Laura Meagher's profile

Dr Laura Meagher


Honorary Fellow


Science Technology and Innovation Studies

E-Mail Telephone

+44 (0)133 487 0640

Laura Meagher PhD has spent over 30 years working in the US and the UK with and within research and higher education institutions, along with industry and government, focussing on strategic change. As an independent consultant, Meagher enjoys creativity, complexity and diversity in her work. She has worked with fields ranging from the creative arts to photonics, in different sectors, on projects with diverse aims. She has catalysed and facilitated novel initiatives, often multi-sector, inter-institutional, international and/or interdisciplinary, so is keenly aware of challenges, issues and practical mechanisms. She has reviewed multi-faceted projects and evaluated funding schemes promoting complex changes such: as interdisciplinarity; impact generation; novel collaborations including multi-institutional alliances and international ventures; career development/capacity-building; knowledge exchange, spinouts or economic development.  Clients have included: universities; various UK Research Councils; the Royal Society; the British Academy; Defra; the Forestry Commission; Scottish Government; and others.

Meagher combines a commitment to rigorous analysis with keen sensitivity to subtle processes. Similarly, she combines an appreciation of differences in perspective with constructive exploration of how they might be integrated to achieve new joint aims.

Meagher shares analyses and insights on interdisciplinarity and impact evaluation through publications, reports and masterclasses – as well as through serving as a ‘critical friend’ for leaders of complex initiatives. She also designs, facilitates and distils results from future-oriented brainstorming workshops, focus groups and retreats for individuals with differing perspectives.

Career Highlights

  • Interdisciplinary PhD, Zoology Department, Duke University – in evolutionary biology, but dissecting ‘dynamics of scientific revolution’ as catalysed by Darwin
  • Moved into science policy, working with Governor and his Science Advisor, North Carolina – ‘between science and the outside world’
  • Co-founder & first VP, pioneering state-wide biotechnology centre – catalysing multiple collaborations and emerging fields, as well as economic development measurable in significantly increased tax revenues and quality jobs for North Carolina
  • Research dean, Rutgers University, New Jersey – interdisciplinary, inter-sector, inter-institutional, international initiatives
  • Fulbright, University of Edinburgh – ‘institutional change’
  • Moved to Scotland 1999; Re-established consultancy, Technology Development Group, on strategic change in research and in HE – facilitating and evaluating interdisciplinarity and impacts of research programmes and funding schemes
  • Public service in UK:  2009-2018 Member, Macaulay Development Trust (Chair, 2009-2010); 2011-2016 Member, Board of Governors, the James Hutton Institute;  2005-2011 Member, Board of Governors, the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute;  2005-2010 Member, Board of Directors, Newbattle Abbey College

Research Interests

Interdisciplinary research and education Impact evaluation and generation Evaluation of complex initiatives Novel capacity-building International collaboration

Dr Laura Meagher has not added any teaching activity to this section yet.
Dr Laura Meagher has not added any PhD activity to this section yet.

Selected publications and reports

Edwards, D. and Meagher, L. 2019. A framework to evaluate the impacts of research on policy and practice: a forestry pilot study. Forestry Policy and Economics.

Reed, M. and Meagher, L. 2019. Using evidence in environmental and sustainability issues. Chapter 8, pp 151-170. In What works now? Evidence-informed policy and practice. Eds Boaz, A., Davies, H., Fraser, A. Nutley, S. Bristol: Policy Press.

Meagher, L. and ESPA. 2018. Webinar: ‘Interdisciplinary research for sustainable development’

Meagher, L and Martin, U. (2017) Slightly dirty maths: The richly textured mechanisms of impact   Research Evaluation (2017) rvw024. DOI: Published: 18 January 2017.

Lindvig, K., Lyall, C., and Meagher, L. (2017) Creating Interdisciplinary Education within Monodisciplinary Structures: the Art of Managing Interstitiality. Studies in Higher Education. August 2017.

Pagel C, Rogers L, Brown K, Ambler G, Anderson D, Barron D, et al. Improving risk adjustment in the PRAiS (Partial Risk Adjustment in Surgery) model for mortality after paediatric cardiac surgery and improving public understanding of its use in monitoring outcomes. Health Serv Deliv Res 2017;5(23)

Meagher, L., Inman, A., Reed, M., Hunter, S. 2017. Impact evaluation of research undertaken to deliver the Forestry Commission’s Science and Innovation Strategy for Forestry in Great Britain.                  evaluation_study_2017.pdf/$FILE/Research-impact-evaluation_study_2017.pdf

Lyall, C., Meagher, L. and Bruce, A. (2014) “A rose by any other name? Transdisciplinarity in the context of UK research policy”, Futures (2015), pp. 150-162. DOI: 10.1016/j.futures.2014.08.009

Meagher, L. and Lyall, C.  2013.  The invisible made visible: using impact evaluations to illuminate and inform the role of knowledge intermediaries.   Evidence and Policy Vol 9 Issue 3: 409-18. (August 2013)

Meagher, Laura. 2013 Generating Innovation through Knowledge Exchange: Capturing Lessons Learned. Chapter 3 in Innovation Support in Latin America and Europe eds. Anderson, Mark et al. Gower Publishing

Meagher, Laura. 2013.  Research Impact on Practice: Case Study Analysis. For ESRC.

Lyall, Catherine, Bruce, Ann, Marsden, Wendy and Meagher, Laura. 2013. The role of funding agencies in creating interdisciplinary knowledge. Science and Public Policy 40(1): 62-71.

Meagher, Laura. 2012. Societal and Economic Impact Evaluation, Rural Economy and Land Use initiative

Lyall, C. &  Meagher, L.  2012.  A masterclass in interdisciplinarity: Research into practice in training the next generation of interdisciplinary researchers. Futures, 44: 608–17.

Meagher, Laura. 2011.  ESRC Research Seminars Scheme Evaluation Final Report.

Lyall, Catherine, Bruce, Ann, Tait, Joyce, Meagher, Laura. 2011. Interdisciplinary Research Journeys: Practical strategies for capturing creativity. London: Bloomsbury Academic Press

Meagher, L., with Lyall, C. (2009)  Evaluation of the ESRC/MRC Interdisciplinary Studentship and Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme

Curzon, P., Black, J., Meagher, L.R. &  McOwan, P.W. (2009) “ Enthusing students about Computer Science”, Proceedings of Informatics Education Europe IV, Christoph Hermann, Tobias Lauer, Thomas Ottmann and Martina Welte (Eds.), pp73-80, November.

Meagher, L.  2008.  Impact Evaluation of People at the Centre of Communication and Information Technologies (PACCIT). Report to ESRC

Meagher, L.R., Lyall, C. & Nutley, S. 2008.  Flows of knowledge, expertise and influence: a method for assessing policy and practice impacts from social science research. Research Evaluation 17: 163-173 

Brownlie, J., Peckham, C., Waage, J., Woolhouse, M., Lyall, C., Meagher, L., Tait, J., Baylis, M., Nicoll, A.  2006.  Future Threats in Infectious Diseases: preparing for the Future. DTI OSI.

Meagher L.R. & Lyall C.  2005.  Evaluation of the ESRC/NERC Interdisciplinary Research Studentship Scheme

Meagher L.R. & Lyall C. (2005) Phase Two Evaluation of Research Development Grant.  Report to SHEFC

Meagher, L.R. (2004) Evaluation of the ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme. Report to ESRC 

Co-author with Catherine Lyall and colleagues, guides to various dimensions of interdisciplinarity: