SKAPE members are broadly interested in how different kinds of knowledge for and about policy are produced and legitimised, and how these various forms of knowledge come to shape – and are shaped by – governance and political debate. We currently divide our research into three main themes, as listed below, and bring this research together through a range of projects and activities.

Research themes

collection of lightbulbs

The Social Life of Policy Knowledge

This strand of research explores the social life of knowledge for policy. How are different kinds of knowledge for policy produced, inscribed, translated and disseminated? How are these different knowledges – whether lay or expert – screened, processed and enacted by policy actors? 

Big Ben

Monitoring and Governance

Most OECD countries have experienced a huge rise in the use of indicators and performance measures to track policy. In this strand, we explore how policymakers, scientific experts and wider publics observe and measure policy outcomes. 

protest sign reads 'are you people'

The Democratisation of Knowledge

While the division between ‘lay’ and ‘expert’ knowledge has never been a binary one, over the last thirty years there has been a dramatic surge in public participation in policy-relevant science. In this strand, we explore how different ‘publics’ participate in the production of scientific knowledge and policy-making.

Projects and initiatives


Book Series in Science, Knowledge and Policy

Professor Kat Smith and Professor Sotiria Grek are editors of this inter-disciplinary Palgrave series to explore the new politics of knowledge. The series promotes work on public issues and policy problems which take knowledge as their focus.

The editors are always happy to receive enquiries about book proposals.

Steve and Albert in conversation


SKAPE-net was an international network funded by the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) and the School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh.

SKAPE-net brought together key scholars on SKAPE’s research themes to expand the centre’s international focus and scope.

Supporting research

Early-career academics

SKAPE welcomes PhD students and ECAs as members, who may present ideas and contribute to setting SKAPE’s key priorities for the future.

SKAPE members work to support early career colleagues working on relevant topics in a number of other ways, including, for example, through SKAPE seminars to provide constructive feedback on draft papers and grant applications, and hosting visiting post-doctoral scholars working on issues of relevance for SKAPE.

This section is in the process of being updated, but if you have any questions about how to get involved with SKAPE as a PGR or ECA member, you can contact us on