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Professor Sandra Nutley

Professor Sandra Nutley

BA Hons, B Phil, DMS, PhD

Emeritus Professor of Public Policy and Management

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Research Unit for Research Utilisation (RURU)


Sandra has a first degree in sociology from Durham University, a (postgraduate) B Phil in Latin American Studies (Liverpool University), a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies (Birmingham Polytechnic) and a PhD in Management (Aston University). She has worked at the Universities of Lancaster, Aston, Edinburgh, Queen Mary (London) and St Andrews. Prior to her academic career, she worked in local government in the UK. Since joining academia, she has been seconded to work with several public sector organisations, including the National Health Service and the Scottish Government. She has also worked on a consultancy basis with a wide range of public and voluntary sector organisations. From 2005-2011 she was a non-executive member of the Social Work Inspection Agency Board in Scotland. She has served as a member of several policy advisory groups, including working in an advisory capacity with provincial/ state governments in Australia and Canada. Sandra is former Co-Director of the Research Unit for Research Utilisation (RURU), which is a research collaboration that investigates the use of social science research in public policy and service delivery settings. She also serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals including Evidence & Policy, Public Administration, and Public Money and Management.

Research specialisms

Sandra's research centres on two core areas: understanding and improving research use and impact in public policy and practice contexts; and performance management systems, with a particular focus on public service audit and inspection regimes. She has published widely in both of these areas. She has wider research interests in public management reform and managing change.

The book chapter, "Knowledge mobilisation: creating sharing and using knowledge", written by Sandra with Huw Davies, can be viewed via RURU publications.

Recent Publications

Additional Publications: click here.

Selected other information

  • In 2011 Sandra received the Campbell Collaboration’s Robert Boruch Award for her distinctive contribution to research that informs public policy.
  • Non-Executive Member of the Social Work Inspection Agency’s Management Board (2005-2011)
  • Chair the Scottish Funding Council’s (SFC) Knowledge Exchange in Public Policy Action Group (2006-2009)
  • Associate, then Deputy, Editor of Public Money and Management (2000 – 2004) and since then a member of the editorial board
  • Associate Editor of Evidence & Policy (2004 to date)
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Public Administration (2012 to date)
  • Member of the Editorial Board of the Social Policy Journal of New Zealand (2007 to date)
  • Member of the Scottish Government’s Changing Lives: Practice Governance group (2007-2011)
  • Member of the expert panel advising the Scottish Government’s independent review of regulation, audit, inspection and complaints handling of public services in Scotland (the Crerar Review - 2007)
  • Member of the Public Policy and Management Association
  • Member of the UK Evaluation Society
  • Member of the International Research Society on Public Management
What works? Evidence-based Policy and Practice in Public Services book cover‌  An Australian Handbook of Public Sector Management book cover‌  Using Evidence book cover‌   Knowledge and Practice in Business and Organisations - book cover