I completed my PhD in political science at Texas A&M University in the U.S. in 1996 and the main focus of my research since then has been the comparative study of political parties. My early work focused on the far right and the rise of anti-immigrant parties during the 1980s-90s in Western Europe. Shortly after securing my first academic job at the University of Salford I started to look at how parties of the far right, the far left and also those in the middle ground were using the internet to campaign. Two decades on I am still examining the every changing phenomena of digital campaigning.
I am currently a Professor of political science and the University of Manchester and Director of the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research. Before my appointment at Manchester I was a Professor of New Media Studies at the University of Leicester and prior to that held a series of visiting fellowships and postdoctoral research positions at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), the Australian National University (ANU). My work has been supported by a range of grant bodies, particularly UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Australian Research Council (ARC). I have a long standing interest in survey research methods and served as a Principal investigator on the Australian Social Attitudes Survey (AuSSA) and the Australian Election and Candidate Studies since 2001. In 2015 I led the internet component of the British Election Study (iBES) which was one of the first attempts to merge survey responses with social media tracking data in an election study. I was co-editor of the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties from 2011-16 and I am a board member of several leading specialist and generalist journals in the field.
I regularly reviewer for major international journals (APSR, Journal of Politics, British Journal of Political Science and funding bodies including the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy. I am a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and the European Science Foundations’ Community of Experts