Mr Blunkett, who is still the MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, held a number of Cabinet roles in the Labour government of Tony Blair, including three years as home secretary between 2001 and 2004, and stints as secretary of state for education and for work and pensions.
The Sir Bernard Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics is named after the late political theorist who was Mr Blunkett’s tutor when he studied political theory and institutions in the early 1970s.
The MP, who became an academician of the Academy of Social Sciences on July 4, said he hoped his contribution would allow the centre – which will be officially launched later this year - to provide “not only a contribution to the work of the university, but also to wellbeing and policy development at national level”.
“I’ve always been proud to work with the university that welcomed me as a mature student all those years ago.
“I’m particularly pleased to be able to develop work with the Crick Centre [given] the enormous work [Sir Bernard] did in the political arena. I hope that this will become a centre of excellence and have a lasting impact on the work of politics and social sciences more broadly,” he said.
Matthew Flinders, a professor in Sheffield’s department of politics, said Mr Blunkett’s political experience and “broad contribution to the social sciences” would be a major asset in both teaching and research.
“He also brings a distinctive dimension in terms of public engagement and outreach,” he added.