The Role of Knowledge in the Construction and Regulation of Health and Education Policy in Europe

Research Team:

Steve Sturdy, Richard Freeman, Jennifer Smith


The work is funded by the European Commission and carried out by the University of Edinburgh.


The role of knowledge in the construction and regulation of health and education policy in Europe: convergences and specificities among nations and sectors

This study aims to identify and understand the informational, cognitive and intellectual basis of mental health policy making in Scotland, exploring the ways of thinking which inform government.

The work is funded by the European Commission and carried out by the University of Edinburgh

Start date of project: 01/10/2006. Duration: 5 years.

We are interested in three aspects of the relationship between knowledge and policy:

  • What do policy makers know and how do they know it?
  • How do they use what they know from different sources in making decisions?
  • How do they use different kinds of information to govern mental health?

Our research method consists principally of (i) documentary analysis and (ii) elite interviews with policy makers and other key actors. Project outcomes include a research report, a series of policy briefings as well as academic publications, a documentary archive and a series of public seminars with policy makers and others.

Our work is part of the bigger, integrated European project KNOWandPOL, which will last five years, covering health and education policy in eight countries and at local, national and international levels. In Scotland, our partners are Jenny Ozga and Martin Lawn of the Centre for Educational Sociology, University of Edinburgh. The project is directed by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Solidarity and Social Innovation at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.