Ellen Stewart

Chancellor's Fellow


I am a Chancellor’s Fellow in Social Studies of Health & Medicine, working at the intersection of medical sociology, social policy and public administration. I am an Associate Director of SKAPE (Science Knowledge and Policy at Edinburgh) and an elected member of the Social Policy Association's Executive Committee.

SKAPE website

Before joining the Usher Institute I worked in the University of Edinburgh’s Global Public Health Unit, and University of St Andrews’ Medical School.


PhD in Politics (University of Edinburgh, 2012)

MSc in Social Policy & Planning (LSE, 2007)

MA (Hons) in Politics (University of Edinburgh, 2005)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am always happy to hear from students who want to pursue PhD research on my interests as described above, or more generally, on patient and public knowledge and action around health and healthcare.

Current PhD students supervised

Sophie Ilson (ESRC + Scottish Government funded student in Usher Institute) – public trust in practices of data linkage

Tania Meriluoto (external supervisor for student in Department of Political Science, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland) – expertise by experience in Finnish social welfare organisations

Carol Porteous (University of Edinburgh funded in Usher Institute) – participants’ experiences of patient and public involvement in health research

Katherine Hirono (University of Edinburgh funded in Global Public Health Unit) – community engagement within Health Impact Assessment

Research summary

I am interested in how health systems accommodate and negotiate different forms of ‘lay’ and ‘expert’ knowledge, including demands for public engagement and for evidence-based policy. I've previously worked on projects exploring everyday practices of public involvement in the local NHS, new governance arrangements for Scottish Health Boards, and how health policymakers use research evidence.

Current research interests

My current research projects, funded by the Chief Scientist Office and the Health Foundation, examine public responses to hospital closures as an example of contentious major service change. I am currently developing ideas for future research on the contemporary work of NHS Charities in the UK, supported by the Carnegie Trust.

Affiliated research centres

View all 26 publications on Research Explorer