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Rod Hick

Professor Rod Hick


School of Social Sciences

Available for postgraduate supervision


My research interests are situated in the field of Social and Public Policy, with a particular focus on poverty and deprivation, social security, work and housing. Between 2019 and 2022, I led an ESRC-funded study on the association between housing and poverty in a comparative European context, working with Dr Marco Pomati (Cardiff) and Prof. Mark Stephens (Glasgow). I am currently working on the evaluation of the Welsh Basic Income pilot and will soon start new research examining the relatonship between low-quality work, poverty and subjective well-being in the UK and Switzerland. I convene a Year 2 module on Poverty and Social Security in the UK. 

I hold a PhD from the London School of Economics and in 2015 I was awarded the Best Paper Prize at the Foundation for International Studies on Social Security (FISS) conference in Hong Kong, China. Between 2017 and 2021, I co-edited the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice.

My research has been discussed or mentioned in both houses of Parliament (UK), in select committees at the Welsh and Irish parliaments, in the Financial Times, Guardian, Independent, Huffington Post, Boston Globe, and in numerous local and regional newspapers.

For further information about my research, please visit my personal website.


I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • Poverty and inequality
  • Social security
  • Comparative welfare state change

If you are interested in undertaking a PhD with me in these areas, feel free to get in touch (preferably with a 1 or 2 page proposal outlining your ideas).

















Adrannau llyfrau





Most of my work falls under two over-arching themes. First, I am interested in how social problems are conceptualised, measured and understood, and in the role that social scientists can play in these processes. Like Richard Titmuss, I believe that social policies must be understood in terms of both their economic and non-economic consequences, and this leads to concerns with value (especially in relation to human need), multidimensionality, complexity (and the possibility of reduction), measurement and monitoring and, ultimately, politics. These concerns inform my work on the conceptualisation and measurement of poverty and writings on the capability approach.

Second, I am interested in processes of welfare state change and, in particular, social security reform and what these mean for poverty and deprivation. This entails attention to the economic, demographic and political drivers of social problems, to debates about the nature and extent of policy change (e.g. do we observe retrenchment, recalibration or resilience?), and to the limits of what Stein Ringen called the ‘possibility of politics’ to achieve positive change. This opens up interests in comparative welfare state change, with processes of devolution and welfare state rescaling, and with social security reform.

Ongoing Projects

Co-Investigator, 'The dynamics of low-quality work, in-work poverty and subjective well-being: a longitudinal study of Switzerland and the UK', Swiss National Science Foundation, CHF 421,437 (~£375,000, PI: Prof. Eric Crettaz, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, 2024-2025).

Co-Applicant, Evaluation of the Welsh Basic Income Pilot, Welsh Government, £799,000 (PIs: David Westlake and Prof. Sally Holland, Cardiff University, 2022-2027).

Completed Projects

Principal Investigator, ‘Housing matters: A comparative study of the relationship between housing and poverty in Europe’, Economic and Social Research Council (£200,439, with Dr Marco Pomati and Prof. Mark Stephens, 2019-2021).

Co-Investigator, ‘Understanding the impact of Universal Credit on the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and Rent Arrears in Wales’, Welsh Government (£117,814, Lead partner: Policy in Practice, 2019-20).

Co-Investigator, ‘In-work poverty in New Zealand’, New Zealand Human Rights Commission, NZ$107,000 (~£55,500, PI: Prof Gail Pacheco, Auckland University of Technology).

Co-Applicant, ‘Transnational transformations in social protection - concepts, instruments and contexts’, GW4 Alliance, £71,708 (PI: Dr Rana Jawad, University of Bath, 2016-2017).

Principal Investigator, ‘‘The best route out of poverty? A study on in-work poverty and policy in the UK’, Nuffield Foundation, £47,459 (2016-2017).

Principal Investigator, ‘Getting the measure of poverty in the Philippines and Vietnam’, ESRC Impact Acceleration Account – Global Challenges Fund, £5,905 (2016).

Co-Applicant, ‘New Paradigms of Social Protection’, GW4 Alliance, £7,525 (2016).

Principal Investigator, ‘Retrenching Social Security in Ireland: The role of the IMF as a policy actor, 2010-2013’, British Academy Small Grants Scheme, £2,373 (2014-15).

Team Leader and Principal Investigator, Independent Review on the Commissioning and Provision of Social Services to Older People in the City & County of Swansea, City & County of Swansea, £25,629 (2014).

Principal Investigator, ‘The politics of UK Government welfare reform’, Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (CUROP) [internal Cardiff University competition for funding for research assistance], £1,360 (2014).


I teach Social Policy at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. At present, I make contributions to:


SI0304 – Poverty and Social Security in the UK (Stage 2, Convenor)

SI0609 - International and Comparative Social and Public Policy (Stage 3)


SIO912 - International and Comparative Social and Public Policy (M Level)


Honours and awards

Winner - Foundation for International Studies on Social Security (FISS) / Intersentia Best Paper Prize 2015. Paper Title: The Coupling of Disadvantages: Material Poverty and Multiple Deprivation in Europe before and after the Crisis. [Prize was awarded for the best paper presented at the 2015 FISS conference in Hong Kong, China].

Professional memberships

  • Social Policy Association
  • Human Development and Capability Association


Current supervision

Tom Dunne

Tom Dunne

Research student

Matthew Collins

Matthew Collins

Doctoral Student

Elaine Speyer

Elaine Speyer

Research student