• Northlands Road, Magee Campus

    BT48 7JL Londonderry

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile


Mark Simpson joined the School of Law at Ulster University as PhD candidate in 2012, graduating in 2016. He was appointed Lecturer in Law in 2016, Senior Lecturer in 2021 and Research Director for Law in 2023.

Mark undertakes interdisciplinary research in social justice, with a focus on social security law in its social and political context. His book, Social citizenship in an age of welfare regionalism: the state of the social union (Hart, 2022), examines both the impact on social security law and the constitutional tensions that result when the welfare state ideology  of devolved governments conflicts with that of the UK Government. He is author or co-author of four research outputs and one impact case study (highlighted below) included in Ulster University's submission to the Research Excellence Framework 2021, which assessed 46% of the Law unit's outputs and 50% of its research impact as world leading.

Mark is currently involved in participatory research on universal credit in Northern Ireland, with Ruth Patrick (York) and Ciara Fitzpatrick (Ulster). Recent projects focused on the use of Scotland’s new devolved social security powers to protect the dignity of claimants (funder: Equality and Human Rights Commission) and legal issues associated with poverty and destitution (funders: Joseph Rowntree Foundation/Legal Education Foundation). His secondary research interest is in environmental law and he is currently completing exploratory research on the legal protection of biodiversity in Northern Ireland (funder: Royal Town Planning Institute).

Outside Ulster, Mark has been an active member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association and Social Policy Association. He was lead organiser of the SLSA annual conference in 2023, having co-founded and for seven years co-convened the conference stream on Social Rights, Citizenship and the Welfare State. Previously, he was a member of the organising committee for the SPA conferences 2015 and 2016

Prospective PhD students with projects in the fields of Law and Social Justice (social security law/welfare reform, citizenship rights or poverty and destitution), Public Law (devolution or equality law) or human rights law (equality and socio-economic rights) are invited to make contact to discuss their ideas.

Previously, Mark studied Law with Politics at undergraduate level at Queen’s University Belfast, where he also completed an LLM in Environmental Law and Sustainable Development.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

External positions

Member, Scottish Commission on Social Security, Scottish Government

Jan 2019 → …


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