- Professor Catherine Lyall
- Professor of Science and Public Policy
- Science Technology and Innovation Studies School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
- 2.90 Old Surgeons' Hall High School Yards Edinburgh UK EH1 1LZ
- +44 (0)131 650 2452
- Research Interests
- Research methods, research policy, research evaluation, assessment of research impact, Knowledge exchange, Policy issues related to the governance of science, technology, innovation, Science policy, career development, management of interdisciplinary research, Interdisciplinary collaborations
Guidance and Feedback Hours
- During Semester 1: Mondays 1.30-3pm or by appointment. (I am in an attic office; please email me if you have accessibility issues)
Emphasises the importance of interdiscplinarity in academia
Reveals misunderstandings held about the nature of interdisciplinary knowledge
Identifies how researchers can embed interdisciplinarity in their own career trajectory
Borne out of meticulous scholarship, this book ...offer[s] lessons that are accessible to all academics, regardless of initial training. It is a must read for anyone interested in interdisciplinary research
—Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Chair of the Irish Research Council
I have a BSc(Hons) in Chemistry from the University of Aberdeen and an MSc in Science and Technology Policy from SPRU, University of Sussex. I completed a PhD on the impact of Scottish devolution on the policy-making process for science and innovation while working at the University of Edinburgh. Before joining the university, I worked for the UK civil service and held posts with the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
I am an experienced science policy researcher and evaluator of knowledge exchange and interdisciplinary research activities. I have acted as a consultant to a number of public bodies including the ESRC, Scottish Funding Council, Higher Education Academy (HEA), Scottish Executive, European Commission, and the League of European Research Universities. I was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the University of Copenhagen’s Governing Obesity project (2014-2016) and in 2017 was a member of an international review panel at Aarhus University. I have been a member of the steering groups of the Edinburgh Beltane for Public Engagement and the Academy of Government and a past chair of the Scottish Funding Council’s Knowledge into Public Policy Action Group.
I am currently on the editorial board for the journal Science and Public Policy and was a member of the Management Committee for the recently completed EU COST action INTREPID (Interdisciplinarity in research programming and funding cycles). I am a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and a Research Assessor for the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.
I have previously served as Deputy Director for both the ESRC Innogen Centre (2007-2012) and the ESRC Genomics Forum (2012-2013) and was Associate Dean Research Careers in the College of Humanities and Social Science for three years from January 2011 during which time I served on the Senate Researcher Experience Committee; the University Equality and Diversity Committee; and the College Research Committee. I have previously served as Head of Subject for STIS and was awarded the College's Susan Manning Award for Best Mentor in 2017. I have experience as both an internal and external PhD examiner.
Research methods, research policy, research evaluation, assessment of research impact, Knowledge exchange, Policy issues related to the governance of science, technology, innovation, Science policy, career development, management of interdisciplinary research, Interdisciplinary collaborations
I am a Co-investigator on the recently-funded EU H2020 SHAPE-ID (Shaping Interdisciplinary Practices in Europe).
My research seeks to advance an understanding of problems of science and technology policy formation and strategic decision-making by adopting interdisciplinary and practitioner-based perspectives. My research and professional interests span:
- policy issues related to the governance of science, technology, innovation and knowledge systems (see, for example, this short briefing note which summarises the findings from our SFC-funded cultured blood project)
- the management and evaluation of interdisciplinary research - see wiki
- research evaluation and the assessment of research impact
Other Research Activities
Guidance and Feedback Hours
During Semester 1: Mondays 1.30-3pm or by appointment. (I am in an attic office; please email me if you have accessibility issues)
Research Skills in the Social Sciences: Data Collection (Course Organiser)
This course teaches professional competence in gathering information by talking to people, collecting documents, conducting surveys and observing social interaction. We cover a range of associated issues, including identifying and using different sources; recruiting and negotiating access to research respondents; formulating questions and managing interviews and focus groups; sampling populations and designing surveys; recording observations; research ethics.
Research Design (Lecturer)
The course provides an introduction to the main issues involved in designing social science research, and is intended for students from a wide range of social science disciplines. Research design calls for decisions about how the research should be carried out, about what kind of data should be collected and analysed, and about how inferences should be drawn if the aims of the research are to be realised.
I am broadly interested in the policy-making process for issues related to the governance of science, technology and innovation; the promotion and management of interdisciplinary research; and research evaluation and the assessment of research impact. Students have nominated me for the EUSA Best Supervisor Award on three occasions. I would be happy to discuss supervising in any of the following topics: Science and public policy; Research policy; Research impact; Knowledge exchange; Knowledge brokerage; The practice of interdisciplinarity; Theorising the integrative method.
Find out more about the programmes that I am involved with:
Current PhD Students
Nathalie Dupin: Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training. Becoming a Researcher Across Disciplines - in partnership with OPTIMA (PhD Year 2)
John Marshall and Marina Milosheva are completing their MRes with me prior to PhD study at Edinburgh Napier University
Completed PhD Students
Katherine Stephen: Meta-skills Maturity for Future Workplaces (MRes 2019)
Chihwei Yeh: Particle Physics in Public. Legitimising Curiosity-driven Research after the Higgs Boson and Beyond (PhD 2019)
Justyna Bandola-Gill: Between Autonomy and Engagament. Interpreting and Practising Knowledge Exchange in UK Academia (PhD 2019)
Eun Sun Kim: Facilitating Innovation in SMEs. The Case of a Public Intermediary in South Korea (PhD 2015)
ORCID Identifier: 0000-0002-4814-7357
- Being an Interdisciplinary Academic. How Institutions Shape University Careers (Palgrave Pivot, 2019)
- Interdisciplinary Research Journeys (with Ann Bruce, Joyce Tait and Laura Meagher, Bloomsbury Academic, 2011 - paperback edition 2015)
- The Limits to Governance: The Challenges of Policy Making for the New Life Sciences (edited with Theo Papaioannou and James Smith, Ashgate, 2009; paperback 2016)
- New Modes of Governance: Developing an Integrated Policy Approach to Science, Technology, Risk and the Environment (edited with Joyce Tait, Ashgate, 2005)
Journal special issues
- Investing in Interdisciplinarity (Special section of the journal Science and Public Policy with Isabel Fletcher, 2013)
- Knowledge brokers: the role of intermediaries in producing research impact (Special edition of Evidence & Policy with Christine Knight, 2013)
Research wiki posts
Very occasional blog posts