University of St Andrews


Professor Paul Boyle


I graduated with a B.A. (hons) degree in Geography from Lancaster University in 1986, having spent a year at the University of Colorado, Boulder, on an exchange. I returned to Lancaster to undertake a PhD which modelled migration flows in the West Midlands region of England, graduating in 1991. I held my first lectureship at the University of Wales, Swansea and then moved to the University of Leeds, spending a year at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand during this period. I moved to take up a chair in Human Geography at the University of St Andrews in 1999.

My research interests fall within population and health geography, with many projects looking at issues which intersect both these themes. I have published on migration issues, including the influence of family migration on women, on health issues, including health inequalities and the clustering of disease, and on the intersection between demographic and health issues, such as my work on the links between migration and health.

As Director of the ESRC funded Longitudinal Studies Centre - Scotland (LSCS) a major part of my role has been the establishment and support of the Scottish Longitudinal Study. This major resource links data from various routine administrative sources for around 5.3% of the Scottish population and is one of the largest studies of its type in the world. As a result, I have become increasingly interested in the use of such longitudinal data and the ethical and confidentiality issues that arise when using personal information. I am also Co-Director of the ESRC funded Centre for Population Change (CPC) and am a Co-Investigator on the Wellcome Trust funded Scottish Health Informatics Programme (SHIP) and the ESRC funded Administrative Data Liaison Service (ADLS).


  • Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council 
  • Member, Board of Governors, European Population Partnership 2009-present 
  • European Science Foundation Expert Board to advise on the Position Paper Social Sciences in Europe 2009 
  • Member, ESRC National Centre for e-Social Science review panel 20 
  • International Health Data Linkage Consortium 2008-present 
  • Royal Statistical Society Working Party on Data Capture and Society 2008- present 
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh, Economic and Social Sciences Sectional Committee, 2008-10 
  • President, British Society for Population Studies 2007-9 
  • Co-editor of the journal Population, Space and Place 
  • Board member of the Long View Charitable Trust 
  • Steering Group for Data Exchange in Education and Children's Services, Scottish


Research Interests

  • Population Geography, including migration, fertility and family dynamics 
  • Health Geography, including health inequalities and geographical variations in morbidity and mortality


Teaching Interests

  • Health Geography 
  • Population Geography