Noel is Professor of Social Policy at University of Suffolk and Dean of the School of Law and Social Sciences. After a brief, early career in social work, Noel completed a PhD in social anthropology at Queen's University, Belfast. He joined University of Suffolk in April 2012 after thirteen years with Loughborough University, where he was Director of the influential Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP). At University of Suffolk, Noel manages a brilliant team of academics delivering programmes in psychology, sociology, criminology, youth studies, counselling and social work.
Noel's research interests focus on understanding social disadvantage, and the policies and services designed to address disadvantage. Over his career, he has been commissioned to undertake research for a range of central government departments (including the Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Transport), local authorities (including Suffolk County Council) and charities (such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation). Most of his career has been spent examining issues related to poverty. His recent work has concentrated on the design of social care services, including adult and community services, children and young people's services and services for adult survivors of child sexual abuse.