Catherine Lyall's profile

Professor Catherine Lyall


Professor of Science and Public Policy


Science Technology and Innovation Studies

E-Mail Telephone

+44 (0)131 650 2452


2.90 Old Surgeons' Hall

High School Yards

Edinburgh, UK


I have a BSc(Hons) in Chemistry from the University of Aberdeen and an MSc in Science and Technology Policy from SPRU, University of Sussex.  I completed a PhD on the impact of Scottish devolution on the policy-making process for science and innovation while working at the University of Edinburgh.  Before joining the university, I worked for the UK civil service and held posts with the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

I am an experienced science policy researcher and evaluator of knowledge exchange and interdisciplinary research activities.  I have acted as a consultant to a number of public bodies including the ESRC, Scottish Funding Council, Higher Education Academy (HEA), Scottish Executive, European Commission, and the League of European Research Universities.  I was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the University of Copenhagen’s Governing Obesity project (2014-2016) and in 2017 was a member of an international review panel at Aarhus University.  I have been a member of the steering groups of the Edinburgh Beltane for Public Engagement and the Academy of Government and a past chair of the Scottish Funding Council’s Knowledge into Public Policy Action Group.

I am currently on the editorial board for the journal Science and Public Policy and a member of the Management Committee for EU COST action INTREPID (Interdisciplinarity in research programming and funding cycles).  I am a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and a Research Assessor for the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.

I have previously served as Deputy Director for both the ESRC Innogen Centre (2007-2012) and the ESRC Genomics Forum (2012-2013) and was Associate Dean Research Careers in the College of Humanities and Social Science for three years from January 2011 during which time I served on the Senate Researcher Experience Committee; the University Equality and Diversity Committee; and the College Research Committee.  I have experience as both an internal and external PhD examiner.

Research Interests

Policy issues related to the governance of science, technology, innovation The promotion and management of interdisciplinary research Research evaluation and the assessment of research impact

Completed Projects

My research seeks to advance an understanding of problems of science and technology policy formation and strategic decision-making by adopting interdisciplinary and practitioner-based perspectives.  My research and professional interests span:

  • policy issues related to the governance of science, technology, innovation and knowledge systems (see, for example, this short briefing note which summarises the findings from our SFC-funded cultured blood project)
  • the management and evaluation of interdisciplinary research - see, for example, recent project for the HEA and wiki
  • research evaluation and the assessment of research impact

Other Research Activities

Guidance and Feedback Hours

I am on sabbatical during 2018 and will see students by appointment.

Postgraduate Teaching

Research Skills in the Social Sciences: Data Collection (Course Organiser)

This course teaches professional competence in gathering information by talking to people, collecting documents, conducting surveys and observing social interaction. We cover a range of associated issues, including identifying and using different sources; recruiting and negotiating access to research respondents; formulating questions and managing interviews and focus groups; sampling populations and designing surveys; recording observations; research ethics.

Research Design (Lecturer) 

The course provides an introduction to the main issues involved in designing social science research, and is intended for students from a wide range of social science disciplines. Research design calls for decisions about how the research should be carried out, about what kind of data should be collected and analysed, and about how inferences should be drawn if the aims of the research are to be realised.

PhD Topics

I am broadly interested in the policy-making process for issues related to the governance of science, technology and innovation; the promotion and management of interdisciplinary research; and research evaluation and the assessment of research impact. I would be happy to discuss supervising in any of the following topics: Science and public policy; Research policy; Research impact; Knowledge exchange; Knowledge brokerage; The practice of interdisciplinarity; Theorising the integrative method.

Find out more about the programmes that I am involved with:

PhD in Science and Technology Studies; MSc (R) Science and Technology Studies

Current PhD Students

Eun Sun Kim: Facilitating Innovation in SMEs: The Case of a Public Intermediary in South Korea (PhD 2015)

Chihwei Yeh: Particle Physics in Public: Legitimising Curiosity-driven Research after the Higgs Boson (PhD Year 4)

Justyna Bandola-Gill: Assessing the Knowledge Brokerage Role of the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum (PhD Year 3)

Nathalie Dupin: Disruptive influence? The role of interdisciplinarity in training the next generation of researchers - in partnership with OPTIMA (MRes)

Publication List

ORCID Identifier: 0000-0002-4814-7357


Journal special issues

Digital Publications

Research wiki posts

Very occasional blog posts