Ministry of Justice: Areas of Research Interest (ARIs)

On 23 February 2021 we hosted colleagues from the Ministry of Justice to talk about its areas of research interest (ARIs).


ARIs were developed in response to Professor Sir Paul Nurse’s review of research councils in 2014.

They are a way for government departments to set out the strategic research questions to which they need answers in the short to medium term.

In the past, departments either assumed that it was obvious what questions they were wrestling with or were worried that by setting out what they didn’t know then people would know they didn’t know it.

For the MOJ, the ARIs set out its evidence needs over the next 3 to 5 years, aligned with the department’s strategic objectives for the system. It will use these as a basis to engage with academics and research organisations from across the justice research landscape and the disciplinary spectrum.

Recording and slides

The recording and slides from the webinar are here:


The speakers were:

  • Sarah Pike is a social researcher working in the Evidence and Partnerships Hub in MoJ. Her role is to help facilitate connections with the academic and external community through the ARI document. She has worked within a range of government social researcher roles, including at HMI Probation, HMPPS and the Home Office.
  • Dr Ben Hepworth is a mathematician working in the same Hub. Ben leads on fostering collaborations with researchers to facilitate the exchange of evidence and expertise, previously working in a similar role in DWP. Prior to this he completed his PhD and taught at the University of Leeds.
  • Professor Andromachi Tseloni is Professor of Quantitative Criminology at Nottingham Trent University. She is the Academic Lead for the Data First Programme within the Hub. She has expertise in victimisation theory, applied social statistics and econometrics. Her work revolves around five broad themes: criminal victimisation inequalities, the crime drop, crime perceptions’ social capital and cross-national comparisons.