About the Centre

The Just Futures Research Centre is an internationally renowned centre of excellence for innovative research that seeks to make a difference in response to contemporary social problems affecting children, young people, their families and communities. Established for over 25 years, the Centre is a dynamic space for innovating thinking and practice and enabling learning for change in organisations and communities.

The Centre comprises a multi-disciplinary team of highly regarded academics from across the University drawn from areas including social work, health, social policy, sociology, geography, political science, psychology and education. The Centre hosts a vibrant postgraduate research community including students from overseas in fully equipped state of the art facilities.

We are committed to collaborative research that seeks to make a difference, which means that our work is participant-focused, practice-based, policy relevant and has real-world impact.

We seek to involve professionals, as well as children, youth and families as research partners using innovative, creative and participatory methodologies to support learning for change. Through our work we create opportunities for dialogue, learning and reflection as well as theoretical and methodological development to build capacity for change in organisations, communities and public service systems.

Our aim is to enhance understanding and generate new knowledge and evidence-informed changes in policies and practices in order to promote just, equitable and sustainable lives for children, young people in their families and communities.

The Centre has expertise in service evaluation and improvement projects, knowledge exchange and public engagement working with local authorities, NHS trusts, community and voluntary sector organisations, schools and government policy initiatives, using knowledge effectively to inform developments in policy and practice. Centre staff are experienced in coproduction, participatory action research and public engagement for maximizing impact from research.

Thus, our vision is located very firmly in a commitment to work together to understand the challenges and co-produce the solutions that will be needed to bring about more just futures.

We seek to achieve our research aspirations by:

  • Deepening understanding of the impact of contemporary crises (inequalities, climate change, changing political economy, mental health and wellbeing etc.) on children, families & communities.
  • Prioritising research and change with people living in difficult circumstances
  • Developing thinking and practice to better support social, geographical and lifecourse transitions
  • Building capacity and connectivity through engagement, dissemination, and impact to meaningfully engage 'less heard' grassroots groups & organisations
  • Developing new thinking and practice for realising inclusive and sustainable communities that promote social justice & enhance well-being
  • Enabling citizen participation in research, decision-making and change processes that are rooted in lived contexts and learning in action
  • Work in collaboration using participatory approaches to coproduce alternative community-based solutions to social problems
  • Enabling social and organisational learning for change in communities and services

We welcome opportunities for new partnerships and hope you enjoy finding out more about our projects and publications. Please contact us if you would like to discuss opportunities for working with the Centre or require further information.

Professor Barry Percy-Smith (B.Percy-Smith@hud.ac.uk) 01484 473131
Director of the Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Research


Professor Brid Featherstone (Assoc. Director) (B.M.Featherstone@hud.ac.uk )  

Professor Phil Brown (Assoc. Director) (P.A.Brown@hud.ac.uk)