Policy Scotland supported and managed a wide variety of research projects, collaborations and knowledge exchange activities.

We supported collaborations to connect University of Glasgow researchers with local, national and international policymakers. We were a key facilitator of the University of Glasgow’s civic mission, acting as a bridge between the academic community and the decision-makers in the city.

Our key areas of work were:

  • Children: Learning and attainment, particularly the systems and approaches that enhance educational equity.
  • Community: Addressing disadvantage and inequalities of health and income, and the role of third sector and voluntary sector.
  • Democracy: Governance and the constitution, the implications of Brexit, Scottish independence, and democratic innovations like citizens’ assemblies.
  • Economy: Labour markets and employment, welfare and social security, economic regeneration and inclusive growth.
  • Places: Housing policy and markets, and the impact of housing and on income, productivity, transport and cities.

We currently had a strong focus on supporting the COVID-19 recovery and fair and sustainable responses to the climate crisis, across all of these themes.

COVID-19 project

We supported a wide range of researchers and organisations to share urgently-needed insights into public policy emergencies arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

More about the COVID-19 research and collaborations

Climate crisis / COP26

We worked with the University’s Centre for Sustainable Solutions and Glasgow City Council to mobilise ideas and action for Glasgow’s zero carbon ambitions.

More about the Green Recovery Dialogues

Policy Scotland networks

These networks were catalysed by Policy Scotland and managed by members of the team, sometimes in partnership with other researchers and organisations.

The Collaborative

Worked with the Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector to develop a cross-discipline hub for advice and technical assistance and improve the sustainability of Glasgow’s third sector as organisations adapt, recover and transform from COVID-19.

The Collaborative

Crisis Response in Education Network

This ICSEI network focused on how educational systems respond to significant crises and how the crises impact on education systems, learning, health and wellbeing of practitioners, children, young people and their families.

Crisis Response in Education Network

More Different Futures Network

Mobilisation of the housing policy knowledge that exists in research establishments, governments and housing providers to marshal information, ideas and innovations to shape better and different housing outcomes in UK, Canada, Australia.

More Different Futures Network

Key collaborations

Policy Scotland had close associations with many agencies and organisations outside the University of Glasgow, ranging from providing specialised research services, sitting on working groups, committees and boards, and offering direction and leadership. These are some of organisations and groups to which we contributed time and expertise.

Glasgow city & region

Glasgow Commission for Economic Growth

Research support for the Commission, which is the principal economic adviser to the Glasgow City Region Cabinet, the decision-making body for the Glasgow City Region Deal, including work for the Glasgow Economic Recovery Group

Glasgow Social Recovery Taskforce

Advice to support the work of Glasgow’s Social Recovery Taskforce, including a series of COVID-19 micro briefings, produced in collaboration with the Glasgow Centre for Population Health and expert partner agencies.

Scotland & UK

Scottish Government Learning Directorate

Contributing research expertise to the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 response for education and iterative, operational guidance for providers of learning, childcare and children’s services.

Voluntary Sector Strategic Oversight Group

Liaison with voluntary sector leaders, funders and the Scottish Government to make sure that best use is being made of research and data on COVID-19 to support a resilient and sustainable voluntary sector in Scotland.


International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement

Supporting education expertise around the globe through the ICSEI Congress, sharing reports of education responses to COVID-19, and running the Crisis Response in Education network.

In 2021 Policy Scotland Director Chris Chapman took on the presidency of ICSEI.

Key research programme partnerships

Policy Scotland was involved with several new policy research programmes established at the University of Glasgow and worked with them on research and knowledge exchange projects.

Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland

A place-based approach to improving outcomes for children, young people and their communities. Based in the University of Glasgow and working with the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, CNS is helping to find ways for local people, partners and services to work together. Policy Scotland Director Chris Chapman is the CNS Principal Investigator.

CNS resources

UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence

A multidisciplinary partnership between academia, housing policy and practice which will produce evidence and new research to contribute to tackling the UK’s housing problems at a national, devolved, regional, and local level. CaCHE is led by former Policy Scotland Director Ken Gibb.

CaCHE resources

Network for Social and Educational Equity

Building research and development collaborations with schools and partners to close the poverty-related achievement gap. NSEE is a collaborative, enquiry-based sustainable approach to professional learning and leadership development. It also supports the West Partnership.

NSEE resources

We worked closely with many other University of Glasgow research centres including:

Past projects

Access the work and outputs of our past collaborations and projects:

  • Regional Inclusive Growth Research Network (2019)
  • Glasgow Human Rights Network (2015-2019)
  • Moral Victories Project (2015/2018)
  • Welfare Reform Network (2015/2016)
  • Legacy Research Network (2014/2015)

What Works Scotland

What Works Scotland logo with the organisation name and two cogwheels

What Works Scotland was a programme of collaborative action research with four Scottish local authority areas focused on public service reform to support community empowerment and improved public services.

The programme was funded by the Scottish Government and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and ran from 2014 to 2020. It was a collaboration between the University of Glasgow – supported through Policy Scotland – and the University of Edinburgh.

See all of the What Works Scotland resources on the Policy Scotland website