Dr Des Fitzgerald wins Philip Leverhulme Prize

30 October 2017

The Leverhulme Trust Logo 2017

Dr Des Fitzgerald has been awarded one of the six prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prizes 2017 for research in Sociology and Social Policy.

The £100,000 prize is given to outstanding early career researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition. Prizes can be used for any purpose which can advance the prize-holder’s research.

Dr Fitzgerald has been awarded the accolade, after intense competition, as recognition of his work in the sociology of science and medicine.

Dr Fitzgerald’s previous research has been on the sociology of psychology and neuroscience; most recently, he has been interested in how neuroscientists think about cities – in how they are using their methods to measure the stress and (sometimes distress) of city living.

With his collaborators, Dr Fitzgerald has focused on the consequences of this burgeoning relationship between architecture and neuroscience, while also examining the sociological concepts and methods that might contribute to it.

With the prize money, Dr Fitzgerald plans to continue his research into this relationship, and to think much more widely about what happens when we start to think of particular spaces (landscapes, structures, buildings, parks) as having specific psychological and neurobiological effects. What role will psychological ideas have in urban design, in architecture, in city and regional planning, and related disciplines, in the future? And what are the consequences of this?

On wining the prize, Dr Fitzgerald said: ‘I am delighted to be awarded such a prestigious prize; I take it a strong vote of confidence not just in my own work, but in more generally in the kind of strange, interdisciplinary projects that that my collaborators and I have been pursuing.’

Dr Tom Hall, Head of the School of Social Sciences, said: "I too am delighted, and my thanks go to the Leverhulme Trust for this wonderful affirmation and opportunity. I could not be more pleased for Des, and for the School of Social Sciences, in which his work has found a home; it is very satisfying to see our investment in early career lectureships turning out so well."

A celebratory gala dinner will be held in March 2018 in London with prize winners and nominators in attendance.

Dr Fitzgerald was nominated for the award by Dr Tom Hall and the School of Social Sciences.

Dr Des Fitzgerald discusses his work.

For more information visit the School webpages.