Professor Mark Priestley

Professor Mark Priestley


My initial academic training was in Philosophy and Politics (BA), followed by a Masters in Social and Public Policy (MA). My doctoral thesis (PhD) involved a study of disability politics in the implementation of independent living and community care policy. I have worked in the School since 1997, as a research fellow, lecturer and senior academic. I was formerly Head of the School of Sociology and Social Policy (2011-2014), and Pro-dean for Research in the Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (2004-2007). I am a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, adjunct Visiting Professor at the National University of Ireland Galway and administrator of the international online discussion forum disability-research. From 2008-2019 I was Scientific Director of the European Commission's Academic Network of European Disability experts (ANED). My research focuses on disability policy and politics, mostly in European and international comparative contexts, using both quantitative and qualitative methods, which translates into policy relevant analysis. I am often engaged in policy advice to government departments in the UK and internationally.


  • School research impact champion

Research interests

My research interests include international and comparative perspectives on public policy, particularly disability policy and notably in Europe, as well as issues of policy process, monitoring and governance, for example in relation to international human rights policies. I am particularly interested in research that links social, political and economic inequalities with the political claims of the disabled people's movement, and with methods of evidencing the progressive realization of rights in different societies. My current research involves mixed and comparative methods, often involving policy analysis and indicator development. My current projects include collaboration in the provision of European Disability Expertise (EDE) to the European Commission and the EU Marie Curie training network project ‘Disability Advocacy Research in Europe’ (DARE). More information about the former research programme and outputs of the Academic Network of European Disability experts is available on the ANED website.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BA hons Philosophy and Politics (Leeds 1984)
  • MA Social and Public Policy (Leeds 1993)
  • PhD (Leeds 1997)

Professional memberships

  • Academy of Social Sciences
  • Higher Education Academy
  • Social Policy Association

Student education

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and have been teaching adults since 1986. I oversee the School’s programme coordination for the BA Social Policy, MA in Social and Public Policy, and the Masters in Public Administration. I often convene undergraduate modules in social policy and disability rights, as well as teaching on postgraduate modules in social policy analysis and disability studies. I supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations. I lead the Level 2 core module Key Debates in Social Policy (SLSP2650)

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Disability Studies

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>