Research and Knowledge Exchange

Previous research centre highlights

This page contains details of research centres previously highlighted.

The Meadows


OPENspace is an international research centre contributing new evidence on why inclusive access to the outdoors matters. The research focuses on the benefits to be gained from getting outdoors and the barriers currently experienced by different users, particularly those from disadvantaged groups.

Founded in 2001, OPENspace brings together experts in landscape architecture, environmental psychology, human geography, forestry, quality of life measures and design for all ages and abilities. Their work addresses the full spectrum of open space environments, from city parks and squares to remote rural landscapes.

Multi-disciplinary in outlook and methods, OPENspace informs policy on health and wellbeing, social inclusion, countryside access and sustainable urban development. The Centre is notable for its contribution to international knowledge exchange and engagement with non-academic audiences.

Visit the website of the OPENspace research centre to find out more about its activities.



The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) is a place and space where ideas grow.

The Institute hosts a range of fellowship programmes, bringing early career and experienced researchers from across the world to Edinburgh, as well as providing opportunities for researchers from the university.  

It also coordinates around 100 research and public engagement events each academic year, and supports interdisciplinary projects across the College, particularly at an early stage in the pipeline.                               

Researchers can instigate or attend themed ‘speculative lunches’, where discoveries of like-minded colleagues and cross-School synergies are made. Reading groups, seminar series and day-long workshops on topics outside the remit of a single School find a home in the convivial and well-equipped IASH seminar room. Through such facilitation—and the targeted application of seed funding—IASH helps novel interdisciplinary ideas bloom. 

Visit IASH's website to find out more about working with us or applying for a fellowship


Centre on Constitutional Change

Centre on Constitutional Change logo

Change appears to have become the new constant for the UK’s constitutional relationships. The Centre on Constitutional Change (CCC), a multi-institutional centre with its hub at the University of Edinburgh, has examined and informed the Scottish independence referendum and its aftermath, the ongoing process of devolution, and the EU referendum and Brexit.

Drawing together expertise from political science, economics, social policy and law, the CCC has established itself as the UK’s principal centre for research and authoritative analysis of how the devolved administrations relate to one another, London and Brussels. CCC fellows are globally-recognised leaders in their fields, working at the cutting edge of social science and the humanities, together with younger scholars breaking new ground in their disciplines. Working in project teams, fellows focus on areas such as constitutional processes, taxation, the economy, intergovernmental & external relations, public policy, and political behaviour to build up a coherent picture of current constitutional developments and their implications.

As well as making their research available for scrutiny by the wider academic community, CCC fellows work with government, business, the third sector and print, broadcast and social media to encourage and inform understanding and debate in these critical national conversations.

Visit the website of the Centre of Constitutional Change to learn more.


The Centre for Design Informatics

The Centre for Design Informatics brings together two diverse disciplines to transform the ways in which we work, live, care for each other and play. A collaboration between the Schools of Design and Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, the Centre’s vision is for Scotland to be a world leader in designing with data.

Uninvited Guests
Image from film 'Uninvited Guests' by Superflux for ThingTank project.

Changes in computing and communications technologies serve to de-emphasise computers as devices, and re-emphasise the flow of data between people, machines, and things. They focus on three related lines technical development: personal data; the internet of things; and social computing; in each case, they want to ensure that: people can use their systems to interact with data; they can use data to interact with the systems; and what they can do is sensitive to their role in the larger system. Its research is action-led and design-based, with every project addressing a practical challenge.

The Centre places particular emphasis on mentoring a new generation of researchers, practitioners and entrepreneurs. It has developed excellent partnerships with non-academic bodies and a growing Community of Interest for knowledge exchange and ideas generation. The Centre is supported through a series of RCUK grants that span the EPSRC, AHRC and ESRC

Visit the website of the Centre for Design Informatics for futher information.


The Edinburgh Alwaleed Centre

Urban Graffit artish Mohammad Ali
The Alwaleed Centre has developed a wide range of creative outreach projects, including this public mural painted by graffiti artist Mohammad Ali.

The Edinburgh Alwaleed Centre is part of a unique network of Centres at prestigious universities around the world (Edinburgh, Cambridge, Harvard, Georgetown, the American University of Beirut, and the American University in Cairo), which are committed to encouraging better mutual understanding between the World of Islam and the West.

 In Edinburgh this is done through ground-breaking research and innovative outreach projects on different aspects of Islamic Studies, focused particularly on Islamic Civilisation and Muslims in Britain.

Our objectives include: improving understanding of Muslims in Britain through a comprehensive educational outreach programme, and by helping to integrate the study of Islamic Civilisation into the school curriculum; advancing tolerance, mutual understanding and cross-cultural dialogue between the World of Islam and the West, by building new partnerships with institutions in the Muslim world, and with mosques and madrasas within the UK; fostering intellectual curiosity and building educational excellence among young Diaspora Muslims in the UK; creating the UK’s leading resource for expertise on Islam in the modern world; and producing a world-class cadre of researchers by providing studentships and fellowships designed to feed into the next generation of academics as well as the public and private sectors.

Visit the website of the Edinburgh Alwaleed Centre to learn more.


Brain white matter connections of an LBC1936 participant
Brain white matter connections of an LBC1936 participant

Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology

CCACE’s aim is to understand the reciprocal influences of cognitive ability and health across the human life course and between generations.

It is funded by the Medical Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and the University of Edinburgh.

It began in 2008, and has been funded for a second quinquennium, until 2018. Its Director is Professor Ian Deary (Psychology).

CCACE is an international leader in the crucial field of Cognitive Ageing and the newer field of Cognitive Epidemiology.

Its mission is:

  • to elucidate the routes to the vulnerable ageing brain, and provide information to ameliorate cognitive disability and its consequences for health and wellbeing;
  • to determine the mechanisms by which lower cognitive ability through the life course renders the body vulnerable to ill health and impaired wellbeing;
  • to provide an outstanding environment for interdisciplinary research training.

It is a cross-College Centre with over 80 members, 6 Research Groups, 10 core staff, and its own PhD cohort, post-doctoral fellows, taught courses and pilot research funds.

Visit the website of the CCACE to learn more.


The J Kenyon Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Science and the Law (MI)

Mason Institute Executive Committee
Mason Institute Executive Committee

The J Kenyon Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Science and the Law (MI), based at the University of Edinburgh and located within the School of Law, is an interdisciplinary research network that investigates the interface between medicine, life sciences and the law in relation to medical and bioethical developments on a national and global scale.

The MI is dedicated to conducting innovative world class research and raising the quality, quantity, and awareness of the research being undertaken individually and in cooperation with domestic, European, and international partners at the University of Edinburgh

As an institution, the MI provides evidence-based research and policy advice and is a nexus for international collaboration and exchange which draws on and pulls together a diverse collection of existing networks while forging new ones.

Visit the Mason Institute website for more information on its activities.



The Scottish Documentary Institute

From the Film 'Norfolk'
From the Film 'Norfolk'

The Scottish Documentary Institute (SDI) provides an alternative model for creative documentary production. The Institute nurtures new talent and new forms, new screening contexts and new audiences for documentaries.

SDI explores the different ways in which originality and diversity can be achieved through restructuring - or ‘decentering’ - production and distribution processes. It is the only academic body feeding documentary research into production in the UK and has won over 20 national and international awards for its work. This includes a Best Short Film at the Scottish BAFTA’s in 2015, Sundance Film Festival premieres over the years, along other major festival appearances in 60 countries.

Since 2004, the Institute has produced over 130 films. It is known for forging creative and contractual partnerships across disciplines, collaboration, and driving a positive cultural change within the mainstream industry.  

Visit the website of the Scottish Documentary Institute to find out more about its activities.


The Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE)

The Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE) is the outcome of a substantial investment in Economics Research in Scotland by the Scottish Funding Council and ten participating universities.

SIRE fosters and disseminate high quality economics research among all economists in Scotland, providing a forum for interaction between fundamental researchers and policy/applied researchers through knowledge transfer activities, contributing to the quality of policy related and other research activities.

SIRE has developed a reputation for internationally excellent research in major fields of economics. SIRE builds around and beyond existing strengths, enabling economics in Scotland to compete effectively with leading English and European research centres.

SIRE supports the next generation of research leaders by attracting and developing high potential young researchers at PhD and junior lecturer level.

Visit the website of SIRE to learn more.



Edinburgh Centre for Research on the Experience of Dementia (E-CRED)

E-CRED Nakik (posed by models)

E-CRED is an interdisciplinary group of dementia researchers, people with dementia, dementia practitioners and representatives from a range of dementia organisations.

We are interested in exploring and developing theories, methods and impact around the experience of living with dementia in order to create international social research and impact that prioritises the experience of dementia and strengthens global understanding of living with dementia.

At the heart of E-CRED is our commitment to better understand the experiences of people with dementia and how these experiences shape and are shaped by UK and international policy, practice and society.

We remain responsive to changing needs and agendas, as well as funding opportunities, and provide a research and learning environment that creates opportunities for the sharing of knowledge and skills focusing on improving the lived experience of dementia. The perspective of the person with dementia is central to this work: ‘putting the person first’.  


The Physical Activity for Health Research Centre (PAHRC)               

Cyclists (stock image)

The Physical Activity for Health Research Centre (PAHRC) Directed by Prof Nanette Mutrie, PAHRC is a research centre within the Institute of Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences in Moray House School of Education which aims to provide evidence of how to encourage people of all ages to ‘sit less and walk more’.

 Increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary time are major public health goals. Our vision is to become an internationally recognised centre of excellence in the field of physical activity for health. We seek to create an active research environment that will inform teaching (particularly the new MSc in PhysicalActivity for Health and Intercalated BSc for medical students) and knowledge exchange in related areas.

PAHRC’s research planning follows established frameworks with an interdisciplinary approach to develop, test and implement interventions which encourage people of all ages to ‘sit less and move more’.

For more information, please email us at or follow us on Twitter @UoE_PAHRC" or attend our weekly meetings on Wednesdays at 12-1pm in Room 2.35, St Leonard's Land.

Visit the website of the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre to learn more.


The Edinburgh Europa Institute

The Europa Institute hosting External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP
The Europa Institute hosting External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP for a public lecture on the EU's 60th anniversary

The Edinburgh Europa Institute is a multi-disciplinary teaching and research centre within the University of Edinburgh devoted to the independent study of the governance, institutions, law and policies of the European Union.

The purpose of the Europa Institute is to facilitate academic analysis, teaching and debate of the history and process of European integration with specific reference to the policies and institutions of the European Union and its Member States.

The Europa Institute is a pre-eminent centre for the study of the European Union and enjoys close collaborations with leading research scholars in European Union studies and practitioners from across the world.

The Europa Institute organises a range of seminars, conferences and lectures on themes pertaining to European integration.  The Europa Institute publishes the highly successful European Futures blog.  Its Europa Research Group is  a very active forum for postgraduate students.  While heavily focused on academic matters, the Europa Institute also provides a platform for policy makers and officials to deliver keynote lectures of interest to a wider public. 

Visit the website of the Edinburgh Europa Institute to learn more