Dr Ellen Stewart

Chancellor'S Fellow And Senior Lecturer

Social Work and Social Policy

Personal statement

I am a social scientist working at the intersection of medical sociology, health policy and public administration. My research explores how health systems accommodate and negotiate different forms of ‘lay’ and ‘expert’ knowledge, including demands for public engagement and for evidence-based policy.

In past projects I've explored everyday practices of public involvement in the local NHS, new governance arrangements for Scottish Health Boards, how health policymakers use research evidence, and hospital closures as an example of contentious healthcare transformation. My research has been funded by the ESRC, MRC, Wellcome Trust, Chief Scientist Office Scotland and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. 

I am currently a co-Investigator on the UKPRP Consortium SIPHER, which aims to coproduce useful modelling tools with policymakers in Sheffield City Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and the Scottish Government. I lead public engagement for the consortium, working in partnership with local third sector organisations to deliver three Community Panels. 

I am one of four grantholders on a Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award exploring charity and voluntarism in the UK NHS. I lead a work package focusing on the contemporary role of NHS Charities in fundraising and supplementing statutory spend on healthcare. 

I am an elected member of the Social Policy Association's Executive Committee (2018-2024) and serve on the Wellcome Trust's Early Career Advisory Group for Medical Humanities (2021-2024).


Fugitive coproduction : conceptualising informal community practices in Scotland's hospitals
Stewart Ellen
Social Policy and Administration Vol 55, pp. 1310-1324 (2021)
Publics and their health systems : rethinking participation
Stewart Ellen
Palgrave Studies in Science, Knowledge and Policy Palgrave Studies in Science, Knowledge and Policy (2016)
Transforming primary care in Scotland : a critical policy analysis
Stewart Ellen, Donaghy Eddie, Guthrie Bruce, Henderson David, Huang Huayi, Pickersgill Martyn, Wang Harry, Mercer Stewart
British Journal of General Practice (2022)
Towards a feminist philosophy of engagements in health-related research
Erikainen Sonja, Stewart Ellen, Marques Filipe Anglea, Chan Sarah, Cunningham-Burley Sarah, Ilson Sophie, King Gabrielle, Porteous Carol, Sinclair Stephanie, Webb Jamie
Wellcome Open Research Vol 6 (2022)
Going it Alone : Health and Brexit in the UK
Dayan Mark, McCarey Martha, Hervey Tamara, Fahy Nick, Greer Scott L, Jarman Holly, Stewart Ellen, Bristow Dan
The everyday work of hospital campaigns : public knowledge and activism in the UK's NHS
Stewart Ellen, Dodworth Kathy, Ercia Angelo
Posters, Protests and Prescriptions Cultural Histories of the National Health Service in Britain (2021) (2021)

More publications


Currently supervising:

  • Katie Hirono (University of Edinburgh): Comparing community engagement in Health Impact Assessments and Citizens' Juries in the UK and Australia.
  • Carol Porteous (University of Edinburgh): The impact of patient and public involvement in health research.

Completed PhD students:

  • Dr Gabrielle King (University of Edinburgh): Exploring how people with Motor Neurone Disease engage with biomedical research. 
  • Dr Taina Meriluoto (University of Jyväskylä): Expertise-by-experience in the Finnish social welfare sector. 


Trends in Socio-Economic Determinants of Health Inequalities in Scotland
Eiser, David (Principal Investigator) Congreve, Emma (Co-investigator) Smith, Kat (Co-investigator) Spowage, Mairi (Co-investigator) Stewart, Ellen (Co-investigator)
10-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2022
"All the help we can get": contemporary public donations of money to Scotland's NHS
Stewart, Ellen (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 29-Jan-2019
Critical approaches to Public and Patient Involvement in Health Research
Stewart, Ellen (Principal Investigator) Smith-Merry, Jennifer (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 01-Jan-2019
Hospitals must close?: a four system comparison of policy for constructive conversations on controversial service changes
Stewart, Ellen (Principal Investigator) Greer, Scott L. (Principal Investigator) Donnelly, Peter D. (Co-investigator)
Health Foundation Policy Challenge Fund
05-Jan-2016 - 21-Jan-2018
Closing hospitals: an evaluation of knowledge use and public involvement in disinvestment proposals
Stewart, Ellen (Principal Investigator)
Chief Scientist Office Postdoctoral Fellowship
03-Jan-2014 - 03-Jan-2018

More projects