Sgoil Cheumnaichean Saidheans Sòisealta na h-Alba


The Scottish Graduate School of Social Science is the UK's largest facilitator of funding, training and support for doctoral students in social science. By combining the expertise of sixteen universities across Scotland, the school facilitates world-class PhD research. The school is funded jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Scottish Funding Council.

SGSSS is a highly attractive environment for doctoral research. Not only do our partner universities offer an excellent research environment, we also offer comprehensive and world-class research training in a number of discipline-specific and interdisciplinary pathways. In addition, the school manages a programme of advanced training courses and an annual summer school which together offers our students further opportunities to develop their research, knowledge exchange and transferable professional skills.

At the heart of the SGSSS is the Doctoral Training Partnership (formerly the Doctoral Training Centre) in Scotland. The SGSSS was established in 2011 and is the biggest of 14 Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) accredited DTPs in the United Kingdom. The bid for renewed funding has been successful and from 1 October 2017 the SGSSS will be one of the ESRC’s 14 Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP)

Our Funders


The Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. The ESRC supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.

The ESRC is a non-departmental public body established by Royal Charter in 1965 and receives most of its funding through the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. ESRC is committed to the principles of quality, impact and independence.

More information about the ESRC, its work, impact and findings can be found here.


The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is responsible for funding teaching and learning provision, research and other activities in Scotland’s colleges and higher education institutions. SFC’s Funding Decisions support the Scottish Government’s national priorities. Its purpose is to secure coherent, high quality further and higher learning provision by colleges and universities in Scotland, and the undertaking of research. SFC contributes to the costs of teaching, research and other activities – including costs related to staff, infrastructure, buildings and equipment. Follow the link to find out more about SFC. 

The Directorate

The Directorate is responsible for the everyday operations of SGSSS. The directorate oversees the successful running and strategic development of the SGSSS in line with its objectives. This includes: designing and overseeing a studentship allocation system; providing advanced training; ensuring timely financial reporting; overseeing the development of partnerships.

The Directorate is hosted by the University of Edinburgh and comprises the following staff:

Professor Jamie Pearce


Professor Mhairi Mackenzie

Deputy Director - Studentships

Dr Jo Ferrie

Deputy Director - Training

Dr Richard Simmons

Associate Director, Society and Welfare

Dr Gurchathen Sanghera

Associate Director, People and Place

Professor Melanie Simms

Associate Director, Economies, Mind, and Technologies Hub

Professor Emmanuelle Tulle

Associate Director, Student Experience

Professor Lydia Plowman

Associate Director, Interdisciplinarity and Advanced Training

Dr Julie Clark

Associate Director, Advanced Methods Hub

Diane Gill

SGSSS Manager

Anna Scott

Knowledge Exchange and Partnerships Manager

Eimear Musgrave

Knowledge Exchange and Partnerships Coordinator


Studentships and Widening Participation Coordinator

Ross Hoffie

Communications and Engagement Coordinator

Laura Fraser

Administrative Assistant

HEI Admin Leads

Each partner institution has a designated administration contact directly connected to the SGSSS. Coordination of future and ongoing studentships is handled locally at each member institution through the HEI Admin Leads.

AberdeenAnn Marie Johnston
DundeeJudith Miller
EdinburghLorna Shiels
GlasgowRebekah Derrett
Glasgow CaledonianIvana Covic
Heriot-WattSusan Smith
Highlands & IslandsJackie Deacon
NapierWendy Steven
Robert GordonAlison Orellana
SRUCShirley Ho
St AndrewsDavid Nuttall
StirlingKaren Sutherland
StrathclydeShona Cameron
Queen Margaret University​Alison Basford-Thomson
University of the West of ScotlandGavin Morrison

Supervisory Board

The Supervisory Board consists of representatives from each of our partner universities and is responsible for setting the overall strategic direction of the SGSSS. The Board agrees and oversees the strategic priorities and oversees the implementation of ESRC’s guidance on the distribution of studentships, spread of good practices and embedding collaboration. 

The members of the Board have been appointed to provide representation of our partner institutions. The Supervisory Board is chaired by Professor Anne Anderson, a Vice-Principal at the University of Glasgow.

The members of the Supervisory board include:

Professor Dorothy Miell, University of Edinburgh, Chair
Professor Marion CampbellUniversity of Aberdeen
Professor Vera Kempe, Abertay University
Professor John Rowan, University of Dundee
tbc, University of Edinburgh
Professor Alistair SambellEdinburgh Napier University
Dr Duncan Ross, University of Glasgow
Professor Cam Donaldson, Glasgow Caledonian University
Professor Robert MacIntosh, Heriot-Watt University
Professor Neil Simco, University of the Highlands and Islands
Dr Richard Butt, Queen Margaret University
Professor Paul Hagan, Robert Gordon University
Dr Andrew Barnes, Scotland’s Rural College
Professor Monique Mackenzie, University of St Andrews
Professor Judith Phillips, University of Stirling
Professor Anja Lowit, University of Strathclyde
Professor Chik Collins, University of the West of Scotland

In addition to academic partners, our board includes key stakeholders:

Tracy Davies, UKRI-ESRC
Morag Campbell, Scottish Funding Council

Deans of Graduate Studies Network

Dr Nia White, University of Abertay
Professor Graeme Nixon, University of Aberdeen
Dr Ed Hall, University of Dundee
Professor Stephen Bowd, University of Edinburgh
Professor Hazel Hall, Edinburgh Napier University
Dr Duncan Ross, University of Glasgow
Dr Margaret-Anne Houston, Glasgow Caledonian University (shared with: Dr Amy Cartwright)
Dr Babak Taheri, Heriot-Watt University
Michael Rayner, University of the Highlands & Islands
Professor Jan Dewing, Queen Margaret University
Dr Andrew Lamb, Robert Gordon University
Professor Riccardo Bavaj, University of St Andrews
Dr Mark Hocart, Scotland’s Rural University College
Professor Iain Docherty, University of Stirling
Professor Ian Rivers, University of Strathclyde
Professor David McGillivray, University of West of Scotland

Member Institutions

The following Scottish universities are members of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science. The 12 Institutions eligible for hosting ESRC studentships are listed first: