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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Catherine Lyall

Catherine Lyall
Professor Catherine Lyall
Professor of Science and Public Policy
G.39 Old Surgeons' Hall High School Yards Edinburgh UK EH1 1LZ
+44 (0)131 650 2452
Research Interests
Policy issues related to the governance of science, technology, innovation, The promotion and management of interdisciplinary research, Research evaluation and the assessment of research impact

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • Mondays 1-2 pm during Semester 1; or email for an appointment.


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 a member of the Management Committee for 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 experience as both an internal and external PhD examiner.

Research & Teaching

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, for example, recent project for the HEA and wiki
  • research evaluation and the assessment of research impact

Links to Full list of research projects and consultancies and Research in a Nutshell video

I am Course Organiser for Research Skills in the Social Sciences: Data Collection (PGSP11016)

I also lecture on Research Design (PGSP11208) 


My publications include Interdisciplinary Research Journeys (with Ann Bruce, Joyce Tait and Laura Meagher, Bloomsbury Academic, 2011 - paperback edition 2015) and 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).  In 2013 I co-edited a special section of the journal Science and Public Policy with Isabel Fletcher on Investing in Interdisciplinarity and a special edition of Evidence & Policy with Christine Knight on Knowledge brokers: the role of intermediaries in producing research impact.

Links to Full list of publications and Open Access versions; also my research wiki and the (very) occasional blog

My ORCID identifier is 0000-0002-4814-7357

Graduate Supervision

  • Eun Sun Kim: Facilitating Innovation in SMEs: The Case of a Public Intermediary in South Korea (PhD 2015)
  • Chihwei Yeh: Particle Physics in Public: Legitimising Curiosity-driven Research after the Higgs Boson (PhD Year 4)
  • Justyna Bandola-Gill: Assessing the Knowledge Brokerage Role of the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum (PhD Year 3)
  • Nathalie Dupin: Disruptive influence? The role of interdisciplinarity in training the next generation of researchers - in partnership with OPTIMA (MRes)

Topics interested in supervising

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. 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.

If you are interested in being supervised by Catherine Lyall, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Science and Technology Studies; MSc (R) Science and Technology Studies