Board Member

Richard Thurston

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Richard is a strong advocate for the role of evidence in public life and for the democratisation of evidence to shape citizens’ understanding, and effectiveness, of public services and civil society.

In 2020 Richard was awarded an MBE for services to social science research, the culmination of 30 years undertaking and developing the capacity for high quality applied research aimed at improving public services in Wales. His academic research has included studies of masculinity and crime as well as the implementation of evidence-based practice in the Probation Service.

In 2006 he was elected President of the UK Evaluation Society, and established Evaluation Cymru and the Wales branch of the Social Research Association. Richard served on the Education Panel of REF 2014 (assessing the quality and impact of educational research across the UK).

From 2000 he worked in the Welsh Government, notably designing studies and guidance to evaluate distinctive Welsh policies and programmes, and leading on the analysis of the first Spending Review in Wales. Richard held the position of Deputy Chief Social Research Officer in the Welsh Government for ten years, leading on research across devolved policy areas, introducing new approaches and governance arrangements to ensure research is at the heart of Welsh policy-making.

He now works freelance providing support to organisations to develop their capacity for evidence-based policy and practice, and is an Innovator in Residence at Spark, Cardiff University’s Social Science Park.

Richard is the proud parent of three daughters and a granddaughter, and occasionally plays trombone in the Rhondda Symphony Orchestra and Wonderbrass (“the biggest, boldest and funkiest jazz band in Wales”, BBC Wales).