Dr Weakley is currently on maternity leave, returning in Spring 2021

Dr Sarah Weakley is the Research and Knowledge Exchange Lead for the University of Glasgow’s College of Social Sciences. She is based at Policy Scotland.

Her areas of research for Policy Scotland include:

Head and shoulder photo of Sarah Weakley

  • poverty and inequality
  • social security
  • young people’s transitions to economic independence.

She  is leading the Community resilience and addressing disadvantage strand of the COVID-19 Urgently needed insights project.

She also has a role as an Associated Researcher for Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland, co-leading the outcome evaluation workstream to develop a plan for context and asset mapping, data analysis and primary data collection of quantitative and qualitative data.

Dr Weakley’s knowledge exchange activities include organising events, developing proposals, and creating tools for policy impact to serve internal partners within the University of Glasgow, and external partners in government and the third sector.

She also serves as a Specialist Advisor to the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee inquiry into welfare in Scotland from November 2020 to May 2021


Research interests

Dr Weakley focuses on using social science research to investigate the nature of poverty and inequality, its impacts on individuals and society, and how government policy addresses or fails to address it.

She is interested in work that improves the production and uptake of robust, policy-relevant evidence to improve the lives of adults and children living in poverty.



Sarah was awarded a PhD in Social Policy by the University of Edinburgh in 2019. Her doctoral research focused on assessing evidence from the US and the UK on young people’s transitions to economic independence and the role of government assistance.

She holds an MRes Urban Studies (Merit) from the University of Glasgow and a Master of Public Administration (Distinction) from George Washington University in the USA.


Policy Scotland projects

She is joint founder of the University of Glasgow’s Third Sector Knowledge Exchange Collaborative and leads the Community resilience and addressing disadvantage strand of Policy Scotland’s COVID-19 project.


Contact details




Blogs and publications