The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Professor Robin Humphrey

Director of Postgraduate Research Training Programme



Robin Humphrey is Director of Postgraduate Research Training, Newcastle University, UK. He started his academic career in research centres at Durham University and in the Medical School at Newcastle University, before becoming a lecturer in social science research methods at Newcastle. When doctoral research training expanded in the 1990s, he left undergraduate teaching and started to develop and direct a wide-ranging, Postgraduate Research Training Programme in the social sciences and humanities, which now incorporates researcher development into interdisciplinary research training modules and workshops.

He has published widely on doctoral pedagogy and policy, and was a key participant in the European University's Doctoral Programmes Project, which framed work on the third ‘Doctoral' cycle of the Bolonga process in Europe. In 2011, he was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the UK Higher Education Academy for his contribution to interdisciplinary doctoral research training, and in 2015 he became a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In 2018, he was very proud to be awarded the completely student-led Newcastle TEA (Teaching Excellence Award) for his 'Outstanding Contribution to Teaching'.

He co-organised (with Dr Alison Leggett, Bristol University, Jane Nolan, MBE, Newcastle University, and Professor Tetsuo Sarawagi, Kyoto University) an interdisciplinary and cross cultural Researcher Development School in Bristol (July 2013) and then Kyoto (December 2013), the inaugural event of the UK/Japanese RENKEI collaboration in higher education, facilitated by the British Council, Japan. The RENKEI School was short listed for the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to Researcher Development', 2014.

For a short video about the School, go here:

Roles and Responsibilities

Director of Postgraduate Research Training Programme,
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences;
DPD and Exams Officer for PG Certificate in Research Training and for interdisciplinary research training (HSS) modules for research masters and IPhD programmes

For details of the Postgraduate Research Training Programme, go here:


Current Work

Writing across Boundaries: Explorations in Research, Writing and Rhetoric in Qualitative Research, ESRC Researcher Development Initiative (with Bob Simpson, Durham University).

Postgraduate Supervision

I have supervised 15 doctoral researchers to completion, on a wide variety of subjects. I am currently supervising:

Clare Vaughan 'Pathways of Violence and Fear: A Biographical Investigation of Young Women Experiencing Homelessness', (NEDTC ESRC-funded 1 3 studentship; with Professor Robert Hollands, Sociology, and Professor Rachel Pain, Human Geography).


Esteem Indicators

Outstanding Contribution to Teaching award, HASS Faculty, 2018

Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 2015

National Teaching Fellow 2011 

Elected Chair, Biographical perspectives on European Societies Research Network, European Sociological Association. 2004-2008.


Funded Research Projects
2000 Pathways to Youth Crime Reduction, Youth Justice Board, £172,000.

2000 Youth Inclusion: An Evaluative Study of the North East Region, Youth Justice Board, £143,000.

2000 Early Intervention for Young Offenders, Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council, £52,394

2000 Youth Crime Audit: City of Gateshead. Funded by Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council, £5,000.

2000 Bail Support Evaluation. Funded by Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council £12,000.

2002 Youth Inclusion, extension to existing project, Youth Justice Board, £71,500.

2002 Teenage pregnancy and parenting: a study of inter-generational transmission of cultural beliefs and practices, ESRC CASE studentship in collaboration with Northumberland Health Authority. Northumberland Health Authority contribution: £22,500

2002 Early Intervention for Young Offenders, Housing and Health factors, Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council, £4,467.

2003 Mentoring Young Offenders, an evaluation, South Tyneside Youth Offending Team, £7,843.

2003 Youth Inclusion, extension to existing project, Youth Justice Board, £38,500.

2004 YOT Performance Measures: The Validity of Recidivism Rates at the Local Level, commissioned by Gateshead Youth Offending Team, £3,400.

2004 EUA Doctoral Programmes Project, coordinating group for Network 3, on Quality in Doctoral Education (with Professor Ella Ritchie and Dr Stan Taylor)


Postgraduate Teaching

Masters and Research Postgraduates
LESS804 Introduction to Qualitative Methods (Module leader)
LESS805 Introduction to Quantitative Methods (Module Leader)

Research Postgraduates
Managing a PhD (Module Leader)
Research in the Wider Context (Module leader)