me. Over the last year we have also identified clear gaps in recent, housing-focused research, highlighted in our 2017 annual review (Available here:

We want to go further than just highlighting those gaps; we want to try and get them filled with more good quality exciting research to add to the excellent work that already appears on the site. Therefore, Thinkhouse have launched the Early Careers Researcher’s prize, sponsored by Altair Consulting.

We are looking for think pieces, research papers, original empirical research, evidence reviews and investigative journalism pieces on the gaps our annual review identified:

  • International reports, evidence or case studies that have demonstrated success at increasing the quantity and quality of housing supply in their host countries/cities.
  • As housing policy across the UK diverges, exploration of learning from different approaches to housing across the three devolved nations and London.
  • Research into the direct experiences of social housing tenants and those renting from private landlords (who are they? why do they make the decisions/choices they do?).
  • How the homeownership and rental tenures (both social, affordable, and private rented sector) can be more effectively linked together to recognise that individuals do not have static housing needs.
  • The links between the cost of housing and this costs’ impact on living standards, an area of study which has become fallow since John Hill’s comprehensive report ten years ago.
  • Given the amount of public land, the failure to release significant chunks of it without the public-sector scrapping to get ‘best value’, building on recent pieces from Civitas on how this has held back housing.
  • Estate regeneration beyond just bricks and mortar, research to look at the benefits of regeneration in a wider social, physical, and economic context that is not restricted/can cross local authority boundaries. This may also be pertinent in helping shed light on some of the current battles between residents and councils over radical estate demolition/rebuild.
  • Exploration of the fragmented structure of the housing association sector and if it creates the most effective structure to build and manage homes.
  • Exploration of the question ‘has there been a recognised shift by the UK Government towards again accepting social housing as an important part of the policy, which started after the referendum and change of PM in 2016, was energised further following the Grenfell Tower catastrophe?’

It is our preference that papers will focus on one these areas however we will not necessary preclude papers (subject to prior agreement) that look at other housing related issues or research gaps.

The competition is open to those with up to six years research experience, and submissions should be between 4,000-8,000 words in length. Journal articles or other papers already published or under review will be accepted. The deadline is 28th September 2018, and further details of the criteria will be published on the site shortly.

The prize is £250 and to be published and reviewed on the Thinkhouse site.

More information can be found on the site:

We look forward to reading your entries.

Gemma Duggan, Thinkhouse Editorial Panel Member.

The Housing Studies Association (HSA) is a limited company registered in England and Wales under company number 13958843 at 42 Wellington Road, Greenfield, OL3 7AQ.
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