Dr Thilo Boeck

Job: Senior Research Fellow

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: +44 (0)116 2577879

E: tgboeck@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/csa

Social Media: dmu.academia.edu/ThiloBoeck


Personal profile

Thilo Boeck started his career as a practitioner in Youth and Community Development work in Lima / Peru. Using a sustainable development approach he initiated and managed a development project in Lima enabling people to use their skills and existing networks to set up community-led projects attracting investment into the community. In the UK he has worked on several research projects exploring the impact of social policy on social exclusion / inclusion and social capital within national and international contexts.

Thilo has been the principal investigator on a participative research project funded by the Big Lottery Fund exploring the impact of youth volunteering on social capital. He has also been the academic lead in an innovative partnership project between the voluntary, statutory and academic sector (Leicestershire County Council, Leicester City Council, CVS Community Partnership, Voluntary Action Leicester and the Centre for Social Action at De Montfort University) around social capital and community cohesion involving local people in the whole research process.

At the moment Thilo is working on two projects; Amplified Resilient Communities (ARC) and The Survey of Leicester

The Amplified Resilient Communities (ARC) project is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The project is a partnership between the Centre for Social Action and the IOCT (Institute of Creative Technologies). The ARC project taps into the existing social capital (networks and resources) in several neighbourhoods in Leicester and is facilitating people and groups to enhance their resilience. The project team is developing digital media skills and encouraging participants to access existing national and international community networks.

The Survey of Leicester is commissioned by the City Mayor of Leicester and Thilo is working with the City Council and the University of Leicester in developing a survey of Leicester, which reflects the City Council’s wider approach to economic renewal and social development. The Centre for Social Action is supporting a more participatory approach where research professionals work alongside members of a community to define issues, make sense of data, and appraise and act on the results. The project will be trialling and modifying the technical approaches to gathering and representing data through community engagement, making sure that the process is accessible to local residents. The views of residents will be gathered to inform a new way of surveying the city by focusing on resiliency and using social and digital media.

Research interests/expertise

  • Social Capital
  • Resilience
  • Social cohesion
  • Mixed methods research
  • Critical realism
  • Participation
  • Community development
  • Youth work
  • Social media
  • Amplification

Areas of teaching

  • Research methods
  • Mixed Methods research
  • Social policy (especially around community cohesion and social capital)


  • MA Community Education, De Montfort University, Leicester
  • PhD on ‘Young People and Social Capital’ (2011)

Membership of professional associations and societies

International Sociological Association

Conference attendance

Amplified Leicester: a city-wide social media experiment, Media Education Summit 2010 held at Birmingham City University (September 2010) with Sue Thomas

The Amplified Resilient Community, Vision 2020 Leicester (October 2010) ‘Volunteering and Faith Communities in England’, NCVO conference, Researching the Voluntary Sector, Warwick University (September 2009) with Jennie Fleming

Young People’s participation in project Re:action - a youth led research project. NCVO conference, Researching the Voluntary Sector, Warwick University (September 2009)

Enhancing dynamic and bridging social ties through participative youth volunteering. NCVO conference, Researching the Voluntary Sector, Warwick University (September 2008)

Key research outputs

Boeck T and Thomas S (2010) Amplified Leicester: Impact on social capital and cohesion

Boeck T et al (2010)
Social Capital in Leicestershire Survey Report 

Boeck T, Fleming J, Smith R and Thorp L (2009) Volunteering and Faith Communities in England
Boeck T (2009) The Impact of Volunteering on Social Capital and Community Cohesion

Current research students

Susan Atherton: Communities, Justice and Cohesion: An examination of the impact of community justice initiatives in Middlesbrough

Ahlem Lezerard: Youth Crime: youth’s future in the adversity of inherited past and present challenges. A comparative study of Britain and France.

Externally funded research grants information

Survey of Leicester (2012- )
Partnership between CSA, the City Council and the University of Leicester to develop a survey of Leicester. The project is trialling and modifying the technical approaches to gathering and representing data through community engagement, making sure that the process is accessible to local residents. (£23K)

Amplified Resilient Communities (2011- )
PI on a Joseph Rowntree Foundation funded project exploring the use of social media in order to connect communities, enhance social capital and build community resiliency. (£60K)

Equality and Resiliency Tool for LSEF (2011)
Commissioned by The Leicester/shire Equalities Forum (LSEF) to develop a Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland sub-regional needs analysis around their equality and diversity strategy. (£15K)

Amplified Leicester (2009-2010)
Co- investigator with Prof Sue Thomas on a city-wide experiment funded by NESTA, designed to grow the innovation capacity of Leicester across the city's disparate and diverse communities.

Leicestershire County Council (2006 – 2010)
PI in a longitudinal social capital project as the baseline for the Stronger Communities element of Local Area Agreements in partnership with the Chief Executive of North West Leicestershire Council for Voluntary Service, Leicestershire County Council and the County Local Strategic Partnership.

Volunteering England (2008-2009)
Joint PI with Jennie Fleming commissioned by Volunteering England to gain a better understanding of faith-based volunteering, the needs of faith-based organisations and how these needs could be understood and met by volunteering infrastructure organisations and also to consider the role faith volunteering plays in enhancing community cohesion. (£48,500)

Big Lottery Funded Project (2006-2009)
PI on a research partnership between Youth Action Network and Centre for Social Action ’How does youth participation in volunteering benefit young people and their communities?’ (£300K)

Internally funded research project information

PI on DMU funded RIF project: Making Connections: Young people, resilience and the power of networks

Professional esteem indicators

  • Peer Review of Articles:
    British Journal of Socioogy
    Journal of Mixed Methods Research
Thilo Boek

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