Kezia Dugdale joins leadership of new Centre for Public Policy

Kezia Dugdale is joining the Centre for Public Policy at the University of Glasgow, after serving as Director of the John Smith Centre for five years.

A Professor of Practice at the University since 2022, Kezia will take on the role of Associate Director in the newly established team, working alongside the Centre’s inaugural Director, Professor Nicola McEwen.

The Centre for Public Policy has been established to foster collaboration between the research and policy community, by sharing research evidence, nurturing skills, building capacity and preparing the next generation of policy makers. Its team is dedicated to working with the policy community to develop innovative solutions to the many challenges they face.

Kezia will take a leading role in building the Glasgow Policy Lab programme to support this work.

Having served as an MSP, Leader of Scottish Labour and more recently Director of the John Smith Centre, Kezia brings with her a wealth of experience in law-making and the impact of public policies within communities. She will lead the Centre’s community and external engagement, providing an important bridge between the University, policy makers and the communities they serve.
Kezia will also develop the Centre’s Executive Education offering while working with Professor Nicola McEwen to build the University’s reputation as a centre of excellence in academic-policy engagement.

Kezia Dugdale said: "I am thrilled to be joining the Centre and working again on substantive public policy issues, bringing in much of the experience both of my time as an MSP, but also my work more recently as Chair of Shelter Scotland, an Oversight Board member of the Promise and with the Electoral Reform Society.

"In the 25 years since the Scottish Parliament was established, the world has transformed to the point of being unrecognisable. There are significant and complex challenges facing the policy community from artificial intelligence to climate change and widening inequalities. In this pivotal election year, we need to ensure new ideas and solutions can be brought to the fore to create meaningful policy fit for the future."

Nicola McEwen said: "We are thrilled to have Kezia joining our team. Her wealth of experience in politics, her understanding of social policy, and her dedication to supporting communities will be a tremendous asset to the Centre. I look forward to working together with her to make sure that academic research and expertise can contribute to improving public policy, from its design to its impact on people and communities."

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow said: "I’m delighted that Kezia is joining colleagues at our Centre for Public Policy. Kezia has already brought a range of opportunities to the University and to many of our students, most recently as Director of the John Smith Centre and as Professor of Practice in Public Services.

"I am pleased Kezia will now bring her experience and perspective on Scotland’s political landscape to this new role. Her unique insights into wider issues of public policy and the public’s engagement with politics and policymaking processes will also support the Centre’s mission to provide a space for robust, informed and healthy debate."

Kezia Dugdale will continue her role as Director of the John Smith Centre until her successor is appointed.