Alan Walker joined the Department in 1977 and was a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader in Social Policy. He was appointed Professor of Social Policy in 1985 and was Head of Department from 1988 to 1996. He directed the £3.5 million ESRC Growing Older Programme, 1999-2004, and the UK National Collaboration on Ageing Research, 2001-2004. He is currently Director of the £22 million ESRC, EPSRC, BBSRC, MRC and AHRC New Dynamics of Ageing Programme and is also Director of the European Research Area in Ageing and the FUTURAGE Project. He supervises a large number of postgraduate students and was until recently the Research Director for the Social Sciences Division in the University.
His research interests span a wide range in social analysis, social policy and social planning. He is a specialist in social gerontology and, with two colleagues in the Netherlands, is responsible for developing the concept of social quality and he Chairs the European Foundation on Social Quality, which is based in Amsterdam. Currently he directs the New Dynamics of Ageing Research Programme funded by five Research Councils. He has published more than 30 books, over 200 reports and more than 300 papers in scholarly journals and edited volumes. His work has been published in more than 20 languages. He is a founding Academician of the Academy for Learned Societies in the Social Sciences, and, in 2007, was given lifetime achievement awards by both the British Society of Gerontology and the Social Policy Association. He has been active in the UK voluntary sector for many years and co-founded the Disability Alliance in 1974. He is currently Patron of the National Pensioner's Convention.