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School of Social and Political Science: About


Former senior civil servant Philip Rycroft appointed to the University of Edinburgh and Centre on Constitutional Change

Philip Rycroft – who, until his recent retirement, was one of the UK’s most senior civil servants in Whitehall and a central figure in Brexit preparations – has been appointed Honorary Professor at the University of Edinburgh, and Associate Fellow of the Centre on Constitutional Change (CCC).

Philip Rycroft

Philip joins the University after retiring from a distinguished 30-year career in the UK and Scottish governments. As Permanent Secretary at the Department for Exiting the EU, he led the UK Government’s preparations for Brexit, heading a 750-strong team of officials. As Head of the UK Governance Group in the Cabinet Office, he also promoted understanding of devolution and constitutional issues within government. Prior to 2009, he was a leading civil servant in the Scottish Government, latterly as Director General of Education.

His expert insight from his time at the heart of government will support researchers in the Centre on Constitutional Change and the School of Social and Political Science as they continue to examine the impact of recent and ongoing constitutional change. Philip will also contribute to teaching, lending his rich expertise to students seeking to understand government and policy making. 

Philip said: “I am looking forward very much to engaging with academics and students, exploring new ideas, new opportunities and sharing my experience of government from the inside.”

Professor Nicola McEwen, Co-Director of the CCC and Professor of Territorial Politics at the University of Edinburgh, said: “We are delighted to welcome Philip to the Centre and to the University. He has been at the forefront of constitutional policy making for many years. Students and researchers alike will benefit from the wealth of expertise he brings.”

The Centre on Constitutional Change (CCC) is a leading centre for the study of constitutional change and territorial politics in the United Kingdom and beyond. It conducts multi-disciplinary research into the UK’s constitutional relationships, covering political science, economics, constitutional law and public policy. The centre’s work includes briefings and events for academics, government officials, the media and the public.

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