Nottingham researcher awarded £1.2 million Fellowship for work into prison regulation and safety

Friday, 24 April 2020

Dr Philippa Tomczak has been awarded a £1.2 million grant through the prestigious UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowship programme to further her work into prison regulation for safer prisons and societies.

Over an initial four years, the fellowship will support Dr Tomczak, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, to reconceptualise prison regulation by including a broader range of representatives from multiple sectors – operating across stakeholder groups, from local to global scales. This will enable a step change in prison regulation and boost the potential to improve prison safety.

Dr Tomczak’s research covers the sociology of punishment, focussing on the regulation of criminal justice detention, deaths in detention, and the penal voluntary sector. She is currently working with the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, using her research to inform Ombudsman Fatal Incident Investigation reports and recommendations.

The UKRI Fellowship is the latest accolade for Dr Tomczak, who holds a Nottingham Research Fellowship in the School of Sociology and Social Policy. Between 2015 and 2018 she was a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow and British Academy Rising Star at the University of Sheffield Centre for Criminological Research. She published the first monograph on 'The Penal Voluntary Sector', which won the 2017 British Society of Criminology Book Prize and founded CRIMVOL: the international criminal justice voluntary sector research network.

The UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship initiative aims to support the creation of a new cohort of research and innovation leaders who will have links across different sectors and disciplines. The grant supports challenging and novel projects, and the development of the individual, and can pay for team members’ wages, equipment and other needs.

I am delighted to be recognised by UKRI as a future leader and that this important research area has merited substantive funding. I look forward to working on this with my excellent colleagues at Nottingham and beyond.
Dr Philippa Tomczak

Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, said: “The Future Leaders Fellowships are UKRI’s flagship talent programme, designed to foster and nurture the research and innovation leaders of the future.

“We are delighted to support these outstanding researchers and innovators across universities, research organisations and businesses.”

Kirsty Grainger, Director of the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships, said: “The Future Leaders Fellows represent some of the most brilliant people working in the country. We’re supporting researchers from every background – from the arts to medicine, and the social sciences to engineering – helping them become the research and innovation leaders of the future.”

This cross-UK Research and Innovation scheme supports early career researchers and innovators with outstanding potential in universities, UK registered businesses, and other research and user environments including research councils' institutes and laboratories.

The support will enable each fellow to tackle ambitious and challenging research and innovation and develop their own careers.

Fellows benefit from:

  • A scheme that is committed to supporting excellent researchers and innovators regardless of their background.  Fellowships can be held on a part-time basis for personal commitments and/or as part of a job share.
  • Networking across their cohort of some of the UK’s most talented researchers and innovators from different disciplines and sectors, putting them at the forefront of modern, interdisciplinary research.
  • A career boost, including time and investment for training and professional development, providing a route to an open-ended contract for academically hosted fellows (in line with organisational policies and practices).

Story credits

More information is available from Dr Philippa Tomczak in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham, at; or Katie Andrews, Media Relations Manager in the Press Office at the University of Nottingham, at

Katie Andrews - Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Social Sciences
Phone: 0115 951 5751

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