School of Social and Political Science

New Head of Social Work at the University of Edinburgh



Dr George Palattiyil


Dr George Palattiyil, Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the School of Social and Political Science, is the new Head of Social Work at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Palattiyil has been a member of staff at the University since 2009, director of the successful and internationally regarded Master of Social Work programme in recent years and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

He will be the twentieth head of the department, beginning the post on 1 August 2021, and is committed to the student experience, and diversity and social justice.

Professor John Devaney, who has been Head of Social Work for three years, said: “George is an excellent choice for the next Head of Social Work. His experience of working in higher education over many years, and across two internationally regarded institutions, provides a strong basis for his stewardship of the department.

“More significantly though, George’s commitment to the student experience, and his unwavering commitment to the support of colleagues, is to be commended. We are excited for the next chapter in the long history of social work at the University of Edinburgh.”

Commitment to the student experience

George has teaching and research experience spanning India, Scotland, Jordan, Uganda and Bangladesh. He is deeply committed to diversity and social justice, and one of his passions is to internationalise the curriculum and enable students to have cross-cultural experiences.

For his contribution to student support, he was awarded the Best Personal Tutor Award by Edinburgh University Students’ Association in 2019.

Teaching and research interests

George’s teaching and research interests are in the areas of:

  • forced migration
  • human rights
  • race and diversity
  • international social work
  • individuals and families affected by HIV and AIDS
  • older people

He sits on the board of a number of organisations:

and contributes to the editorial boards of:

George is a also member of the Advance HE Working Group: Embedding Race Equality in FE/HE in Scotland, Developing an Anti-Racist Curriculum project, and drawing on his cross-national social science research on refugee health, he set up an interdisciplinary platform for knowledge exchange, ‘Global Refugee Health Research Network’ with partners from multiple countries. 

Visit Dr Palattiyil’s profile on the School of Social and Political Science website.