Sandra Nutley


Sandra Nutley is Professor of Public Policy and Management at the University of St Andrews. Prior to her academic career, she worked in local government, and since joining academia, has been seconded to work with several UK public sector organisations, including the National Health Service and the Scottish Government. She has also served as a member of various policy advisory groups concerned with improving the performance of public services. Sandra has published widely in the area of research utilisation and evidence-based policy and practice, including Using Evidence: How Research can Inform Public Services (Nutley, Walter and Davies, The Policy Press, 2007). She is Director of the Research Unit for Research Utilisation (, which is a research collaboration that investigates the use of social science research in public policy and service delivery settings.


Improving knowledge mobilisation: uncertainties, ambiguities, tensions and successes!

Knowledge of all kinds is the life-blood of public service organisations. Of particular interest to those concerned with knowledge mobilisation is the knowledge that comes from careful and replicable study, i.e. from research. Central to our concerns is the observation that flows of research-based knowledge are often slow, intermittent and uncertain, and that active strategies to mobilise that knowledge are needed if the latent power of research-based knowledge to improve public services is to be realised. But how can we best shape these ‘active strategies’?

This presentation will reflect on the answers to this question, drawing both on the discussion during the forum and findings from a recent project that sought to harness the insights from a growing body of new approaches to knowledge mobilisation ( The emphasis will be on drawing out practical lessons that could be used to make current and future initiatives around research use more effective.

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Download Sandra Nutley’s UKKMbF15 slides