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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Daniel Kenealy

Daniel Kenealy
Dr Daniel Kenealy
Lecturer in Public Policy and School Director of Quality Assurance
2.01 21 George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (0) 131 650 4080
Research Interests
UK Government, Whitehall, Scottish Government, Intergovernmental relations, Machinery of government, Devolution and UK constitution, UK political history


Between January and August 2018, please email me and we can arrange appointments as necessary.


After completing my PhD in International Relations at the University of Edinburgh in 2012 I joined the School, initially as a Teaching Fellow in Politics & International Relations. I joined the Social Policy subject area in April 2015. Since September 2017, I am the School's Director of Quality (SDoQ), having previously served as a Special Adviser to the Senior Vice Principal (2016-2017), Director of the Master of Public Policy (2013-2016), Deputy Director of the Academy of Government (2013-2014), and Deputy Director of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (2012-2013).


My current research is focused on the UK and Scottish governments - their machinery, structures and processes - and on intergovernmental relations within the UK, both between Whitehall and the devolved administrations and Whitehall and English local government. I work at the intersection of public administration and political history. My research involves a lot of travelling to interview policymakers and work in archives. I am currently working on:

  • Whitehall's planning for devolution in the 1970s and the 1990s, and the establishment and early development of the Scottish Executive and intergovernmental relations after devolution.
  • Whitehall during the Thatcher and Major administrations (1979-1997), with a focus on machinery of government issues, such as support to the Prime Minister, initiatives to modernise government and enhance efficiency, and the role of deputies to the Prime Minister within Cabinet committee structures.
  • The UK government's relations with sub-national governments, both English local governments and the devolved administrations, and the role of cities in the governance of the UK.

My earlier research explored the history of European integration and the UK's constitutional politics before, during and after Scotland's 2014 independence referendum. I worked on the constitutional change process, intergovernmental relations, devolution to Scotland and England's cities and city-regions, and Scotland's external relations (or 'para'-diplomacy). I have published in journals including West European Politics, Regional and Federal Studies, Journal of European Integration, European Law Journal, British Politics and Diplomacy and Statecraft.

I have presented my research at the University of Montreal, the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Georgetown University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the European Policy Centre in Brussels, and Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin. During 2013-14 I served as expert adviser to the Scottish Parliament's European and External Relations Committee and have presented oral evidence to that committee on several occasions, as well as to the House of Commons' Scottish Affairs Committee.


In the 2018-2019 academic year:

  • Convener and lecturer, 'Social Policy and Society' (Undergraduate)
  • Convener and lecturer, 'Understanding Public Policy' (Undergraduate)
  • Personal tutor, 4th year Social Policy students

Topics interested in supervising

I would be keen to supervise students interested in: (1) UK and Scottish government, particularly issues concerning machinery of government, structures, and decision-making processes; (2) UK constitutional politics, particularly intergovernmental relations and the external policies of the UK's devolved nations; and (3) working at the intersection of public policy/administration and political history.

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

PhD in Politics; PhD in Social Policy; MSc (R) Politics; MSc (R) Social Policy