Nicola McEwen

Nicola McEwen's picture
University of Edinburgh
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+44 (0)131 651 1831
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Nicola McEwen is a Professor of Politics at the University of Edinburgh, and Associate Director of the ESRC Centre on Constitutional Change (CCC). She was appointed ESRC Senior Scotland Fellow, exploring Scotland’s external and intergovernmental relations in the event of independence. This external dimension to the future of Scotland remains the focus of her research within the SCCC. A political scientist at Edinburgh since 2001, Nicola specialises in research on devolution, territorial politics and multi-level governance. Within these broad fields, her research has examined: nationalism and territorial politics; intergovernmental relations; public policy (especially social welfare and energy policy); parties and elections; and voting behaviour.

Her focus is primarily on Scotland, but often also addresses developments in similar ‘sub-state nations’, including Quebec, Catalonia, the Basque Country and Flanders. Nicola is also Associate Director of Research at Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science, and Managing Editor of the journal, Regional and Federal Studies, the leading European journal in the field of territorial politics.

She is a frequent contributor to radio, television and print news outlets, offering commentary on elections, government and policy, and the Scottish constitutional debate. Recent publications can be found at:

Project Job Role: 
Co-Director, Centre on Constitutional Change


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5 years 10 months

Posts by this author:

As part of our state of the debate series, Nicola McEwen discusses the position of welfare policy in the debate. The first week of the final 6 week phase of the referendum campaign was a difficult one for the Yes campaign. The currency issue dominated the news agenda in the aftermath of the televise... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
In a research briefing paper published today, Professor Nicola McEwen evaluates the prospects for energy market integration and a formal energy partnership between the Scottish and UK governments after independence. She concludes that cooperation is inevitable and wholesale market integration likely... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
Key points: An integrated GB wholesale electricity market in the event of independence is likely. EU law provides the mechanism for joint support across member states, and the joint Swedish-Norwegian scheme provides a precedent for two independent countries sharing a scheme to incentivise renewable... Read more
Post type: Publication
There has been a notable shift in the Better Together campaign in recent weeks. The Labour Party appears to be finding its voice, while the UK government, recognising that its own interventions may be counter-productive, appears to have vacated some space to allow Labour’s big hitters to come to the... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
Speaking at the Future of the UK and Scotland event What Happens if Scotland Votes No? Dr Nicola McEwen, Associate Director of ESRC Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change, considers the implications of a NO vote for Scottish-UK intergovernmental relations. Devolution may have heralded a division o... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
Following speculations about voters from firth of Scotland having a decisive influence on the referendum outcome, Nicola McEwen argues that demographic factors will offer little in explaining why people will vote Yes or No. The latest ICM poll made delightful reading for the yes campaign the other d... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
The welfare dimension of Labour’s Devolution proposals The future of the welfare state has been a key feature of the referendum campaign. Against the backdrop of the UK government’s controversial welfare reforms, the Scottish government and Yes Scotland have argued that an independent Scotland would... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
A version of this blog appeared in the Guardian, 11 March 2014 At its height, the welfare state was a symbol of nationhood and solidarity that helped Scots to feel at home in Britain. Nowadays, much of the core welfare state functions have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament. The one that remai... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
Dr Nicola McEwen provides an analysis of the Scottish Government's white paper on independence for the think tank L'idée fédérale. The paper outlines the case made by the Scottish Government for independence as well as discusses the proposals for shared services, noting a sense of both continuity an... Read more
Post type: Publication
Scotland has been championed as the ‘green capital’ of Europe. The ambitious climate change legislation passed unanimously by the parliament in 2009 is often hailed by ministers as ‘world-leading’. This ambition is reflected in the White Paper, albeit with less emphasis than one might have expected.... Read more
Post type: Blog entry


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