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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


George Palattiyil

George Palattiyil
Dr George Palattiyil
Senior Lecturer | MSW Programme Director | Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK
2.24 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (0)131 650 3907
Research Interests
HIV and AIDS, asylum seekers and refugees, Human rights, surrogacy and cross border reproductive services, international social work and social development, diversity and marginalisation, migration, social inclusion and citizenship

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • Mondays 12.00 - 2.00pm or by appointment

Current Research and Teaching Interests


My main research interests are in the area of individuals and families affected by HIV and AIDS, human rights,  refugees and asylum seekers and international development, along with a growing interest in the area of cross border reproductive services; trying to develop an intellectual discourse at the interface between international social work and public health. I recently completed a project on the Human Rights of HIV positive Asylum Seekers in Scotland which led to the establishment of a new multi-disciplinary network—the HIV, Human Rights and Development Network that aims to bring together relevant stakeholders from government, academia and practice to inform policy. The network has received cross party support from the Scottish Parliament and is jointly chaired by two Members of Scottish Parliament – Jim Eadie MSP and Kezia Dugdale MSP and has the support of 4 HIV Charities in Scotland and the Scottish Human Rights Commission. The Network was commended at the World AIDS Day 2013 debate at the Scottish Parliament. See for more information.
Recent successful research bids include: 1) Principal Applicant - HIV, Human Rights and Development Network (Knowledge Exchange Grant, University of Edinburgh; 2) Principal Investigator - Human Rights and HIV/AIDS: Exploring the Double Jeopardy experienced by HIV positive Asylum seekers and Refugees in Scotland (British Academy);  and 3) Co-Investigator - Advances in Research on Globally Accessible Medicine (India-European Research Networking Programme in the Social Sciences: funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, Agence Nationale de la Recherche, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, and the Indian Council of Social Science Research; with partners from the University of Edinburgh; Heidelberg University; Jawaharlal Nehru University, India; and Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies, India; and HIV, Gender and Access to anti-retroviral (ARV) druges in the urnab slums of India (British Academy).
Current research project: Quality of Care of Reproductive Health Services for Adolescent Urban Refugees in Uganda and Jordan, funded the Scottish Funding Council Global Challenges Research Fund (via the College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences).
I have been a member of the Editorial Board of Social Work Practice in Action Journal and the British Journal of Social Work.


I contribute to teaching across BSc, MSW and MSc programmes around the broad topics of social work with older people/adult care services, HIV and AIDS, race and diversity, international social work, research methods and researching sensitive topics. I am also the Course Director for two school wide courses: 1) Social Interventions in HIV and AIDS and 2) International Social Work – Themes and Issues and contribute to the teaching in the Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Career History

I began my academic career in India at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; the premier social work HEI in India. Later, I moved to Strathclyde University (Glasgow) to pursue a PhD in Social Work; during the same period I also worked as a Social Worker (Community Care) and latterly as a Practice Team Leader in Glasgow. In 2005, I joined the Glasgow School of Social Work (University of Strathclyde) and in 2009 moved to the University of Edinburgh. I am also an accredited practice teacher (Scottish Social Services Council). Since May 2013-July 2015, I held the additional role of Deputy Director of Edinburgh India Institute.
In my capacity as the Deputy Director of Edinburgh India Institute, I led the organisation of the Institute’s inaugural conference on the theme of Innovative Engagements for Sustainable Development – The Edinburgh India Story, which was held in the John McIntyre Conference Centre, Edinburgh during 15-16 May 2014. See for more information. The conference saw the formal launch of the Edinburgh India Institute and keynote address by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India. The conference became a truly interdisciplinary gathering with a total of over 300 delegates, with over 50 delegates from India and transcended beyond academia to engage with those from government, business, industry, culture and the Indian Diaspora in Scotland. The momentum generated from the conference led to the establishment of an ‘India Day’ at the University, to be celebrated annually on 2nd October—Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday; with the aim of reinforcing the University’s commitment to engaging with Higher Education Institutions in India, and also the wider Indian Diaspora in Scotland. The chief guest at the first ever India Day was Mahatma’s grandson Dr Gopalkrishna Gandhi who gave a riveting inaugural lecture to a packed audience of over 700 people, entitled ‘India Yesterday, India Today’. See for the India day celebration video.

Recent publications:

Bukuluki, P., Mwenyango, H., Katongole, S. P., Sidhva, D., & Palattiyil, G. (2020). The Socio-economic and Psychosocial Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Urban Refugees in Uganda. Social Sciences & Humanities Open, 2(1), 100045;

Mwenyango, M and Palattiyil, G (2019). Health Needs and Challenges of Women and Children in Uganda’s Refugee Settlements: Conceptualising a Role for Social Work: International Social Work, 1-13,

Rose, S., and Palattiyil, G. (2018). Surviving or thriving? Enhancing the emotional resilience of social workers in their organisational settings. Journal of Social Work, 0(0) 1–20,

Palattiyil, G., Sidhva, D., Shajahan, P.K., Pawar, M., Cox, J., and Anand, J. (2018). Reclaiming International Social Work in the Context of the Global Agenda: Some Critical Reflections. International Social Work, 1-12,

Palattiyil, G., & Sidhva, D. (2017). Listening to the voiceless: Lived experiences of asylum seekers living with HIV in Scotland and the implications for social work practice. In: Henrickson, M., Chipanta, D., Lynch, V., Muñoz Sanchez, H., Nadkarni, V., Semigina, T., & Sewpaul, V. (Eds.). (2017). Getting to zero: Global social work responds to HIV. Geneva: UNAIDS and IASSW. (ISBN 978-0-9941415-4-5).

Palattiyil, G. Sidhva, D. and Chakrabarti, M (Eds) (2016). Social Work in a Global Context: Issues and Challenges, London, Routledge.

Palattiyil, G., Sidhva, D., and Chakrabarti, M (2016). Social work: An emerging global profession. In: G. Palattiyil., D. Sidhva and M. Chakrabarti, M (Eds). Social Work in a Global Context: Issues and Challenges’, London, Routledge.

Sidhva, D., Palattiyil, G., and Chakrabarti, M (2016). Social work: a unique profession in a diverse context. In: G. Palattiyil., D. Sidhva and M. Chakrabarti, M (Eds). Social Work in a Global Context: Issues and Challenges’, London, Routledge.

Palattiyil, G. and Sidhva, D (2015). Caught in a web of double jeopardy—post-traumatic stress disorder and HIV positive Asylum seekers in Scotland. Clinical Social Work Journal, Vol. 43, 2.  DOI 10.1007/s10615-015-0542-5.

Sidhva, D and Palattiyil, G (2013) Listening to the Voices of HIV Positive People: Empowering, Engaging and Enabling. Evaluation of the Positive Person’s Forum.

Palattiyil, G. and Sidhva, D. (2012) Social Work in India (Editorial). Practice: Social Work in Action; 24, 2.
Palattiyil, G. and Sidhva, D. (December 2011) They call me “You are AIDS’: A Report on HIV, Human Rights and Asylum Seekers in Scotland, Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh.
Palattiyil, G., Blyth, E., Sidhva, D., and Balakrishnan, G. (2010). Globalisation and Cross Border Reproductive Services: Ethical Implications of Surrogacy in India', International Social Work, 53(5): 686–700. DOI: 10.1177/0020872810372157
Palattiyil, G and Chakrabarti, M. (2008). Coping Strategies of Families in HIV/AIDS Care: Some Exploratory Data from two Developmental Contexts, AIDS Care Journal. DOI: 10.1080/09540120701767166
Palattiyil, G. (2008). Conceptualising families in HIV/AIDS care: A cross-national perspective and a model for intervention.  In: M. Michailidis., S. Fargion., and R. Sanders: Research Synergies in Social Professions; EUSW: European platform for Worldwide Social Work.
Shaw, C and Palattiyil, G. (2008). Issues of Alcohol Misuse among Older People: Attitudes and Experiences of Social Work Practitioners. Practice: Social Work in Action. DOI: 10.1080/09503150802341418
Cadman, M., Chakrabarti, M., and Palattiyil, G. (2008). Social Work Services: Issues and Challenges; In: T.G.K Bryce and W.M. Humes; Scottish Education: Third Edition: Beyond Devolution. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press.

Topics interested in supervising

I would particularly welcome the opportunity to supervise PhD students who want to pursue projects that relate to my broad interests in: individuals, families and communities affected by HIV and AIDS; human rights, asylum seekers and refugees; surrogacy and cross border reproductive services; international social work and social development; social work with older people; diversity and marginalisation; migration, social inclusion and citizenship and in the aspects of South Asian society, particularly India. I recently completed supervising a PhD titled 'This is my life now - Lived experiences of residents in care homes in Goa, India' by Deborah Menezes. Current PhD projects include: *** Place of refugee women and children in the public health policies and programmes in Uganda - Articulating the Role of Social Work (Hadijah Mwenyango); *** Creating thriving social work teams - Supporting the emotional resilience of social workers within local authority adult social work services (Sarah Rose); *** Risk, Refuge and Resilience – A qualitative study of child migrants in the urban cities in India (Yukti Lamba); and *** Looking after the grandchildren: Ageing, caring, and the impact of intergenerational engagements on grandparents in rural China Ye (Julia) Wang

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

PhD in Social Work; PhD in South Asian Studies; MSc (R) Social Work