Isaac Thornton

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Scholarly biography

I am a Postgraduate Researcher at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, currently completing a PhD exploring social exclusion and resilience in international students, funded by the ESRC through the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership. My interdisciplinary research uses mixed methods to understand the nature and extent of adversity faced by international students in the UK, their resilient adaption to this, and how this is all influenced by different factors nested within different social ecological layers. I integrate insights from different fields, most notably psychology and social policy.

Before joining the University of Brighton, I was a Senior Researcher in the Centre for Evaluation at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen). During my two years at NatCen, I worked on mixed-methods evaluations of social policies and programmes in different domains, including education, health and wellbeing, transport, crime and justice, and communities. There I contributed to published reports for clients including the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, and What Works for Children's Social Care. I also delivered training on experimental, quasi-experimental, and theory-based evaluation methods.

I received a first-class honours BSc in Psychology from the University of Sussex in 2019, and in 2020 graduated cum laude with a double-degree MSc in Public Policy and Human Development, awarded jointly by Maastricht University and the United Nations University-MERIT, specialising in social protection policy. 

Research interests

I am broadly interested in the intersection of psychology and social policy, and the relationships between social (policy) context and wellbeing. For instance, I was first author on a paper in the Journal of Social Policy exploring the effect of Universal Credit of welfare benefit recipients' life satisfaction.

Education/Academic qualification

Master, MSc Public Policy and Human Development (Specialisation Social Protection Policy)

1 Sept 201931 Aug 2020

Award Date: 31 Aug 2020

Master, MSc Public Policy and Human Development (Specialisation Social Protection Policy), UNU-MERIT

1 Sept 201931 Aug 2020

Award Date: 31 Aug 2020

Bachelor, BSc Psychology (With a Year Abroad), University of Sussex

12 Oct 201525 Jun 2019

Award Date: 25 Jun 2019

External positions

Senior Researcher, National Centre for Social Research

1 Aug 202230 Sept 2022

Researcher, National Centre for Social Research

30 Nov 202031 Jul 2022


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • BF Psychology


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