Communications and Marketing

External Affairs

External Affairs manages the University’s parliamentary and community relations.

Parliamentary Relations

The University works with MSPs at Holyrood and MPs and Peers at Westminster in a number of ways.

It is important that politicians understand the work that the University does, including its research, teaching and learning. It is equally important that they are fully aware of the role we play within the community, the nation and the world in addressing major challenges in education, health and the economy, as well as in social, environmental and cultural spheres.

We can help staff:

  • understand parliamentary processes and procedures
  • identify the politicians, at both the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood and the UK Parliament at Westminster, who might be those most relevant for you to contact about your research, to invite to your event or to visit your facilities
  • work with colleagues in Knowledge Exchange to identify parliamentary inquiries and government consultations to which you may wish to respond and give evidence
  • make links with relevant parliamentary committees, cross-party and all-party groups to which you could contribute

We can help politicians:

  • understand what the University does, how it works and its Strategic Plan
  • identify the best person to contact whether it’s to find out more about our research, to understand our funding streams or student recruitment strategy, or to visit our specialist collections
  • get an expert briefing on a particular subject for a debate, a Committee evidence session or to help shape policy
  • learn more about why the University of Edinburgh is vital to Scotland’s education, economy, health, culture and its international profile

The Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016

On Monday 12 March 2018 the Scottish Parliament introduced a Lobbying Register for all “regulated lobbying” of MSPs, Scottish Government Ministers and some civil servants.

Communications by, or on behalf of, universities are exempt from the legal requirement to register under the Act as universities are already subject to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

However, staff should be aware that any interactions with MSPs on the University’s behalf must adhere to the high-level principles contained within the Scottish Parliament’s new Code of Conduct.

Code of conduct for persons lobbying MSPs (PDF)

Further, while the University is exempt from the need to register, staff involved in any political engagement should be mindful of the potential need for partner organisations to register their own “regulated lobbying” activity.

Further information about the Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 and the operation of the Lobbying Register can be found on the Scottish Parliament website.

Scottish Parliament - Lobbying

University staff can get also specific advice from the External Affairs team.

Community Relations

Founded by the Town Council in 1583, the University is very proud to be the oldest civic foundation in the English-speaking world. 

Our buildings, our staff and our students have been an integral part of the fabric of the city for over 430 years, and we work hard to foster good relationships between the University and the local communities in which we are located and where we live.

We have written the University’s Community Engagement Strategy and developed the Edinburgh Local initiative which is creating an informative interface and a vibrant dialogue between the University and local people.

Edinburgh Local

We can help staff and students:

  • by offering advice on relations with the City of Edinburgh Council, Midlothian Council, and local neighbourhood and community groups
  • by offering advice on issues where a strong interface between the community and staff and/or students is necessary or desirable
  • by showcasing projects which take place in the community and identifying partners

We will try to help citizens, businesses and community groups:

  • identify who best to contact within the University to answer your enquiry
  • arrange visits to our museums, galleries and special collections
  • contact the student volunteering co-ordinator

Contact us

Gavin Donoghue

Public Affairs Manager

  • External Affairs
  • Communications and Marketing

Contact details