Dr. Alastair Roy

Reader in Social Research

School of Social Work, Care and Community

Harrington Building, HA104

+44 (0) 1772 89 5127

I am Reader in Psychosocial Research and Co-Director of the Psychosocial Research Unit. My principle interests lie in the fields of alcohol and other drug use, mental health, gender and mobile and visual methods. My recent work has focussed on the development of mobile and place-based methods, developed through studies funded by Lankelly Chase Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council.

Full Profile

I am Reader in Psychosocial Research and Co-Director of the Psychosocial Research Unit. With a professional background in youth and community work my principle interests lie in the fields of alcohol and other drug use, mental health, gender and mobile and visual methods. I have undertaken a series of national and international research collaborations and since 2002 I have delivered projects for funders including the Economic and Social Research Council, The Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the Technology Strategy Board, the Home Office, the Prison Service, the Arts Council, the Big Lottery, the Gulbenkian Foundation, Lankelly Chase Foundation, the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology and many other statutory and independent organisations. I have published widely in the fields of substance misuse, mental health and research methodology and have more than 35 peer reviewed publications. 

My recent work has focussed on the development of mobile and place-based methods. One example of this is Surviving Manchester (Hughes, Roy and Manley, 2014) a study funded by Lankelly Chase Foundation to explore the everyday lives of vulnerable and marginalized young men in Manchester. Another is an Economic and Social Research Council funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership project which I led, in which we developed mobile methods in order to research the cultural transformation of drug and alcohol treatment in East Lancashire since the implementation of a recovery model, set in the context of the meta-cultural change in the drug and alcohol treatment sector. I have a number of academic publications on this work (for example, Roy et al. 2015; Roy 2016; Roy and Buchanan, 2015) and have presented it at a series of conferences and other fora, including: The European Social Work Research Conference - 2016, the European Society for Social Drug Research - 2015, Social Research Association 2014 and 2015, the Association for Psychosocial Studies 2014 and 2016, the Centre for Mobilities Research – Lancaster University. 


  • PhD. Psychosocial Studies, 2012
  • BA(Hons) (First Class). Social Work and Community Studies, UCLan, 2000
  • CQYW, Manchester Polytechnic, 1993


Manley, Julian and Roy, Alastair Neil (2016) The visual matrix: a psycho-social method for discovering unspoken complexities in social care practice. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society . pp. 1-22. ISSN 1088-0763

Roy, Alastair Neil (2016) Field Work Reflections: Journeys in Knowing and Not-Knowing. Qualitative Social Work . pp. 1-14. ISSN 1473-3250

Roy, Alastair Neil and Buchanan, Julian (2015) The Paradoxes of Recovery Policy: Exploring the Impact of Austerity and Responsibilisation for the Citizenship Claims of People with Drug Problems. Social Policy & Administration . n/a-n/a. ISSN 01445596

Spandler, Helen, Roy, Alastair Neil and Mckeown, Michael (2014) Using football metaphor to engage men in therapeutic support. Journal of Social Work Practice, 28 (2). pp. 229-245. ISSN 0265-0533

More publications

Teaching Activities

When he first came to UCLan, Alastair was principally involved in teaching and learning. He taught on a range of courses from access courses through to postgraduate level. In his first year as an academic member of staff he was asked to assume the course leadership for the MA Substance Misuse and also to take on the role of year tutor on the then Diploma in Social Work. He led the MA course for three years and worked closely with other course leaders on the restructure of the department’s master’s portfolio in 2004.

Since moving departments in 2004 Alastair has retained an interest and involvement in teaching and learning. Between 2004 and 2008 he taught research methods to community groups as a part of the Community Engagement Programme.

He was also a key member of a team who worked on annual evaluation and revision of the structure of the course and the teaching and learning materials. In 2008 he helped develop teaching materials for a new participatory research programme commissioned by the Metropolitan Police.

Between 2008 and 2010 he delivered four participatory research projects and has developed bespoke teaching materials in each case. One element of the KTP he has developed with Crime Reduction Interventions in East Lancashire involves a review of training for drug workers and other professionals in the partnership around the delivery of a recovery based treatment service. One avenue they are exploring is to develop an accredited training programme.

From 2005 to 2010 he was the Research Degrees Tutor for the Centre for Ethnicity and Health and then ISCRI. In this period he was a contributing member of the Faculty of Health’s Research Degrees Sub-Committee reviewing research student submissions for registration and transfer. This role put him in regular contact with research students, supervisors and research administrators and at a faculty and university level.

In 2009 he was appointed as the lead RDT for the Faculty of Health. In this role he worked closely with colleagues in Graduate Research Office around QAA and regulatory issues for research students and kept other RDTs informed about changes in regulations and other issues.


Much of his empirical work has focused on drug treatment services, including funded work for the Home Office, the Prison Service, the Government Office for London, Unicef and several Drug and Alcohol Action Teams.

Download more information about Alastair's research projects. (.pdf 81KB)