Research Groups

In Social Policy we enjoy close research links across the University, particularly with the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, the Centre for Integrated Healthcare Research, Nursing Studies, and with Community Health Sciences.

Within our subject area, the following groups are active.

Global Health Policy Unit

The Global Health Policy Unit provides a broad focus on population health and the factors that influence it at a national, regional and global level.  The Unit is a leading centre for research examining health systems and global governance, the commercial sector and public health, social determinants of health and public policy, and science, advocacy and health policy. GHPU draws together expertise from diverse disciplines including public health, political science, economics and public financing, social policy, medicine, epidemiology, geography and anthropology.

Policy and Governance

The research group on Policy and Governance provides a social policy perspective to the University's work on socio-legal studies, governance, devolution studies and public sector management, working in collaboration with colleagues in Politics and Sociology and also with the Law School, the Business School and the Institute of Governance.

Work, Economy and Welfare

The research group on work, economy and welfare explores the relationship between trends in modern welfare states, resource allocation and changing labour markets. Much of the work conducted is cross-national and/or comparative in nature. The group was strongly involved in the EU (FP VI) Network of Excellence in Reconciling work and welfare (RECWOWE).

Centre for Research on Families and Relationships

The Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) was established in 2001 as a consortium research centre based at the University of Edinburgh, with partners at the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian, Highlands & Islands and Stirling. It is a multidisciplinary research Centre and focal point for anyone interested in research on families and relationships. It aims to make research more accessible and enhance the infrastructure to conduct research on families and relationships.

Discourse Analysis

The Discourse Analysis Working Group is for postgraduate students and academics in the social sciences who would like to discuss and share problems and ideas concerning the use of discourse analysis in their research projects, and who are curious to explore a range of different approaches loosely related to 'discourse'. One of the key purposes of the group is to provide a learning space and support structure for addressing research problems related to analysis of discursive data (e.g. choice of approach, data collection and analysis) in a flexible and personalised way. Workshops are part of the Graduate School's Research Training Programme.

Social Network Analysis Project

The Social Network Analysis Project (SNAP) provides a forum to discuss projects, issues and ideas related to Social Network Analysis, facilitate knowledge exchange and develop collaboration with regard to this methodology.

Education and Society

Education and schooling have gone through several important transformations in the last half century in Europe and beyond. This research group aims to discuss some of these changes, by focusing on education policy, as well as childhood and youth policy at the local, national and global levels. We debate how, by whom and with what effects such policies are made, and also discuss their role in the changing character of democracy.

We are a group of staff, doctoral and postgraduate students doing education and childhood research within the School of Social and Political Science – you are more than welcome to join this group and share the conversations.

For more information and to register in the group’s emailing list, please contact

Group Website: