UK-South Korea Family Policy Research Network


The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted gaps and inadequacies in support for families in the UK and South Korea, as well as how families and households act as the foundations for society and economic growth. Both the UK and South Korea as noted examples of state-society complexes where economic competitiveness is a high priority and where this has come at a cost to households and families who have acted as ‘shock absorbers’ for continuous economic adjustments.

While the UK has approached this from a background of a long-established welfare state and a trajectory of ‘retrenchment’ in social policy support for families, South Korea has proceeded from less developed welfare states to greater social policy intervention. These simultaneous similarities and differences make the two countries the perfect vehicle for comparative research to help us better understand how social policy does/doesn’t, and could better, support families to pursue sustainable and inclusive growth and social cohesion.

This project brings a network of researchers together from the UK and South Korea with generous support from the ESRC (Grant no). The network will engage in research on support for families in the UK and South Korea, focused on the following four topics:

  • Children's wellbeing and care.

  • Social care for adults.

  • Desistance from crime.

  • Technical innovation and the role of arts and culture in care and wellbeing.

The project began with a series of networking webinars in which researchers from each country presented overviews of relevant research findings. The relationships between researchers in the network is then deepened through two in-person Conferences in Seoul, South Korea and Derby, UK. The research presented at these conferences will form the basis of several outputs to be published later in 2023.


For more information email the Principal Investigator:

Dr Sung-Hee Lee, University of Derby, UK.