Image of Professor Louise RyanProfessor Louise Ryan

Professorial Research Fellow

B.Soc.Sc, M.Soc.Sc. University College Cork, PhD (Sociology) National University of Ireland

Telephone: 0114 222 6413 (external), 26413 (internal)
Room: LG25


Louise Ryan joined the University of Sheffield in 2016, having previously been Professor of Sociology at Middlesex University, London, where she worked for 12 years. Originally from Ireland, Louise is a graduate of University College Cork. Her research expertise is in the area of migration, social networks, gender and religion.

Louise was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2015, and she is currently chair of the editorial board of the journal Sociology.

Louise is a member of the editorial board of International Migration and a member of the advisory board of the Irish Journal of Sociology. She is also a trustee and currently treasurer of the British Sociological Association. Recently, Louise became a member of the ESRC Grant Assessment Panel.

Louise is a series editor of the book series – Sociological Futures published by Routledge in association with the BSA.

In 2015, her work on migration was recognised internationally when Louise was named on a list of leading international researchers on migration.

In 2018, two of Louise’s books have been re-issued to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage:


Louise is interested in a broad range of topics around migration, particularly intra-EU migration. She has worked on highly skilled migrants in London’s financial sector, an ESRC funded study with Dr Jon Mulholland.

Louise is currently working on a five year European funded project (FP7) on early school leaving (with Dr. Alessio D'Angelo, Neil Kaye and Magdolna Lorinc at Middlesex University).

She has also worked on an European funded project (FP7) with Prof Eleonore Kofman on gender and migration in the EU – GEMMA. Over the last decade, much of Louise's work has focused on new migration from East/ central London – especially Polish migrants – which was funded through several ESRC awards and a Heritage Lottery grant as well as several small KT projects.

Knowledge Transfer and Community Engagement

Louise has worked with community partners and local stake holders on a Dept of Communities and Local Government funded, longitudinal project, on Engaging Muslim Youth in Barnet.

Louise has a considerable portfolio of KT projects working in partnership with local authorities, charities and non-governmental organisations. These cover a range of topics including young people and unemployment, the care needs of older people from ethnic and religious minorities, the role of ethnic chaplains in the Catholic Church, women and employment among migrant communities. I have worked on several community-based projects on older Irish people in Britain including a recent project commissioned by the Irish Government on radio listenership among older Irish people.

Successful grant applications

Grant Date Amount
Co-I on the Sustainable Care Programme, co-leading the work package - Care ‘in’ and ‘out of’ place: towards sustainable well-being in mobile and diverse contexts. Funded by ESRC Large Grant Fund. Led by: Yeandle. 2017 - 2021 £2.54 million
Understanding Modern Polish Society – Migration and Transformation. Funded by Noble Foundation. Grant holders: Ryan, Kilkey and Piekut. 2017 - 2019 £30,000
Researching Early School Leaving in the EU - FP7 Lead UK partner and leader on largest work package. 2013 - 2018 £800,000 (to UK team)
Highly skilled French Migrants in London's Financial and Business sectors. Funded by ESRC. Grant Holders: Mulholland and Ryan. 2010 - 2012 £97,000
Engaging Muslim Youth in Barnet. Commissioned by London Borough of Barnet and funded by Department of Communities and Local Government. Grant Holder: Louise Ryan. 2008 - 2011 £50,000
Polish Children in London Primary Schools: a knowledge exchange and transfer project. Funded by ESRC. Grant holders: Louise Ryan and Alessio D'Angelo. Sept 2009 - June 2010 £27,000
National mapping of services for older people. Funded by Caritas Social Action Network. Grant Holders: Louise Ryan, Alessio D'Angelo and Mary Tilki. January - July 2009 £28,000
Enhancing Evidence Based Policy Making in Gender and Migration. International consortium (lead partner APRE (Agency for the
Promotion of European Research), Italy, other partners Austria, Hungary, France and UK (Kofman and Ryan). Funded by the European Commission, FP7.
2008 - 2010 €120,000
The Forgotten Irish. Grant holders: Mary Tilki, Louise Ryan, Alessio D'Angelo and Rosemary Sales (Ireland Fund of Great Britain). 2007 - 2008 £40,000
Recent Polish Migrants to London: settlement and transience. Funded by the ESRC grant holders: Louise Ryan, Rosemary Sales and Mary Tilki. 2006 - 2007 £46,000
Minor emotional disorders or 'stress' in primary care: an in depth exploration of factors affecting outcome. Grant holders: Dr. Kate Walters, Prof. Michael King, Dr. Louise Ryan (North Central Thames Primary Care Research Network). 2004 - 2005 £20,000
Depression in Irish Migrants to London: a qualitative study. Funded by ESRC. Grant Holders: Gerry Leavey, Prof. Michael King and Dr. Louise Ryan. 2003 - 2004 £45,000

Research consultancy and knowledge transfer

Details Date Amount
The History of Emmaus (homeless charity) in the UK commissioned by Emmaus. Research team: McGorrian, Ryan, Kerr and Papadopoulou. 2015 £45,000
Analysis of RTÉ Listenership among Irish community in Britain, commissioned by Irish in Britain organisation and funded by Irish Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Research Team: Ryan, Clarke, Kaye and D'Angelo. 2015 £15,000
Analysis of 2011 Census data Irish Community Statistics: England and selected urban areas. Commissioned by Irish in Britain Organisation (funded by Irish Dept of Foreign Affairs). Lead: Louise Ryan. 2014 £13,000
Evaluation of Early Intervention Children’s Services at Barnet Council. Lead: Louise Ryan. 2012 £15,000
BME parents and the British educational system: a guide. Commissioned by Action for Social Integration, funded by Trust for London. Lead researchers: Louise Ryan and Alessio D'Angelo. 2010 £5,000
The Story of Three Generations: Oral history of Polish Migrants in Enfield. Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund. Academic advisor: Louise Ryan. 2009 - 2010 £45,000
The Needs and Experiences of Ethnic and Linguistic Chaplains in England and Wales. Funded by Catholic Bishops Conference. Lead researcher: Louise Ryan. 2008 - 2009 £5,000
Polish Children in London Primary Schools, funded by Multiverse. Research team: Rosemary Sales, Louise Ryan and Alessio D'Angelo. 2008 £8,500
'Economic activity among Bangladeshi women in Ponders End'. Researchers: Eleonore Kofman and Louise Ryan - Community Aid. 2007 - 2008 £9,000


Louise supervises PhDs in issues related to migration, gender, ethnicity and identity.

To find out more about our PhD programmes, go to:
Studying for a PhD in Sociology

To apply for a place and for the scholarship, go to:


Publications since 2005

Recent Books

Ryan, L. (2018) Winning the Vote for Women: the Irish Citizen Newspaper and the Suffrage Movement in Ireland: Four Courts press.

Ryan, L. and Ward, M. (2018) Irish Women and the Vote: Becoming Citizens: Irish Academic Press.

McKie L and Ryan L. (2015) An End to the Crisis of Empirical Sociology? Trends and Challenges in Social Research: Routledge.

Ryan, L. U. Erel and A. D’Angelo (2015) Migrant Capital: Networks, Identities, Strategies, Palgrave Publisher.

Ryan, L. and W. Webster (eds) (2008) Gendering Migration: Masculinity, Femininity and Ethnicity in Post-War Migration to Britain: Ashgate Publishers.

Policy Briefs

Policy Briefs arising from the project - Reducing Early School Leaving in the EU (2013-18) funded by the European Commission, FP7 programme:

Articles since 2005

Ryan, L. and Lorinc, M. (2018) Perceptions, Prejudices and Possibilities: young people narrating apprenticeship experiences, British Journal of Sociology of Education.

Ryan, L. (2018) Differentiated embedding: Polish migrants in London negotiating belonging over time, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Ryan, L. (2017) EU citizens in the UK: after the shock comes the strategy to secure status, LSE Brexit blog.

Ryan, L. M., & D’Angelo, A. (2017) Changing Times: Migrants’ Social Network Analysis and the Challenges of Longitudinal Research. Social Networks.

Tubaro P, Ryan L and D'Angelo A. (2016) The visual sociogram in qualitative and mixed-methods research. Sociological Research Online 21.

Ryan L, Rodriguez ML and Trevena P. (2016) Opportunities and challenges of unplanned follow-up interviews: Experiences with Polish migrants in London. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung 17.

Ryan L and Maxwell C. (2016) Social Class and Sociology: The State of the Debate Between 1967 and 1979. Sociology 50: E1-E11.

D'Angelo A, Ryan L and Tubaro P. (2016) Visualization in mixed-methods research on social networks. Sociological Research Online 21.

von Koppenfels AK, Mulholland J and Ryan L. (2015) 'Gotta Go Visit Family': Reconsidering the Relationship Between Tourism and Transnationalism. Population, Space and Place 21: 612-624.

Ryan L and Kurdi E. (2015) ‘Always up for the craic’: young Irish professional migrants narrating ambiguous positioning in contemporary Britain. Social Identities 21: 257-272.

Ryan L, Klekowski Von Koppenfels A and Mulholland J. (2015) 'The distance between us': A comparative examination of the technical, spatial and temporal dimensions of the transnational social relationships of highly skilled migrants. Global Networks 15: 198-216.

Ryan L. (2015) "Inside" and "outside" of what or where? Researching migration through multi-positionalities. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung 16.

Ryan L. (2015) Working Lives: gender, migration and employment in Britain, 1945-2007. Social & Cultural Geography 16: 495-496.

Ryan L. (2015) Friendship-making: Exploring Network Formations through the Narratives of Irish Highly Qualified Migrants in Britain. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 41: 1664-1683.

D'Angelo A and Ryan L. (2015) Social network analysis: A mixed method approach. An End to the Crisis of Empirical Sociology?: Trends and Challenges in Social Research. 152-170.

Ryan L, Mulholland J and Agoston A. (2014) Talking ties: Reflecting on network visualisation and qualitative interviewing. Sociological Research Online 19.

Ryan L and Mulholland J. (2014) 'Wives Are the Route to Social Life': An Analysis of Family Life and Networking amongst Highly Skilled Migrants in London. Sociology 48: 251-267.

Ryan L and Mulholland J. (2014) Trading Places: French Highly Skilled Migrants Negotiating Mobility and Emplacement In London. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 40: 584-600.

Ryan L and Mulholland J. (2014) French connections: The networking strategies of French highly skilled migrants in London. Global Networks 14: 148-166.

Ryan L. (2014) 'Islam does not change': Young people narrating negotiations of religion and identity. Journal of Youth Studies 17: 446-460.

Mulholland J and Ryan L. (2014) Doing the business: Variegation, opportunity and intercultural experience among intra-EU highly-skilled migrants. International Migration 52: 55-68.

Ryan L and Sales R. (2013) Family Migration: The Role of Children and Education in Family Decision-Making Strategies of Polish Migrants in London. International Migration 51: 90-103.

Ryan L. (2013) Compare and contrast: Understanding Irish migration to Britain in a wider context. Irish Studies Review 21: 6-19.

Endelstein L and Ryan L. (2013) Dressing Religious Bodies in Public Spaces: Gender, Clothing and Negotiations of Stigma Among Jews in Paris and Muslims in London. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science 47: 249-264.

Ryan L. (2012) Young Muslims in London: Gendered negotiations of local, national and transnational places. Muslims in Britain: Making Social and Political Space. 101-119.

McKie L and Ryan L. (2012) Exploring Trends and Challenges in Sociological Research. Sociology 46: 1-7.

Ryan L, Kofman E and Aaron P. (2011) Insiders and outsiders: Working with peer researchers in researching Muslim communities. International Journal of Social Research Methodology 14: 49-60.

Ryan L. (2011) Transnational Relations: Family Migration among Recent Polish Migrants in London. International Migration 49: 80-103.

Ryan L. (2011) Muslim women negotiating collective stigmatization: 'we're just normal people'. Sociology 45: 1045-1060.

Ryan L. (2011) Migrants' social networks and weak ties: Accessing resources and constructing relationships post-migration. Sociological Review 59: 707-724.

Ryan L. (2010) Becoming polish in London: Negotiating ethnicity through migration. Social Identities 16: 359-376.

Ryan L. (2010) Muslims in Britain: Race, Place and Identities. Political Geography 29: 55-56.

Ryan L, Sales R, Tilki M, et al. (2009) Family Strategies and Transnational Migration: Recent Polish Migrants in London. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35: 61-77.

Ryan L, Sales R and Tilki M. (2009) Recent polish migrants in london: Accessing and participating in social networks across borders. Polish Migration to the UK in the 'New' European Union: After 2004. 149-166.

Ryan L. (2009) How women use family networks to facilitate migration: A comparative study of Irish and Polish women in Britain. History of the Family 14: 217-231.

Ryan L, Sales R, Tilki M, et al. (2008) Social networks, social support and social capital: The experiences of recent Polish migrants in London. Sociology 42: 672-690.

Ryan L. (2008) Made Holy: Irish women religious at home and abroad. Women's History Review 17: 138-140.

Ryan L. (2008) 'I had a sister in England': Family-led migration, social networks and Irish nurses. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 34: 453-470.

Ryan L. (2007) Who do you think you are? Irish nurses encountering ethnicity and constructing identity in Britain. Ethnic and Racial Studies 30: 416-438.

Ryan L. (2007) Understanding contemporary Ireland. Environment and Planning A 39: 3033-3034.

Ryan L. (2007) Migrant women, social networks and motherhood: The experiences of Irish nurses in Britain. Sociology 41: 295-312.

Ryan L. (2007) Hard labour: The forgotten voices of Latvian migrant volunteer workers. Women's History Review 16: 792-794.

Ryan L. (2007) Beyond cannery row: Sicilian women, immigration, and community in monterey, california, 1915-99. Women's History Review 16: 794-796.

Ryan L. (2007) Love and war in London: A woman's diary, 1939-1942 by Olivia Cockett. Women's History Review 16: 125-126.

Ryan L and Golden A. (2006) 'Tick the box please': A reflexive approach to doing quantitative social research. Sociology 40: 1191-1200.