Our Mission

We are immensely proud to have launched the first professional school for government and public policy in the United Kingdom. The Academy of Government will become the cornerstone of the University of Edinburgh's efforts to reach out and engage in policy issues at the local, national, and international levels, and to prepare the next generation of public leaders to face the complex policy challenges of a globalised world.

- Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh

BustsThe Academy of Government was established at the University of Edinburgh to support new forms of teaching and research in government, politics and public policy.  We're interested in how government happens, in how politics is done in the everyday, whether in local, national or international contexts.

We are a group of scholars committed to research, teaching and public and professional engagement, and we have experience of working in policy making, public service, participatory and activist settings.  We have a shared sense of government on the ground, of government and politics being conducted by men and women with first and last names.  It may be the focus of their working lives, or something they commit to voluntarily, in and among everything else that they do.

We're drawn to the challenges of government, and in what makes for excellence in overcoming them. We’re interested in the ideas and processes of policy making; in the practices of collaboration and participation and in the achievements of effective implementation.  And we want to take up and engage with what is new in the world, in Scotland and in the many communities of which it is comprised and to which it belongs.  Ours is an academy for all who do government, wherever and however they do it, as well as for all those who would do it differently.

We want all of our work to be both theoretically informed and close to practice. We make sure that it is:

  • issue-based: we're concerned with what matters to people here and now, with how politics is expressed in policy and in the substance, process and effects of public decision-making;
  • interdisciplinary: our thinking draws on the ideas and methods of political science, sociology, economics, anthropology and science and technology studies, and we work closely with colleagues in each of these fields;
  • interactive: we work with policy makers, practitioners and publics of all kinds, finding ways for them to learn with us rather than from us, just as we work and learn with them; in this way, we think of all of our research, teaching and engagement activity simply as different forms of knowledge exchange.

Find out more about how we work through our dedicated Education, Engagement, and Research programmes.