Our academics nominated for top national research award

World-leading researchers from our Department of Urban Studies and Planning have been named as finalists in the 2017 Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Awards for Research Excellence.

Dr Alasdair Rae

Dr Tom Moore

Emeritus Professor Tony Crook, Peter Bibby and Dr Ed Ferrari have been nominated for the Academic Award for their groundbreaking study, New Housing Association Development and its Potential to Reduce Concentrations of Deprivation: An English Case Study.

A collaboration with colleagues from the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics, and funded by the Homes and Communities Agency, the study showed how a combination of housing investment programmes and planning obligations agreements reduced spatial concentrations of social deprivation. These enabled deprived households to move to new affordable rented housing in areas of low deprivation and better-off households to move into deprived inner city regeneration areas and buying new shared ownership homes there.

Emeritus Professor Tony Crook said: “I am delighted to have been shortlisted for these awards again. Last year, my colleagues and I won the academic excellence award for our book on 'Planning Gain' and being shortlisted two years running, (this time for our work on how planning obligations reduce spatial concentrations of social deprivation) is a testament to the high theoretical and technical quality of our work, together with its policy and practice relevance."

Dr Tom Moore has been named as a finalist in the Early Career Researcher Award category for his project, Replication through partnership: The evolution of partnerships between Community Land Trusts and Housing Associations in England.

An Associate Editor of the influential International Journal of Housing Policy, Dr Moore joined the department as a Lecturer in 2016. He has recently been commissioned to undertake a national evaluation of urban community land trusts by the National Community Land Trust (CLT) Network.

Dr Moore said: “It is a great honour to be shortlisted for the RTPI Awards for Research Excellence. Community land trusts are an important aspect of housing and planning practice, and this paper makes a significant contribution to our practical and theoretical understanding of the purpose and nature of partnerships between community land trusts and housing associations."

Dr Alasdair Rae has been nominated for the Sir Peter Hall Award for Wider Engagement for his project, An Economic Geography of the United States: From Commutes to Megaregions, in collaboration with Dr Garrett Nelson from Dartmouth College, an Ivy League member and one of the oldest higher education institutions in the United States.

Alongside his teaching and research at our University, Dr Rae is the Director of the Q-step centre at the Sheffield Methods Institute, a Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)-funded programme designed to promote a step-change in UK quantitative social sciences training.

Being shortlisted two years running is a testament to the high theoretical and technical quality of our work, together with its policy and practice relevance.


Masters student Nathan Makwana has been nominated for the Student Award for his project, The Impact of Housing Related Welfare Reforms on the Enactment of Front-line Housing Practices. A recipient of the highly competitive RTPI Future Planners Bursary, Nathan is due to begin work as a planning officer for a local authority following his graduation.

The RTPI Awards for Research excellence celebrate the most impactful and high quality spatial planning research from across the UK and Ireland. With more than 24,000 members, the institute champions the work of academics whose research makes a real difference to the prosperity of society.

Dr Michael Harris, RTPI’s Head of Research, said: “The RTPI Research Awards have gone from strength to strength. The growing body of high quality research work in planning is impressive but more importantly, it is a positive sign that more academic researchers want to reach out to practitioners and policymakers with insights and findings that can inform and influence their work.”

The winners will be announced on Tuesday 12 September during the 2017 UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference at Cardiff University.

Congratulations and good luck to all our shortlisted colleagues.