The 2024 ECRP

The 2024 Early Career Researcher's Prize is now open to entries.  See below for the entry criteria and other relevant information.

Sponsored by

Prize objective

This prize will give early career housing researchers an opportunity to showcase their work to a wide and influential audience. This is the fifth year that the competition has run. We want to promote shared learning across the housing sector and encourage early researchers in their career.

Entry criteria and requirements

The competition is open to those with up to eight years’ research experience.

We welcome candidates with or without a PhD, and those working within academic or non-academic institutions (the voluntary sector, think tanks, membership organisations, the media, housing associations, local authorities etc).

Please note that time spent in doctoral-level research study counts as research experience (as such, entrants who spent three years completing their PhD may have up to five year’s further work experience).

Co-authored papers are permitted in cases where all authors meet the entry requirements.

It is open to UK and non-UK applicants.

Applicants from Sponsor organisations may apply, on the basis they declare their interest.

It is our preference that papers have a focus that matches the broad interests of Thinkhouse.  This is policy publications that cover ways to increase the amount and quality of the UK’s housing stock and the related economic, social and community benefits of doing so. We are also interested in international research that has relevance to UK housing. If you have a paper that does not match this outline but relates to housing and connected issues then please contact us before submitting as the judging panel may accept your application.

We will consider think pieces, review papers synthesising existing evidence and policy analysis, research-based business cases/board papers/insight pieces from within housing associations or local authority landlords, papers sharing the findings of original empirical research or investigative journalism type pieces. Journal articles or other papers already published or under review will be accepted.

Submission should be between 4,000-8,000 words in length and submitted in a MS Word format, which includes the following information: author(s) name(s), any institutional/organisational affiliation, current job title (if applicable), email address, paper title, 200 word abstract and word count.

Papers must be submitted to by 17.00 Thursday 26th September 2024. Please note that we will retain a copy of your contact information for communicating about future iterations of the prize. If you do not wish to be contacted in future, please let us know when submitting your paper (this will not affect judgement of your entry).

The winning entry

Authors of the winning paper will be awarded a £500 cheque, will have the result covered by our media partner, Inside Housing, and have their paper published on the Thinkhouse website. We reserve the right to have editorial control over any item published on the site.

The winner will be announced at Homes UK conference on Wednesday 27th November 2024. Applicants should ensure they are available for the prize ceremony.

Judging criteria

  • Writing style/clarity.
  • Engagement with literature and theory.
  • Methods.
  • Empirical rigour/theoretical depth.
  • Strength of conclusions.
  • The extent of how the research is outcome and impact-focused so that it contributes to useful knowledge exchange.
  • The scalability of the research (i.e. the scope to make a widespread difference).

About Thinkhouse

Thinkhouse is a free online library of research pieces, policy publications and case studies that propose ways to increase the amount and quality of the UK's housing stock and the related economic, social and community benefits of doing this.

Judging panel 2024

  • Richard Hyde, Panel Chair and Thinkhouse founder
  • Dawn Fowler-Stevens, Aster
  • Fayann Simpson, L&Q
  • Helen Taylor, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Thinkhouse Editorial Panel Member
  • Karen Gregory, Aster
  • Ken Gibb, University of Glasgow, Thinkhouse Editorial Panel Member
  • Martin Hilditch, Inside Housing
  • Stephen Aldridge, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
  • Steve Moseley, L&Q, Thinkhouse Editorial Panel Member
  • Bekah Ryder, Altair


Prize sponsors for 2024 are:

Altair Ltd

Altair is a leading housing consultancy that brings together sector experts with a wealth of experience. Our clients cover a range of organisations working within the housing sector, including registered providers, local authorities, ALMOs, private developers, contractors, the HCA and representative bodies.

We provide support at a senior level and offer leading strategic advice to our clients facing three key strategic challenges: how to grow, how to change and how to remain resilient.

Altair’s core services cover the following areas, as well as research and insight across services:

Governance, Strategy and Regulation – We provide strategic and practical advice on governance issues, growth strategies, service transformation (including digital), risk management and more.

Corporate Finance and Treasury – We provide expert technical and practical advice on a wide range of financial matters including financial planning, options appraisal, and payment infrastructures. Our services also include regulated financial and treasury advice through Altair Treasury and Finance Solutions Ltd (ATFS).

Commercial and Procurement - We specialise in cultivating a commercial mindset across your organisation and supply chain, offering tailored strategies, procurement support, and measurable value delivery.

Digital, Data and Technology – We help to maximise client efficiency through digital strategy, IT architecture, effective solutions, and collaboration.

Property and Regeneration – We add value by bringing together public and private sector partners to realise programmes and projects.

People, HR and Recruitment – We provide interim management expertise and recruit to executive and non-executive positions, in addition to a range of HR services.

International – Altair International provides specialist consultancy advising on interventions to increase the provision of affordable housing in developing countries.

Research and Insights – We deliver high-quality research using a range of qualitative and quantitative methods, with risk management and flexible delivery to overcome any challenges.

Aster Group

Aster Group is a housing association which provides quality, affordable homes to thousands of people across the south of England and London. Its vision is that everyone has a home. Aster is committed to listening to and working with customers to make sure they receive a good service, first time. 

Aster Group is committed to playing its part in tackling the housing shortage by delivering a wide range of housing options. Last year, the business delivered over 1,300 homes offering affordable and social rent, shared ownership and open market sale options and is set to provide a further 1,170 during 2023/24. Looking ahead, the team plans to invest £2.3 billion to deliver over 10,000 new homes in the next seven years. The Group remains committed to making sure all homes are EPC C or above as soon as possible, ahead of the government deadline of 2030. For more information on Aster Group please visit our reports page.

The not-for-dividend business was established in 1990 and has £2.2 billion worth of social housing assets. The Group reinvests profits from open market sale and shared ownership to support the development of affordable homes. It owns and maintains over 36,000 homes and employs over 1,900 people. For more information, visit

Aster is relentless in its mission to extend a positive impact into its communities. This is achieved in many ways including through The Aster Foundation, which has now completed its first year as an official registered charity. For more information visit

Central and Cecil Housing Trust (C&C), East Boro Housing Trust (EBHT) and Enham Trust form part of the Aster Group. For further information visit:, and  

Inside Housing

Inside Housing is the leading monthly magazine for housing professionals in the UK and the first choice for anyone looking for a job in housing. With its lively mix of news, features and analysis, housing professionals rely on Inside Housing to keep them fully updated on everything in the social housing world.


L&Q house around 250,000 people in more than 105,000 homes, primarily across London and the South East.

Their vision is that everyone deserves a quality home that provides them with the opportunity to live a better life.

This echoes their purpose to provide homes and neighbourhoods everyone can be proud of, achieved by delivering safe, high-quality homes, services and support for all of their residents.