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Leverhulme Trust Programme

The Leverhulme Trust Programme consists of an interdisciplinary seminar for Leverhulme Scholarship students together with a small group of other doctoral students from across the School with funding from other sources who are also working in the area of inequalities.

Much research on inequality over recent years has pointed to the need for interdisciplinary work. While the study of inequality was originally dominated by economics, it is now more clearly understood how deeply rooted is inequality (in all its multiple dimensions) in embedded social practices and institutions.

This brings in disciplines from economics, political science and political economy, to sociology, anthropology, law, philosophy and psychology, as well as sensitivity to history and culture. Hence, the overarching aim of the Leverhulme programme is to increase our understanding of the mechanisms that link the economic dimensions of inequality with their social, cultural, psychological and political dimensions.

The Leverhulme Trust Programme is convened by Professor David Soskice and Professor Nicola Lacey.

Programme Structure

In the first year of the programme for the 2016-17 cohort there will be a fortnightly core interdisciplinary seminar. There will be 10 of these through the academic year.

In Michaelmas Term the seminar will combine informal teaching and discussion. The intention is to cover the main methodological approaches to the study of inequality, while discussing how they should be seen from an interdisciplinary perspective. 

In the Lent Term, the seminars will be based on student presentation and discussion of their future ideas. The broad assumption throughout the seminars is that neither teaching nor presentations should be technical, in part because we want the cohort where necessary to develop competences in explaining technical ideas in non-technical language.

These seminars will take place on Tuesdays at 12-2pm, alternating with the III’s regular seminar in the same slot.

In the remaining years of the programme (so in the 2017-18 academic year for 2016-15 cohort), we will have monthly meetings. These will take the form of presentation and discussion of on-going research by the students in the cohort, followed by informal discussion and ‘refreshment’.

How to Apply

Applications for the 2017-18 Leverhulme Programme cohort will open in September 2017.

Candidates will be asked to write an application of no more than one page explaining how their plans for doctoral studies link to the concerns of the Leverhulme Programme. 

Candidates will need to obtain the support of their supervisors who need to write no more than two sentences of support.

Applications are to be sent directly to n.m.lacey@lse.ac.uk (copied to d.w.soskice@lse.ac.uk and e.ryan@lse.ac.uk) by the specified due date (to be confirmed).

Please note that becoming part of this cohort means that you continue to be based in your home Departments - it entails that in addition to all normal Departmental expectations you have the opportunity of Cross-Departmental support and engagement.

Leverhulme Programme Participants 2016-17

Imani G. Strong  is a Leverhulme Trust Scholar in the department of Anthropology, where she is supervised by Laura Bear and Deborah James. Her PhD research is focused on African-American entrepreneurship and affirmative action programs in the United States. She is especially interested in the social and political processes surrounding network and community formation, the role of the state and government intervention on capitalist markets, and racial identity as it relates to class and sociality. Imani holds an MSc in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford, Hertford College and she graduated summa cum laude from Mount Holyoke College with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology.


Joel Suss  is a Leverhulme Trust Scholar based out of the department of Social Policy and CASE research centre. He will be researching the consequences of economic inequality for individual behaviour and decision-making. Joel graduated from LSE in 2013 with a Master's in Public Administration. Following graduation, he worked at the LSE Public Policy Group as Managing Editor of the school's British Politics and Policy blog. Since September 2015, Joel has been working for the Bank of England.


George Maier  is a Leverhulme Trust Scholar researching the causality of digital inequalities in the contexts of wider systemic inequalities, but also with a focus on government policymaking and problematising the contemporary focus on neoliberal approaches to addressing inequality. George completed an MA in Critical Theory and Political Science at the University of Nottingham, and has previously worked as Director of Media and Communications for The Renewal Trust.

Emma Taylor

Emma Taylor  is a Leverhulme Award doctoral student in the department of Sociology, co-supervised by Mike Savage and Rita Astuti (Anthropology). Her PhD research seeks to investigate how the (re)production of privilege occurs within an independent school setting in England through a specific focus on the concept of confidence. The study will explore how confidence is inculated as well as the ways in which it is articulated and embodied by students. Emma holds a BA in Geography from UCL and a PGCE from the Institute of Education; she has nine years of experience teaching in secondary schools. She also holds a MSc in Anthropology and Development from LSE for which she was awarded a distinction and the Lucy Mair prize for best dissertation.

Selena Gray

Selena Gray  is a Leverhulme Award doctoral student in the department of Sociology, supervised by Suki Ali. Her PhD research seeks to investigate how some groups of adolescent girls become vulnerable to victimisation within gangs with a particular focus on street gangs and grooming gangs. Selena holds a BA in Anthropology and Sociology from Goldsmiths, as well as a MSc in Political Sociology from LSE.

Celestin Okoroji

Celestin Okoroji  is a doctoral student in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, co-supervised by Dr. Ilka Gleibs and Prof Sandra Jovchelovitch. His research aims to investigate the relationship between the UK social representation of unemployed benefit claimants and its impact on social identity, the ways in which this affects the unemployed person's sense of agency, unemployed persons' treatment by significant civil servants and ultimately their ability to find work. He has recently completed an MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology at LSE, where his dissertation was titled 'The Nadir of British Life: Social Representations of Unemployed Benefit Claimants'.

Celestin was also awarded the Popular Prize at the LSE Research Festival 2016, for his poster 'The Nadir of British Life: social representations of the unemployed'.

Laura Sochas

Laura Sochas is a PhD student in Population Studies, conducting a mixed methods study around the nature and effective response to inequalities in access to maternal health care in Southern Africa. Laura holds an Msc in Research Methods and an MPA in International Development from the LSE. She previously worked as a consultant on maternal and newborn health issues for clients such as DFID, UNFPA, and the UN Secretary General's office.

Maria-Christina Vogkli

Maria-Christina Vogkli is an ESRC doctoral student in the Department of Sociology. Her PhD research explores in a comparative way how socio-spatial inequalities imprint themselves in the public space of Athens and London under conditions of austerity urbanism from the perspective of the homeless. Maria-Christina holds a MSc in Social Research from Birkbeck College, University of London and a MSc in Sociology from LSE. Her broader academic interests include the study of inequalities and social exclusion, urban sociology and ethnographic research.


Leverhulme Programme Participants 2015-16


Kristina Kolbe is a Leverhulme Award doctoral student in the department of Sociology, supervised by Mike Savage and Fabien Accominotti. In her PhD project, Kristina looks at newly arising forms of cultural expression, production and consumption in contemporary urban spheres in light of an increasing sociocultural diversity. More specifically, her research focuses on emerging forms of cultural capital, aiming to examine the role of diversified settings for processes of cultural and social representation, exploring in particular the reformation of cosmopolitan urban elites. Holding a Master of Science from the LSE in ‘Culture and Society’ and having completed her undergraduate studies in musicology and social sciences at the Humboldt University Berlin, Kristina is especially interested in interdisciplinary approaches to cultural sociology and questions of social inequality.


Fabian Mushövel is a Leverhulme doctoral student at the European Institute, where he is supervised by Paul de Grauwe and Waltraud Schelkle. In his thesis, Fabian analyses how austerity policies affect inequality in Europe. His other research interests include the political economy of the welfare state and the Economic and Monetary Union. Fabian has previously worked as a research assistant and analyst at the European Institute and the Centre for Economic Performance, and as a consultant for Chatham House. He holds an MSc in Political Economy of Europe from LSE and a 1st State Examination from the University of Giessen, Germany.


Nora Ratzmann is a Leverhulme Research Student at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion and the Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics. She holds an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the LSE, and an MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy from the University of Oxford. She gained first work experience at the public policy research institute RAND Europe, the International Institute for Educational Planning IIEP-UNESCO and AEGIS Trust Rwanda. Her research examines EU migrants' (in)equalities of access to German social security, with a particular focus on their interactions with the street-level bureaucracy.


Nell Beecham is an ESRC doctoral student in the Department of Sociology. Her research spans the areas of culture, technology and emotions. Supervised by Prof Mike Savage, her PhD research explores the roles of technology and space in the formation of contemporary social relationships, and addresses issues of inequality formation and reproduction, valuation and socio-spacial dynamics. Nell holds a MSc in Contemporary Social Thought from the LSE, for which she received a Distinction, and a First Class Honours BA in Sociology from the University of York. 

You can follow Nell on twitter at @nellbeecham


Fergus Green is an MRes/PhD candidate in the LSE's Department of Government. His research focuses on transitional justice in economic policy reform - i.e. how governments ought to treat the winners and losers of such reforms - with particular application to climate change policies (such as pricing carbon) and inequality-reducing reforms (such as increased wealth taxation). He holds an MSc in Philosophy & Public Policy (distinction) from the LSE and undergraduate degrees in arts (political science) and law from the University of Melbourne. Before commencing his PhD research, Fergus was a Policy Analyst and Research Advisor to Professor Nicholas Stern in the LSE's Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.


Billy Holzberg is carrying out an LSE funded doctorate at the Gender Institute in which he examines what role public emotions play in the framing of and reaction to the 'refugee crisis' in Germany. He is interested in theories of affect, queer epistemologies, postcolonial studies and critiques of political economy. He holds a Bachelor in liberal arts from the Amsterdam University College and a MSc in Culture and Society from LSE’s sociology department where he was awarded the Hobhouse Memorial Prize for the best MSc performance and dissertation in sociology in 2014. He is a member of NYLON and an alumni of the German National Merit Foundation.


Tobias Kruse is a PhD candidate in Environmental Economics at the LSE and is associated with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change. He holds a BSc and MSc in Environmental Economics from the LSE. His research focuses on distributional aspects of sustainable development. Furthermore, he focusses on estimating the distribution of benefits from natural resource extraction.


Winnie M Li is a 1st year PhD Researcher in the Department of Media and Communications, funded by the ESRC. She is exploring the impact of social media on the public discourse about rape, by providing a space for survivors to share their stories. She has a BA from Harvard University in Folklore and Mythology, an MA in Irish Literature from University College Cork (as a George Mitchell Scholar), and an MA in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths. Prior to LSE, she worked for 13 years in the film industry as a producer and festival programmer, and more recently as an activist and author on the topic of sexual assault. Her debut novel, DARK CHAPTER, is due out in 2017.


Dan McArthur is an ESRC funded PhD student in the Department of Sociology, where he is supervised by Mike Savage and Ursula Henz. His research investigates the relationship between economic inequality and the stigmatisation of people in poverty in public opinion. Dan holds an MSc in Sociology from LSE, and a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of Oxford. His broader academic interests include the study of social class, comparative political economy, philosophy of social science, and sociological debates about immigration and multiculturalism.


Øyvind Skorge is a PhD candidate in Political Science in the Department of Government, where he is supervised by David Soskice and Jonathan Hopkin. In his PhD thesis, Øyvind investigates how political and economic institutions, combined with income inequality, affect women’s access to leadership positions in politics and in the workplace. He is also involved in projects on the development of work-family policies; on social cohesion and trust; on crime and punishment; and on democratization in 19th-century Europe.