Scotland’s DWP Areas of Research Interest Workshop

Policy Scotland and the University of Edinburgh’s collaboration with the DWP Central Analysis and Science Strategy Unit

On October 9, 2019 Policy Scotland and the University of Edinburgh’s Research Support Office hosted Scotland’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Areas of Research Interest Workshop in Edinburgh. The day-long event brought together a total of 60 individuals – DWP analysts, Scottish Government officials and analysts, and leading Scottish academics whose work is included in the broad Areas of Research Interest (ARI).

Workshops of this type are a key way that the DWP analytical and scientific community engages with a range of external academic partners, with an aim to better integrate the DWP into academic research, receive the best cutting edge advice from academics, and help to generate new perspectives surrounding DWP research questions. This workshop enabled academic presenters from the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh to present their research findings related to a research area of focus directly to DWP analysts in that area – a unique opportunity for knowledge exchange.

The DWP Areas of Research Interest cover six areas, and the following academics presented their work:

  • Employment and progression (Dr Rachel Thomson, University of Glasgow)
  • Disability and health (Professor Nick Watson, University of Glasgow)
  • Security in later life (Professor Wendy Loretto, University of Edinburgh)
  • Children and families (Professor Alison Koslowski, University of Edinburgh)
  • Service delivery (Dr Liz McFall, University of Edinburgh)
  • Cross-cutting research methods (Professor Nick Bailey, University of Glasgow)

Two representatives from the Scottish Government – Uzma Khan (Deputy Director of Economic Strategy) and Audrey MacDougall (Chief Researcher and Head of the Communities Analysis Division) – also presented an overview of the Scottish Government’s approach to economic development, social security, child poverty, and homelessness.

The workshop provided a venue for academics and Scottish Government partners to discuss new or continuing areas for collaborative discussion, and initiated connections to improve understanding and analysis of DWP programmes and policies; connections that will be valuable beyond the workshop day.

Although this type of event is not done on an annual basis in Scotland, the DWP’s Central Analysis and Science Strategy Unit welcome details of your academic work that is potentially relevant to the ARI and any research plans you may be developing (

Policy Scotland is also interested in organising further events and seminars that bring together academics, government officials and civil society actors on research and policy areas related to our mission. If you’re interested in learning more about what we do, please email Dr Sarah Weakley .