Matt Henn

Matt Henn


School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)
Politics and International Relations


Research role

Matt is Professor of Social Research and is based within the Division of Politics and International Relations.

As part of his responsibilities, Matt takes a leading role in research matters, and is coordinating research activity for the Politics and International Studies unit in advance of the HEFCE 2020 Research Excellence Framework (REF). Matt is an active member of the Citizens, Parties and Political Action research cluster within the Division. He is also a member of the Research Committee for the School of Social Sciences and of the Research Committee for the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences.

Matt is also an active researcher, and is currently working on a project that has received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council to investigate young people's participation in politics.

Teaching and learning

Matt is the Postgraduate Research Tutor for all PhD students in the School of Social Sciences. In this role, Matt is responsible for over 65 PhD research students in Politics & International Relations, Psychology, Sociology & Criminology, and in Social Work and Professional Practice. As part of this role, he oversees the recruitment of all PhD research students for the School, the coordination of our research training programme, and ensures that our provision complies with the guidelines of both the Quality Assurance Agency, and relevant Research Councils. He is Vice Chair of the College Research Degrees Committee, and is a member of the University Research Degrees Committee.

His general teaching field is in the broad area of Social Science Research Methods, and he contributes this teaching to a number of academic courses, including the MA Politics and the University's research training course for PhD research students.

Career overview

Matt has worked in the Higher Education sector since 1988. He started his career as a researcher in the Department of Economics and Politics at NTU when it was called Nottingham Polytechnic, and in 1992 he joined the University of North London as a Lecturer in Social Science Research Methods.

He returned to NTU in 1994 and was appointed Course Leader for the MSc Research Methods - a course that became an integral part of our PhD research degrees programme. He became a member of the Faculty Research Degrees Committee the following year (subsequently chairing that committee from 2002-2004).

In 2004 he joined the Nottingham Trent University Graduate School and became Head of Research Degrees and Research Training for the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences; in 2012 he moved to the School of Social Sciences and is now the School Postgraduate Research Tutor for all PhD students.  He continues to have an active role in strategic management of postgraduate research at School, College and university levels through membership of key committees and working parties across NTU.

During the last few years, Matt has been active in developing teaching and learning opportunities internationally, and these activities align with Nottingham Trent University's internationalising ambitions as reflected in the NTU Strategic Plan 2010-15. For instance, he has presented key-note speeches and talks at several international events to inform and enhance curriculum development and educational policy for doctoral programmes, in countries such as Macedonia, Croatia, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Spain and Morocco. He has also set up a number of ERASMUS staff and doctoral mobility agreements with strategically selected partner universities (in Spain, Italy, Hungary and France). He is also a Visiting Professor for the 'Doctoral Research Methods Programme' at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.

In 2010 Matt was awarded a Chair in Social Research as recognition of his contribution to Nottingham Trent University through his leadership of postgraduate programmes of study and research training, and his contribution to international debates and discussion about PhD-related matters.

Research areas

Research Interests:

Matt’s research interests are in the following areas, and he is interested in supervising PhD research students within these fields:

  • youth and politics
  • voting and elections
  • political parties
  • political participation
  • social science research methodology

Matt is particularly interested in supervising projects on voting behaviour and political engagement amongst young people globally, and is especially interested in why this generation appears to have little interest in mainstream politics.

Current research projects

  • 2011-present, Young people and politics in Britain: How do young people participate in politics and what can be done to strengthen their political connection? (with Nick Foard), funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), £77,000. View more details of the project. This project is an extension of a £31,000 project funded by the ESRC in 2002 (with Dr Mark Weinstein).

The research project focuses on young people's engagement with the political process, and considers such wider issues as political participation, voter apathy, and citizenship. The research has resulted in several high profile publications, together with significant interest from the political parties, as well as from the national, local and international media.

Previous research grants

  • 2002-2003, ESRC, £30.8k for a project entitled, First-time voters' attitudes towards party politics in Britain (with Dr Mark Weinstein)
  • 2001, The Nuffield Foundation, £3.5k for a project entitled The impact of public opinion research techniques at the 2001 Polish Parliamentary Election.
  • 2000-2001, ESRC, £10.4k for the end of Programme Evaluation of the Whitehall Programme, (with Professor Chris Bellamy, Nottingham Trent University).
  • 2000, The Nottingham Trent University Research Enhancement Fund, £1.5k for a project on Election Rhetorics in Post-Communist Poland.
  • 1998–1999, The Nottinghamshire County Council, £4.4k for the Youth and Politics research programme (with Dr Mark Weinstein, Nottingham Trent University, and Dr Dominic Wring, Loughborough University).

External activity

Matt is a member of the UK Political Studies Association, and of the Elections, Public Opinion and Parties specialist group of the UK PSA, and of the American Political Studies Association.

He has been a member of, and advisor to, the Nottinghamshire County Council Elections group, and advises political parties and citizenship groups about issues concerning young peoples' political participation in Britain.

He has previously been a member of the steering group of the Nottingham Speakers' Corner Trust.

Matt regularly contributes to the broadcast and printed media on matters concerning elections, political parties, voting behaviour, and voting apathy.

He is widely sought as an adviser on doctoral research.  Examples include:

  • Adviser to the Macedonian Ministry of Education for the Macedonian Education Modernization Project (Skopie, 2009)
    Keynote speech to Rectors and Vice-Rectors at the UNICA Masterclass (Dubrovnik, 2009)
  • Keynote speech at King Saud University (Riyadh, 2010)
  • Invited speaker at fora in Barcelona, Rome and Angers in 2010 and 2011
  • Invited speaker at Conference on Structuring Doctoral education in Europe: Appraisal and Good Practices, at University of Tetouan (2011)
  • Visiting Professor for the 'Doctoral Research Methods Programme' at the University Autonoma Barcelona (ongoing)
  • Regular presenter for VITAE, which aims to support doctoral researchers and research staff in higher education institutions and research institutes (2010-present)

Sponsors and collaborators

The funders for Matt's research work have been:

  • The Nottinghamshire County Council
  • The Economic and Social Research Council
  • The Nuffield Foundation.

Press expertise

  • Politics and youth
  • Voting and elections
  • Political parties