Gerry Stoker is Centenary Research Professor at the University of Canberra, Australia and also Professor of Politics and Governance at the University of Southampton, UK. Professor Stoker has always been an engaged scholar. In 2001 he was designated by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as a Hero of Dissemination and in 2004 received a “Making A Difference” Award from the UK Political Studies Association for the impact of his work on governance. He was the founding chair of the New Local Government Network (UK) which was the think-tank of the year in 2004, senior policy advisor on local government reform to the Blair Government and author of the award winning book Why Politics Matters: Making Democracy Work. From 2004-8 he held a prestigious professorial fellowship funded by the ESRC. In 2012 Gerry was appointed as the founding director of [email protected], a unit within the University that seeks to connect high quality research from all the University disciplines with policymakers.