Picture of Professor Matthew Flinders

Professor Matthew Flinders

BA (Loughborough), PhD (Sheffield)

Professor

Contact Details

Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 1680
Fax: +44 (0)114 222 1717
Room: G.65 Elmfield

Email : m.flinders@sheffield.ac.uk

Profile

Professor Flinders is Professor of Politics and Founding Director of the Sir Bernard Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics. He is also President of the Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom and a board member of the Academy of Social Sciences. Educated at Loughborough University and the University of Sheffield Matthew Flinders was appointed to a Lectureship in 2000 (Senior Lecturer 2003, Reader 2005, Professor 2009). He was Sub-Dean for Graduate Affairs during 2004-2005 and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences 2005-2006. He was a Governor on the Board of Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust between 2008-2011 and Deputy Head of the Department of Politics between 2008-2012. In addition to his academic work Professor Flinders writes a monthly blog for Oxford University Press and has written and presented several documentaries for BBCRadio 4.

Prizes

  • Harrison Prize [Best Article in Political Science], 2002
  • Richard Rose Prize [Outstanding Scholarship], 2004
  • WJM Mackenzie Prize [Best Book in Political Science], 2009
  • University of Sheffield Best Teacher Award, 2010
  • Best Article in British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Prize, 2011
  • Political Studies ‘Communicator of the Year’ Award, Political Studies Association [for In Defence of Politics on BBC Radio 4] 2012
  • Sam Aaronovitch Memorial Prize [Outstanding Scholarship], 2012
  • Independent on Sunday ‘Book of the Year’ 2012 [for Defending Politics]
  • Shortlisted for the Political Book Awards 2013 [for Defending Politics]
  • Nominated for the ‘George Orwell Prize 2013’ [for Defending Politics]
  • ESRC [Runner-up] ‘Overall Impact Champion Prize’, 2013
  • Senate Award (Collaborative Activities), 2013
  • Appointed ‘Digital Democracy Champion’ by the Speaker of the House of Commons, 2014
  • Democratic Innovation of the Year Award, 2016
Teaching

Professor Flinders writes:

"One of the best parts of being an academic is being able to teach and inspire students. My approach to teaching has always been based on the need to challenge and stimulate students and this is reflected in the way I approach both big lectures and small seminars. I am committed to a form of teaching that rejects traditional boundaries between research, teaching and impact and this is reflected in my Third Year module 'Parliamentary Studies'. This was the first university module in the world to be formally accredited and co-taught by the Houses of Parliament and is now delivered in twenty-five universities across the United Kingdom."

"My teaching is very much informed by my research and I always try and ground complex theories or concepts by providing real-world case studies or examples. My lectures have been known to include piano recitals (very bad), jokes (very bad) and magic tricks (quite good). It was an enormous honour for me when I was awarded the University Teaching Prize in 2010 and the Collaborative Activities Award in 2013. I currently hold a Professorial Fellowship in the House of Commons and this provides a wonderful foundation for my teaching."

"In seminars I try and get everyone involved in discussions and exercises. I have high expectations about what students should do to prepare for classes and I am a great believer that teaching is a reciprocal relationship. My main teaching innovation at the moment is developing a new third-year module on Parliamentary Studies that will be delivered in association with the Outreach Team of the Houses of Parliament. This is a new innovation that seeks to offer theoretically-informed but policy-relevant teaching for students that bridges politics ‘as theory’ and politics ‘as practice’."

PhD Supervision

Professor Flinders is keen to supervise research students in the following areas (broadly defined): modes of depoliticisation; governance and public policy; legislative studies with a focus on parliamentary scrutiny of the executive and the extended state; majoritarian modification and constitutional reforms; territorial and functional decentralisation; multi-level governance; patronage and public sector reform; and, the politics of delegation.

Professor Flinders is currently supervising three doctoral students, including Jose Garcia and Marc Geddes.

Previous Research Students (all completed PhDs unless otherwise stated):

2006 Kirstin McLarty, ‘Local Government Modernisation in Derbyshire’ [2nd Supervisor]
2006 Matthew Denton, ‘Devolution and Delegated Governance’ [1st Supervisor]
2007 Rachel Chapman, ‘Third Sector Empowerment’ [2nd Supervisor]
2007 Daniel Lyons, ‘The British Animal Research Policy Network’ [2nd Supervisor]
2007 Junya Takamatsu, ‘Rail Privatisation in the UK’ [MPhil] [1st Supervisor]
2008 Felicity Matthews, ‘Central Strategic Capacity and the Hollow State’ [1st Supervisor]
2009 Jenny Hugh, ‘The Politics of Incentives and Sanctions’ [1st Supervisor]
2009 Matthew English, ‘Governance and Communication Technology in the Core Executive’
2010 Dion Curry, ‘Multi-Level Governance in the UK and Canada’ [1st Supervisor]
2011 David Moon, ‘Intra-Party Discursive Dynamics’ [1st Supervisor]
2011 Moneef Mlafikh, ‘Street Level Bureaucrats in Saudi Arabia’ [2nd Supervisor]
2013 Masahiro Mogaki, ‘Regulatory Governance in Japan’, [2nd Supervisor]
2014 Matthew Wood, ‘Depoliticisation and Regime Dynamics’ [1st Supervisor]
2015 Perla Legorreta, ‘Street Level Bureaucrats and Political Change’ [1st Supervisor]
2016 Marc Geddes, ‘Interpreting Legislative Scrutiny’ [1st Supervisor]

Research

Professor Flinders is currently working on the following issues: modes of depoliticisation; governance and public policy; legislative studies with a focus on parliamentary scrutiny of the executive and the extended state; majoritarian modification and constitutional reform; territorial and functional decentralisation; the politics of patronage and public appointments; and a set of broader issues that rotate around the theme of political disengagement.

Research Grants

2002 ‘Accountability of Non-Governmental Organisations’, International Development Institute, £2,000.
2004 ‘An Audit of Parliamentary Modernisation’, Nuffield Trust, £11,000.
2005 ‘Democracy, Depoliticisation and Arena-Shifting’, Leverhulme Trust, £20,000.
2005 ‘Devolution and Quasi-Government’, ESRC [PhD Studentship], £40,000.
2005 ‘Control and Accountability Frameworks’, Office of Corporate Partnerships, £4,560.
2006 ‘Incentives and Sanctions in the Public Sector’, ESRC [PhD Studentship], £50,000.
2007 ‘Multi-Level Governance: The EU and Canada Compared’, Canadian Research Council [PhD Studentship], £60,000.
2009 ‘Multi-Level Governance, Global Warming and Transport Policy’, ESRC/Department for Transport, £322,000.
2009 ‘Central Executive Capacity’, Leverhulme Trust [Post-Doc. Fellowship], £50,000.
2009 ‘Depoliticisation and Crises’, ESRC [PhD Studentship], £50,000.
2010 ‘Party Patronage, Governance and Reform’, ESRC, £100,000.
2010 ‘Supporting Democracy in Thailand’, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, £8,000
2010 ‘Government Communication and the Civil Service in Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the UK’, Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation, £150,000.
2011 ‘Multi-Level Governance and Party Dynamics’, British Academy [Travelling Fellowship], £10,000.
2011 ‘The Trouble with Being Human’, ESRC [Festival of Social Sciences], £2,000.
2011 ‘The Reform of Arm’s-Length Bodies under the Coalition Government’ ESRC, £950,00.
2012 ‘Future Social Science’, ESRC, £4,000.
2013 ‘Strategic Investment Funding, £600,000 [to establish the Crick Centre]
2013 ‘Art and Politics’, AHRC, £50,000.
2014 ‘Special Projects Fund, Political Studies Association’, £5,000.
2014 ‘Festival of the Mind’, £5,000.
2014 ‘House of Commons, Liaison Committee, £5,000.
2015. ‘Democracy Matters’ £200,000. ESRC.
2015 ‘ESRC Knowledge Exchange Hub’, £40,000.
2015 ESRC Seminar Series Grant, £35,000.
2015 EU Marie Curie Fellowship [co-I], £120,000.
2016 COST Action Plan ‘The Professionalization and Social Impact of European Political Science’, OC-2015-2-20077 [Network Partner]
2016 ‘Pop Up’ Democracy and the EU Referendum, £32,000
2016 Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, £50,000

Fully-Funded Competitive Doctoral Studentships and Post-Doc. Fellowships Secured

2005 ESRC Studentship (Matthew Denton)
2006 University Studentship (Felicity Matthews)
2006 ESRC CASE Studentship (Jenny Hugh)
2007 Canadian Research Council (Dion Curry)
2009 ESRC Studentship (Matthew Wood)
2009 Leverhulme Post-Doc (Felicity Matthews)
2011 British Academy Visiting Fellowship (Anika Guaja)
2015 ESRC (James Weinberg)
2016 ESRC Ph.D. Studentship (Alex Meakin)
2017 Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Post-Doc (Leanne Cotter)

Attached Visiting Fellowships

2006 Hsu Che Yuan (Government of Taiwan)
2007 Professor Paul Roness (University of Bergen)
2011 Professor Heidi Salomonsen (Aarhus University)
2011 Dr Anika Guaja (University of Sydney)
2011 Malene Brandt Winther (University of Southern Denmark)
2015 Gianfranco Baldini (University of Bologna)
2015 Ian Marsh (Australian National University)
2015 Margit Van Wessell (Wageningen University)
2016 Dr Ingmar Van Meerkerk (Erasmus University)

Fellowships

  • Leverhulme Research Fellowship, 2005-2006
  • Whitehall Fellowship (Cabinet Office) 2005-2006
  • Visiting Fellow, University of Sydney, 2010
  • Elected Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences, 2011
  • Elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Society for Arts, 2012
  • Visiting Professor, Utrecht University, 2014
  • ESRC Knowledge Exchange Fellow, 2015
  • Global Associate, Sydney Democracy Network, University of Sydney, 2016
  • House of Commons Professorial Research Fellow, 2016-2019
Professional Service

For Governmental and Parliamentary Bodies

1998 Invited Submission of evidence to the House of Commons’ Public Administration Select Committee as part of its inquiry into Quangos [See HC 209, Session 1998-1999]
1999 Invited submission of evidence to the Local Government Association
2001 Invited submission of evidence to the Hansard Society
2002 Invited submission of evidence to the Committee on Standards in Public Life
2002 Appointed to the Board of Assessors for Federal Research Grants in the Social Sciences by the Belgian Government
2003 Invited submission of evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution [see HL 150, Session 2003-2004]
2003 Invited submission of evidence to the European Convention on the Future of Europe
2004 Invited submission of evidence to the Review of Public Administration in Northern Ireland
2004 Invited submission of evidence to the Department for Constitutional Affairs’ review of the public inquiries system [see HC 51-I, 2004-2005].
2005 Invited submission of evidence to the Select Committee on Public Administration (2005) as part of their inquiry into ‘Politics and Administration: Ministers and Civil Servants’ [published in HC107-II, Session 2006-2007].
2005 Adviser to the Government of Taiwan
2006 Private evidence session to the Leader of the House of Commons to consider the future of the Modernisation Committee’s work on the legislative process.
2006 Invited submission of evidence to the Committee on Standards in Public Life on the future of the Electoral Commission [See Cm. 7006, 2007]
2006 Adviser to the Government of Canada
2006 Adviser to the Government of Catalonia
2007 Invited submission of evidence to the government’s green paper The Governance of Britain [part of the PSA’s official response document].
2007 Invited submission of evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee (2006) as part of their inquiry into the Rural Payments Agency [see HC122-II, Session 2006-2007].
2008 Invited submission of evidence to the Liberal Democrats’ Better Government Working Group.
2008 Internal Adviser to the Committee on Standards in Public Life as part of their preparations for the twelfth inquiry.
2008 Invited Submission of evidence to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation document A National Framework for Greater Citizen Engagement
2009 Appointed ‘Acknowledged Expert’ to the European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation.
2009 Invited Submission of evidence to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation document Rights and Responsibilities: developing our constitutional framework.
2009 Invited Submission of evidence to the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s inquiry into MPs expenses, June 2009 [see Cm.7724, 2009]
2010 Advisor to the Government of Thailand, part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s ‘Advancing Democracy in Thailand’ Project. Official visit to Bangkok (21-25 Feb. 2010) for lecture and seminars.
2010 Advisor and Trainer for Kent County Council as part of an IDEA-monitored project on increasing political understanding amongst local government officials.[see The Guardian 28 July 2010]
2010 Invited Submission of evidence to HM Treasury’s review document ‘Reforming Arm’s Length Bodies’
2010 Invited Submission of evidence to the House of Commons’ Public Administration Select Committee as part of its inquiry into What Ministers Do? [See HC 530, Session 2010-2011]
2010 Invited Submission of evidence to the House of Commons’ Treasury Select Committee as part of its inquiry into The Office for Budget Responsibility, August 2010. [See HC 385 Office for Budget Responsibility, Fourth Report of the Treasury Committee, Session 2010-2011]
2010 Invited Submission of evidence to the Department of Justice as part of its review of the Judicial Appointments Process in the State of Victoria, Australia, August 2010.
2010 Invited Submission of evidence to the House of Commons’ Public Administration Select Committee as part of its inquiry into The Smarter State: Quangos, September 2010. [See HC 537, Session 2010-2011]
2010 Invited Submission of evidence to the House of Commons’ Political and Constitutional Reform Committee as part of its inquiry into Government and Coalition Formation, November 2010. [See HC 528 Session 2010-2011]2011 Invited Submission of evidence to the House of Commons’ Public Administration Select Committee as part of its inquiry into Good Governance and Civil Service Reform, January 2011. [See HC 664 Session 2012-2013] 2011 Written and Oral evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee as part of its inquiry into ‘The Process of Constitutional Reform’, March 2011. [See HL 177, Session 2010-2012]
2011 Expert advisor to the Decentralisation Analysis Team in the Communities and Local Government Department on Accountability: Adapting to Decentralisation, May 2011.
2011 Invited Submission of evidence the House of Commons’ Public Administration Select Committee as part of its inquiry into The Big Society, June 2011.[See HC902, Session 2010-2012]
2011 Expert Advisor to the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments and First Civil Service Commissioner as part of the formal review of the regulatory framework for public appointments, August 2011.
2012 Written and Oral evidence to the House of Commons’ Liaison Committee as part of its inquiry into The Effectiveness of Select Committees, January 2012. [See HC 697, Session 2012-2013]
2012 Invited Submission of evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into the Culture, Practice Ethics of the Press, April 2012.
2012 Special Masterclass to the staff of the Northern Ireland Assembly on the social relevance of parliamentary staff, 15 June 2012.
2012 Written and Oral evidence to the House of Commons’ Political and Constitutional Reform Committee as part of its inquiry into ‘Do we need a constitutional convention for the United Kingdom?’, June 2012. [HC 371, Session 2012-2013]
2012 Written and Oral evidence to the House of Lords Committee on the Constitution as part of its inquiry into ‘The Accountability of the Civil Service’, 27 June 2012. [HL 61, Session 2012-2013]
2012 Invited Submission of evidence to the Public Administration Select Committee as part of its inquiry into Civil Service Reform [HC74 Session 2012-2013]
2012 Invited Submission of evidence to the Triennial Review of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, chaired by Rt. Hon. Peter Riddell.
2012 Invited Submission of evidence to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority’s consultation on MPs pay and remuneration.
2013 Written and Oral evidence to the House of Commons Public Administration Committee as part of its inquiry into ‘The future of Civil Service Reform’ [HC74 Session 2012-2013]
2013 Written and Oral evidence to the House of Lords Committee on the Constitution as part of its inquiry into ‘Pre-emption of Parliament’, January 2013 [HL 165, Session 2012-2013]
2013 Invited Submission of evidence to the Public Administration Select Committee as part of its inquiry into ‘The Committee on Standards in Public Life’ [HC 516, 2013-2014]
2013 Appointed to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority’s ‘Panel of Experts’.
2014 Invited Submission of evidence to the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee as part of its inquiry into ‘Voter Engagement in the UK’. [HC232, 2014-2015]. Download (PDF, 969KB)
2014 Invited Submission of evidence to the Speaker’s Commission on ‘Digital Democracy’
2014 Appointed Specialist Advisor to the Public Administration Select Committee’s inquiry into ‘The Accountability of Public Bodies’. [HC110, 2014-2015].
2014 Written and Oral evidence to the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform as part of its inquiry into ‘A New Magna Carta’, Nov. 2014.
2015 Invited Submission of evidence to IPSA’s consultation ‘MPs Pay in the 2015 Parliament’. Download (PDF, 515KB)
2015 Invited submission to the Cabinet Office’s review of the Public Appointments system under the chairmanship of Sir Gerry Grimstone.
2015 Invited submission to the Committee on Public Life’s review of the Public Appointments System under the chairmanship of Lord Bew.
2015 Selection Panel Member, ESRC Impact Fellows for the ‘UK in a Changing Europe’ Research Programme.
2015 Co-author of ‘Building Public Engagement: Options for developing select committee outreach’, First Special Report of the Liaison Committee, 2015-2016, HC 470.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmliaisn/470/47004.htm#a1
2016 Invited submission to the Joint Committee on the Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster,
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201617/jtselect/jtpow/41/41.pdf
2016 Written and Oral evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution as part of their inquiry into ‘The Union and Devolution’
2016 Invited submission to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into ‘Better Public Appointments’.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmpubadm/495/49502.htm
2016 Submission to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Reform, Decentralisation and Devolution [the Kerslake Report], http://www.local.gov.uk/documents/10180/6917361/Devolution+and+the+Union+-+a+higher+ambition.pdf/fd980893-cb5c-465f-a711-d241d22364b5
2016 Invited submission to the Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into ‘Leaving the EU: Implications and Opportunities for Science and Research Inquiry’
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/science-and-technology-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/leaving-the-eu-inquiry-16-17/
2016 Invited submission to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into ‘Lessons Learned from the EU Referendum’.
http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/public-administration-and-constitutional-affairs-committee/lessons-learned-from-the-eu-referendum/written/36725.html
2016 Invited submission to the Administration Committee’s inquiry into ‘Election Planning and Services’, October 2016.
2017 Invited submission to the Treasury Committee’s inquiry into the Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster, February 2017.
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/treasury-committee/inquiries1/parliament-2015/restoration-and-renewal-palace-of-westminster-16-17/
2017 Invited submission to the Public Accounts Committee’s inquiry into the Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster, February 2017.
https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmpubacc/1005/100502.htm
2017 Expert Advisory to the Cabinet Office’s review of ‘Functional Review of Bodies Providing Expert Advice to Government’.

Media Work

Writing and Presenting for the BBC

2010 ‘In Defence of Politics’, Three-Part Series, BBC Radio 4. (Listening audience in excess of 2.5 million.) Listen here (external link)
2013 ‘When Politics and Comedy Collide’, one-hour documentary as part of the Archive Hour, BBC Radio 4. (Subsequent coverage in ‘Pick of the Week’, The Times, The Independent, Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Stage.) Listen here (external link)

TV: BBC Six O’Clock News; ITN Main Evening News; BBC Parliament; The Politics Show; The Daily Politics, Sky News,
Radio: BBC Radio 4 ‘The World at One’; BBC Radio 4 ‘Today Programme’; BBC Radio 4 ‘The Westminster Hour’; Radio 5 Live; BBC Radio 4 ‘The Moral Maze’; Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia Broadcasting Corporation,
Papers:  Washington Post; The Times; The Guardian; Independent on Sunday; Financial Times; The Observer; Independent on Sunday; Huffington Post; Yorkshire Post; Hindu Times; Wall Street Journal; Bloomberg News; Politik & Kommunikation; Times Higher; Yahoo News US ; Daily Mail; OpenDemocracy

External Activities within Higher Education

2005 Tenure Appointment Panel Referee, Yale University, 2005.
2006 Board Member and International Advisor, Parliamentary Studies Center, Australian National University (2006–2011)
2008 Judge, Political Studies Association’s Mackenzie Prize for the Best Book
2010 British Council Young Scientists Programme
2011 Chair Appointment, External Assessor, University of the United Arab Emirates
2012 Chair Appointment, External Assessor, University of Leeds
2012 Advisory Panel Member, ESRC ‘The Future of the UK and Scotland Programme’
2012 Parliamentary Studies Selection Panel Member [Assessing applications for the accredited and co-taught module]
2013 Member, Joint Commissioning Panel, ESRC Scotland Senior Fellowships and Investment Proposals.
2013-15 External Examiner, University College Cork (Masters in Government and Public Policy).
2013-15 Advisory Board Member, EPSRC Project ‘Innovation and Governance for a Sustainable Economy’ (IGOV). External link.
2014 Appointed External Fellowship Review Panel, Irish Research Organisation
2014 Chair Appointment, External Assessor, University of Birmingham
2014-17 Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology, Advisory Panel Member, ‘Understanding the role of research evidence from all disciplines in Parliament’
2014 Chair Appointment, External Assessor, University of Guelth, Canada.
2014 ESRC Expert Group Member on Constitutional Reform
2014 Outer Board Member, Irish Research Council.
2014 Review Panel Member, Excellence in Research in Australia, Australian Research Council
2015 ESRC Commissioning Panel ‘The Future of the UK and Scotland’
2015 Outer Board Member, Irish Research Council.
2015 Chair Appointment, External Assessor, University of Birmingham
2016 Appointed External Fellowship Review Panel, Irish Research Organisation
2016 University of Stirling, External Research Excellence Assessor
2016-18 ESRC Capability Committee
2017 Outer Board Member, Irish Research Council.

External Examining of Research Degrees [all PhDs]
2007 Strathclyde University
2008 University of Plymouth
2009 University of Warwick
2009 University of Exeter
2010 University of Bristol
2010 University of Cardiff
2011 Macquarie University
2013 Leiden University
2013 Essex University
2014 Southampton University
2016 Aberdeen University

Publications

View full list of publications

Key Publications

  • Flinders, M. Defending Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)
  • Flinders, M. Democratic Drift (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • Flinders, M, Gamble, A, Kenny, M and Hay, C eds. The Oxford Handbook of British Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) 960pp.
  • Flinders, M. Walking Without Order (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) 336pp.
  • Flinders, M Brazier, A and McHugh, D. New Politics, New Parliament? Parliamentary Modernisation under Labour (London: Hansard Society, 2005) 160pp.
  • Flinders, M and Bache, I eds. Multi-level Governance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) 320pp.

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