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 next 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). Matt is an active member of the Citizenship, Democracy and Transformation Research Group within the Department, as well as the School of Social Sciences’ Nottingham Centre for Children, Young People and Families. He is also a member of the Research Committee for the School of Social Sciences.
Matt is also an active researcher. He is author of Opinion Polls and Volatile Electorates (1998), A Critical Introduction to Social Research (with Mark Weinstein and Nick Foard, second addition 2009), and the forthcoming book, Youthquake 2017: The Rise of Young Cosmopolitans in Britain (with James Sloam, 2018). He has published numerous journal articles on youth and political participation, opinion polling in Eastern Europe, and political campaigning – most recently for: British Journal of Sociology; International Politics Reviews; Political Insight; Societies; Education, Citizenship and Social Justice; Political Studies; Policy and Politics; Social Policy and Society; Parliamentary Affairs; Aloma - Journal of Psychology, Education and Sports Science; Sociology Review; Teaching Citizenship; Journal of Youth Studies.
Matt has recently been awarded funding by the Economic and Social Research Council to work on several research projects:
- “Young people and politics in Britain: How do young people participate in politics and what can be done to strengthen their political connection?”
- “UK in a Changing Europe: Co-producing an e-tool to increase youth involvement in the UK referendum on EU membership”
- “The 2017 General Election, Brexit and young people's futures: enabling UK youth to understand, speak out and influence Brexit in a changing Europe”.
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 100 PhD research students in Education, Politics and International Relations, Psychology, Sociology, Criminology, and 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 relevant Research Councils. He is a longstanding member of the College Research Degrees Committee for over 20 years, and is a member of the University Research Degrees Committee.
His general teaching field is in the broad areas of citizenship and political participation and in 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.
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 Nottingham Trent University (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. 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 several countries. He wasd also a Visiting Professor for the 'Doctoral Research Methods Programme' at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona from 2010 until 2017.
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 Doctoral-related matters.
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
Current research projects
- 2016-present, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 'The UK in a Changing Europe' funded project, "Co-producing an E-tool to increase youth involvement in the UK referendum on EU membership" (award 4030006249) (2016-2017). Awarded £9,345
- 2016-present, Co- Investigator ESRC funded project, "UK in a Changing Europe: Extension of the Me and EU website" (2017-2018) (follow-on award, £8,000).
The research project focuses on voting behaviour and political engagement amongst young people globally. Matt is especially interested in why this generation appears to have little interest in mainstream politics, and his research 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
- 2011-2016, ESRC, £77,000 for a project, '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).
- 2002-2003, ESRC, £30.8k for a project, '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).
- 2000-2001, 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 and Dr Dominic Wring).
Matt is a member of the UK Political Studies Association (UK PSA), and of the Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, and Young People and Politics specialist groups of the UK PSA, and of the American Political Studies Association (APSA).
He has previously 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 Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
- The Nuffield Foundation.
- The Nottinghamshire County Council
Through his work, Matt has connected with a variety of different external organisations and groups, including:
- The Local Area Research and Intelligence Association (LARIA)
- Citizenship Foundation
- National Union of Students
- Institute of Citizenship
- British Youth Council
- Association for Citizenship Teaching
- The Electoral Commission
- IPPR North
He is interested in exploring possibilities for developing projects with external organisations and groups advocating young people’s civic and political participation.
- Politics and youth
- Voting and elections
- Political parties