SMI work

Who we are

SMI Fellows

You can find details of external and internal Fellows who work with the SMI to help us promote high quality research methods and training here.



Professor Gwilym Pryce - Director of the Sheffield Methods Institute

Gwilym is Professor of Urban Economics and Social Statistics, and Director of the Sheffield Methods Institute. He is also a Co-Director of the £4m ESRC AQMEN Research Centre and currently leads the AQMEN Urban Segregation and Inequality research strand. He was formerly Associate Director of the £10m Urban Big Data Centre (UBDC), and continues to lead the UBDC research project: “URP3: Integrated Multi-sectoral Model of Employment and Migration”.


Professor Tim May - Deputy Director of the Sheffield Methods Institute

Tim holds degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science (BSc Econ) and the Universities of Surrey (MSc) and Plymouth (PhD). These followed a career as an engineer in the agricultural sector and work in the retail sector, during which time he undertook a two-year evening return-to-study course to qualify for a university place. With a strong focus on methodology and in particular the relationship between knowledge, strategy, context and practice, Tim has worked on many different projects through funding from international, national and regional and local sources; for example ESRC, EPSRC, AHRC, European Commission, Mistra, Ford, NESTA, Whitehall and Manchester and Salford City Councils and the business sector.


Dr Alasdair Rae - Director of the Sheffield Q-Step Centre & BA in Quantitative Social Sciences

Alasdair is a Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies and Planning who specialises in the analysis and visualisation of spatial data, with a particular focus on cities, neighbourhoods, housing markets, commuting and migration. He holds a PhD (University of Liverpool), MA (The Ohio State University) and BA (University of Strathclyde) and has previously worked at the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester. He publishes on a wide range of spatial data-related topics and his work regularly features in data-related news stories (e.g. WIRED, BBC, The Economist, The Guardian, CityMetric, The Independent). He works with a wide variety of external collaborators, such as Google, Rightmove and the Financial Times. Alasdair is also an award-winning higher education teacher, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and University of Sheffield Senate Fellow.


Dr Elena Gonzalez-Polledo - Director of the BA/BSc Applied Social Sciences

Elena joined the University in September 2016. Her academic career began at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she completed a PhD in Social Anthropology, worked as a Visiting Lecturer, and held a post-doc position in the FP7 funded project MEDEA - Models and their effects on development paths: an ethnographic and comparative approach . After that, she held a Fellowship at the London School of Economics (2012-2014), where she was also Course Tutor (2014-2016). She joins us here at Sheffield as the Academic lead on the Faculty of Social Science Student Research Conference.

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Andy Dickerson - Interim Director of the Sheffield Methods Institute

Academic and research staff


Dr Andrew Bell - Lecturer in Quantitative Social Sciences

Before moving to Sheffield, Andy was a lecturer at the University of Bristol, where he also completed his undergraduate degree (in Geography) and PhD (in Advanced Quantitative Methods). His current substantive research focuses on mental health from a life course perspective, but also spans a diverse range of other subject areas, including geography, political science, social epidemiology and economics. Methodologically, Andy’s interests are in the development and application of multilevel models, with work focusing on age-period-cohort analysis and fixed and random effects models.


Dr Todd Hartman - Lecturer in Quantitative Social Sciences

Todd was Director of Survey Research for the Centre for Economic Research and Policy Analysis as well as Assistant Professor of Political Science at Appalachian State University. He is a graduate of the University of California at Davis (BA in International Relations), San Francisco State University (MA International Relations), and the State University of New York at Stony Brook (PhD Political Science). A political psychologist by training, Todd has extensive experience conducting surveys and experiments. His current research focuses on political attitudes and intergroup relations.

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Katherine Nichols - Lecturer in Applied Social Sciences

Kitty is a sociologist with a background in Human Geography, her research interests reflect her interdisciplinary training, with a focus upon themes of gender, identity, culture, social interactions, sport and banter. Before joining Sheffield Kitty trained at The University of Newcastle and The University of Leicester.


Dr Aneta Piekut - Lecturer in Quantitative Social Sciences

Aneta is a sociologist by training, but her research spans disciplinary boundaries and is embedded in sociology, urban studies and human geography. Before joining the Sheffield Methods Institute, Aneta developed her research skills at the Universities of Sheffield, Leeds and Warsaw.


Dr Mark Taylor - Lecturer in Quantitative Social Sciences

Mark is a sociologist with interests in social stratification and inequality, the sociology of culture, particularly music, and the life course, with methodological interests in survey research, social network analysis, and geographic information systems. Before arriving at Sheffield, Mark worked at the Universities of Manchester and York, and studied at Oxford, where he received his DPhil under the superivision of Tak Wing Chan.


Timothy Birabi - Research Associate

Tim is a research associate working on the AQMeN ESRC Location Dynamics, Owner Occupation and Ethnicity in Scotland (LDOES) project, which is uses ethnic and location dynamics to understand certain characteristics about house prices in Scotland.

Previously he worked at The University of Glasgow on a project looking at how windfarms affect house prices. Tim specializes in how specific tools from statistics and econometrics can be used for solving empirical questions concerned with the improvement of a cluster of individuals within society.

Dr Sue Easton - Research Associate

Sue is a highly experienced quantitative researcher with modelling expertise in GIS and advanced statistical methods such as multilevel modelling. She is deeply committed to the research of social and spatial inequalities. Since completing her PhD in Geography at the University of Sheffield (2010), she has researched: sociospatial variation in children’s access to the best schools and an intervention directed at improving rates of breastfeeding primarily in deprived areas. In her previous work life Sue worked in social housing and homelessness as well a sthe NHS for over a decade, prior to undertaking an MA in Social Policy and Research Methods at the University of York (in 2000). Sue is from Southall, a diverse multicultural community in West London.


Dr Dan Olner - Research Associate

Dan is a research associate at the SMI working with the Urban Big Data Centre. The project is looking at how visualisation and simulation can make cities more transparent for the people living in them and policymakers, specifically how the movement of people interacts with housing, employment and communities. He also is working to develop the use of new computational methods. Before he joined the SMI, Dan used agent-based modelling to look at how changing distance costs could radically re-wire the shape of the economy.

Professional services staff


Julie Hurst - Programme Administrator

Julie is a Programme Administrator. She is a University of Sheffield alumni and previously worked as Programme Administrator University of Surrey. Out of work Julie is the secretary of a Parent & Teacher Association, organising fundraising activities to raise money for the school.

amyAmy Clare - Administration Officer

Amy is responsible for organising events, finance, research support and supporting programme administration within Sheffield Methods Institute. She previously worked at Sheffield University Management School.

Hazel Moss - Marketing and Recruitment Officer

Hazel is responsible for raising the profile of the SMI through events and research outputs and recruiting students to the two undergraduate courses. She has previously worked in marketing and PR for many large organisations including Coors Brewers, Network Rail and TalkTalk.

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Kerry Swain - Administration Officer

Keely Armitage - Sheffield Methods Institute Administration Manager

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Angela Hill - Sheffield Methods Institute Finance Manager