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The University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh | College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine |
Deanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences | Usher Institute

Centre for Population Health Sciences

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Dr Ellen Stewart

Chief Scientist Office Postdoctoral Fellow

Tel: 0131 651 5149
Fax: 0131 650 6909


Chief Scientist Office Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests

I am a social scientist with research interests in health policy and politics. I am interested in how health organisations accommodate and negotiate different forms of ‘lay’ and ‘expert’ knowledge, including demands for both public engagement and evidence-based policy. Previous projects I’ve been involved with have explored the everyday practice of public involvement in the local NHS, new governance arrangements for Scottish Health Boards, and how public health policymakers use research evidence. I am a member of SKAPE, Edinburgh’s Centre for Science, Knowledge and Policy.

A monograph based on my research to date, entitled Publics and their health systems: rethinking participation, will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015, as part of the series Palgrave Studies in Science, Knowledge and Policy.

Current Research Involvement

Closing hospitals: an evaluation of public engagement and knowledge use in disinvestment proposals. This postdoctoral fellowship explores public engagement activities and public protest around proposals to close hospitals in Scotland since devolution. It also includes training in health economics, to enable me to analyse the evidence base for local closures.

Risky business: the politics of knowledge transfer in public health (PI: Dr Katherine Smith, Global Public Health Unit). I worked on this ESRC-funded project on recent efforts to increase policymakers’ use of evidence, including the role of third sector ‘knowledge brokers’, from 2012 to 2013. I continue to work with Katherine on a range of project outputs and publications.

Further Information

Work History

Previous Appointments
2013-2014 Research Fellow, Global Public Health Unit, University of Edinburgh
2010-2012 Research Assistant, University of St Andrews
2007-2008 Research Assistant, Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE
Appointed to University of Edinburgh
2014 Research Fellow, Centre for Population Health Sciences


2012 PhD 'Everyday public involvement in the Scottish NHS', University of Edinburgh
2008 MSc by Research in Politics, University of Edinburgh
2007 MSc Social Policy and Planning, LSE
2005 MA (Hons) in Politics, University of Edinburgh


Commentary pieces

Wilson, I. Stewart, E. Greer, S. and Donnelly, P. (2015) 'Democratising the Scottish NHS' LSE British Politics and Policy blog, 25th February.

Stewart, E. (2014) 'What next for public accountability in the Scottish NHS?' Centre for Health in the Public Interest blog, 30th June.

Stewart, E. (2013) 'Could volunteering be bad for our health?' ParticipationNow Open Democracy blog, 20th November.

Smith, K. and Stewart, E. (2013) '"Maybe we just need to be a little bit": what is public health advocacy and should health inequalities researchers be doing it?' Cost of Living blog, 8th November.

Selected grants

  • Closing hospitals: an evaluation of knowledge use and public involvement in disinvestment proposals. (Chief Scientist Office, 2013-2018) Stewart, E, Cunningham-Burley, S


Link to Edinburgh Research Explorer for full publications list

Selected publications

  • Smith KE, Stewart E (2016) We need to talk about impact: Why social policy academics need to engage with the UK's research impact agenda. Journal of Social Policy. DOI Link
  • Stewart E (2016) Publics and their health systems: rethinking participation. Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke. DOI Link
  • Stewart E, Aitken, M (2015) Beyond NIMBYs and NOOMBYs: what can wind farm controversies teach us about public involvement in hospital closures? BMC Health Services Research 15(1): 530-536 DOI Link
  • Stewart E, Smith KE (2015) 'Black magic' and 'gold dust': the epistemic and political uses of evidence tools in public health policy-making. Evidence & Policy, 11(3): 415-437 DOI Link
  • Stewart EA, Greer SL, Wilson I, Donnelly PD (2015) Power to the people? An international review of the democratizing effects of direct elections to healthcare organisations. International Journal of Health Planning and Management, Early View DOI Link
  • Stewart, EA (2015) Seeking outsider perspectives in interpretive research: young adults and citizen participation in health policy. Critical Policy Studies, 9(2) DOI Link
  • Greer SL, Wilson I, Stewart EA, Donnelly PD (2014) 'Democratizing' public services? Representation and elections in the Scottish NHS. Public Administration, 92(4): 1090-1105 DOI Link
  • Stewart EA, Wilson I, Donnelly PD, Greer SL (2014) 'I didn't have a clue what we were doing': (not) engaging 16 and 17 year old voters in Scotland. Scottish Affairs 23(3): 354-368 DOI Link
  • Greer SL, Stewart EA, Wilson I, Donnelly PD (2014) Victory for volunteerism? Scottish health board elections and participation in the welfare state. Social Science & Medicine 106(April): 221-228 DOI Link
  • Stewart E (2013) A mutual NHS? The development of distinctive public involvement policy in a devolved Scotland. Policy & Politics 41(2) DOI Link
  • Stewart, E (2013) What is the point of citizen participation in health-care? Journal of Health Services Research & Policy: 18(2) DOI Link

Last modified: Monday, 11-Jul-2016 13:53:09 BST

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