Research team

Meet the research team

Jay Kennedy

Director of Policy and Research

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Jay Kennedy is DSC’s Director of Policy and Research and has overall responsibility for DSC’s policy, campaigns and research. He leads the team that researches funding information for DSC’s well-known funding guides and websites.

Jay has held a number of different roles since joining DSC in 2003, including researching government funding for charities, project managing one of DSC’s fundraising websites, and acting as a policy officer and media spokesperson. Jay often represents DSC at various forums, networks and events.

Stuart Cole

Head of Research

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Stuart provides research to inform policy and practice in the charity sector. He is a member of DSC’s leadership team, and he manages the team behind DSC’s bespoke research, funding guides and Funds Online research.

Stuart specialises in armed forces charities, and he won the 2021 FiMT Research Award for his work in this field, which is cited at government level. He has co-authored ten reports on the subject, including the definitive 2020 report – Sector Insight: Armed Forces Charities.

Stuart holds a BA (Hons) in Psychology and Sociology, an MSc in Applied Psychology, and a PGCE in Psychology. He is a qualified teacher and taught for five years before moving into applied research.

Rhiannon Doherty

Senior Researcher

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Rhiannon joined DSC in February 2017 and is currently working on DSC’s Armed Forces Charities research. She is also focusing on developing a communications and social media strategy for the project.

Rhiannon has completed a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Communications and an MA in Politics and Mass Media at The University of Liverpool.

Prior to joining DSC, she volunteered for range of charities, including NDCS and Oxfam.

Ian Pembridge

Senior Researcher

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Ian joined DSC in as a volunteer in April 2014 before becoming a full-time member of the team later that year, and he has worked on several publications including the Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need, the Guide to Company Giving and the Directory of Grant Making Trusts. He has also been involved in a variety of other research projects including the Sector Insight: UK Grant-Making Trusts and Foundations and Armed Forces Charities reports.

He currently splits his time between working on DSC publications and managing the website, which brings together information on sources of regional, national and European government funding. His main responsibilities are keeping the website up-to-date, researching new funding opportunities and acting as a main point of contact for both funders and subscribers.

He has a BA (Hons) in Politics and International Business from the University of Liverpool and has over five years’ experience working in the financial services industry. He has also volunteered at Wirral CVS where he was responsible for finding suitable opportunities for volunteers. His current areas of interest are social investment, corporate foundations and European funding.

Jessica Threlfall

Senior Researcher

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Senior Researcher, Jessica, has a great deal of experience researching grant-making charities and has co-authored a number of DSC’s guides on the subject, including three editions of bestseller, The Guide to New Trusts. Jessica is also the author of The Guide to Individuals In Need, and she has contributed to several other leading publications, including DSC’s The Guide to Major Trusts.

Before joining DSC in 2019, Jessica graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from Lancaster University. She has also volunteered for a number of charities, including Southport and Formby Special Athletes, where she was responsible for running sports coaching sessions for adults with learning difficulties.

Ross Hardy


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Ross joined DSC in July 2022 as a member of the research team and contributes to our publications and funding websites.

Before joining DSC, Ross worked on various research projects as part of his BA in Hispanic Studies from the University of Nottingham and as an editor for international relations think tank RAIA.

Ross’ favourite part about working at DSC is knowing the positive social impact that we have as an organisation.

Kalli Jayasuriya


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Kalli joined the DSC in 2023 and is part of the research team.

She studied Languages and Politics at the University of Nottingham, before doing a Masters in Gender and International Development at the University of Warwick.

Outside of the DSC, she gets involved with Women Beyond Walls, a platform that aims to influence policymaking and discourse surrounding the incarceration of women and girls.

Her favourite part about being a member of the DSC team is engaging with charities' important work and helping support their independence.