November 12, 2021

EVENT: Launch of the 2022 Sir Graham Smith Research Awards

Helen Schofield
Acting Chief Executive
Probation Institute

In this guest blog, Helen Schofield, Acting Chief Executive at the Probation Institute, talks about the history of the Sir Graham Smith Research Awards, and invites you to a the launch event of for the 2022 awards programme on 13th December.

The Probation Institute has offered the Sir Graham Smith Research Awards since 2014.

Sir Graham Smith was the Chief Probation Officer in the Inner London Probation Service from 1980 to 1992. He then became the Chief Inspector of Probation until his retirement in 2001. Sir Graham championed evidence-based research and practice in its very early stages. The Sir Graham Smith Research Award Scheme was established in his memory.

The scheme is an excellent opportunity for practitioners to carry out a short piece of practice-based research, develop their skills and help build probation’s evidence base. If you have an interest in research and a passion for practice you may be our ideal candidate!

Previously open to practitioners in Probation and the CRCs, we paused the scheme early in 2020 due to Covid19 and we took the opportunity to review how the scheme would operate going forward.  We are now keen to launch a new round of awards, and we will be inviting applications from practitioners in probation and the voluntary and community sector. Importantly, the award scheme relies on support from the employer and the agreement of the line managers/s to enable the majority of the research to be completed during work time:

  • We are happy to discuss possible areas of practice for research in advance of applications
  • Selection of research projects by a panel is based on the validity and feasibility of the proposal
  • No previous experience in research is required although candidates will be expected to apply the key principles of research where relevant
  • We expect the research to be completed within eight to twelve weeks and the analysis and report to follow.
  • We support candidates in gaining approval of their research proposal from the HMPPS National Research Committee
  • The Probation Institute provides each successful candidate with an academic mentor from our Academic Advisory Panel who will help with the proposal, the approvals, the research method, and the report planning, they will offer support throughout
  • The Probation Institute will publish and disseminate completed and approved research reports
  • We offer a small bursary of £500 to successful applicants for 2022/23
  • Applicants must complete the application forms and secure consent to the research proposal from their line manager

You can see the final reports of our previous award winners here.

The next round of the scheme will be launched at our on-line event on Zoom on Monday 13th December. At this event we will hear from

  • Jane Dominey who chairs the Probation Institute Research Committee
  • Professor Lol Burke, Liverpool John Moores University, and Jake Phillips, Sheffield Hallam University and Editor of the Probation Quarterly
  • Previous Sir Graham Smith Award Researchers who have completed and published their reports

We will then invite applications early in the new year, providing plenty of time for the development of research proposals.

Do join us on 13th December to find out more. To Register please send an email to and we will send you the joining instructions – this event will be on Zoom.

For any further information please contact Helen Schofield Acting Chief Executive at the Probation Institute.

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