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 Associate Lead for the workstrand Beyond Engagement in the Centre for Biomedicine, Self & Society, and an elected member of the Social Policy Association's Executive Committee.

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

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (University of Edinburgh, 2020)

PhD in Politics (University of Edinburgh, 2012)

MSc in Social Policy & Planning (LSE, 2007)

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

Undergraduate teaching

I am course organiser for Foundation of Knowledge, a core course on the intercalated Honours programme Bioethics, Law & Society.

Postgraduate teaching

I am also course organiser for Qualitative Research in Health, an elective on our Masters in Public Health programme.

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.

Current PhD students supervised

  • Gabrielle King (Usher Institute) - scientific engagement of people living with MND, and their carers.
  • Carol Porteous (Usher Institute) – participants’ experiences of patient and public involvement in health research.
  • Katherine Hirono (Social Policy) – community engagement within Health Impact Assessment
  • Catherine Carver (Usher Institute) - public and patient involvement in the regulation of new medicines and technologies

Past PhD students supervised

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

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

I am one of four Investigators on a Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award in Humanities and Social Sciences, exploring the past, present and future of charity and voluntarism in the NHS. I am also a co-Investigator within SIPHER (https://sipher.ac.uk/), a consortium funded by the UK Prevention Research Partnership. My work within the Consortium considers how people's lived experience of policy issues can inform systems science efforts to tackle health inequalities.

Affiliated research centres

View all 38 publications on Research Explorer