What is the AI in Housing, Welfare, and Social Care Network?

The AI in Housing, Welfare, and Social Care Network is a group of researchers, industry partners, public sector leaders, and people with lived experience and their advocates. Our aim is to provide a place to discuss what we know and what we need to know about the use of artificial intelligence in services across the life course in areas such as private and public housing, healthcare, benefits and welfare support, social work, and social care.

What is the purpose of the Network?

The AI-HoWS Network recently received seed funding from the University of Sheffield's iHuman research institute to produce a rapid review of current academic knowledge on the use of AI-based tools and systems in housing, welfare, and social care.

On the 19th of July the network will be holding an event at the University of Sheffield to bring together people with an interest in understanding the impact of these systems and tools on everyday life. We want to encourage both proponents and opponents of the use of artificial intelligence from diverse backgrounds to contribute to this discussion and help shape the priorities of our future research. Attendees from the private, public, and charity sector, are offered the opportunity to become a part of shaping future research projects and to be among the first to hear about any findings. We expect there will be a lot of interest in the event and the number of people we are able to host may be limited; if you're interested in attending, please register here.

Researchers in the Network

Sarah Barnes

Health & Related Research

Sarah’s work in the field of Public Health Gerontology explores the impact of the environment on the quality of life of older people. She is interested the application of AI in the delivery of social care.

Jo Bates @j0bates

Information School

Jo's research explores social and cultural factors shaping digital data production, processing and use, and what this means for social justice and equality.

Desiree Fields @fieldsdesiree


Desiree is an urban and economic geographer. Her research explores digital transformations of housing with the goal of supporting movements for housing justice.

Sarah Gibson @mssarahgibson

School of Education

Sarah is a PhD candidate whose interdisciplinary work critically engages with the concepts of educational and social inclusion. Working in collaboration with Sheffield City Council, her work aims to foreground the experiences of local young people and their families.

Jenny Hayes @JennyJHayes

Information School

Jenny’s PhD research investigates how new information technologies such as social media can increase transparency and accountability and bring about social change.

Matthew Lariviere @mattlariv

Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities

Matthew is a social anthropologist and gerontologist. His research examines challenges, benefits and possibilities for emergent technologies to support ageing in place.

Suvodeep Mazumdar @ovus00

Information School

Suvodeep's research explores developing techniques and mechanisms for reducing the barrier for user communities in understanding very large complex multidimensional datasets.

Lyudmila Mihaylova @l_mihaylova

Automatic Control and Systems Engineering

Mila is a leading expert in the areas of multi-sensor information and data fusion and processing. She and her team are developing novel methods for autonomous intelligent systems: for sensing, AI and decision making.

Stephen Potter @stephenpotter

Health & Related Research

Stephen's research interests lie in the critical application of digital technologies - including both data-driven and good-old-fashioned AI - for improving health and wellbeing.

Jenny Preece @jennyfpreece

Urban Studies and Planning

Jenny works on applied housing policy issues. Her research focuses on understanding housing choices in constrained circumstances and access to affordable housing. She is interested in the application of AI and automation in social housing and welfare systems.

Calum Webb @cjrwebb

Sociological Studies

Calum's research interests are in the growing use of machine learning to identify risk in Child and Family Social Work, and how such technologies might reproduce existing inequalities in child welfare.

We have a shared Charter of Values to ensure that the network works for everyone: including academics, civil servants, industry professionals, and experts with lived experience...

Event Details

On the 19th July 2019 the network will be hosting an afternoon event in Sheffield to present the findings from a review of existing research and practice in social housing, welfare, and statutory social care.

The event will begin at 11:30am with a short introduction and presentation of the findings from our rapid scoping review. After this, lunch will be provided. The afternoon sessions will be an opportunity to workshop with others in the network to help shape the priorities of future interdisciplinary research at the University, including building partnerships for emerging projects. We expect the event to end by 4pm.

The event will be hosted at ICOSS, University of Sheffield, 219 Portobello Road.

If you wish to attend, please complete registration details here.

To find out about upcoming events, please follow us on Twitter @AI_HoWS.