Nicola McEwen

Nicola McEwen's picture
University of Edinburgh
Phone Number: 
+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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4 years 11 months

Posts by this author:

Scottish constitutional preferences have long been split (at least) three ways - between those who supported independence, those who supported the constitutional status quo, and those who wanted a stronger Scottish Parliament within the UK – let’s call them the devo-maxers. The promise this week of... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
As commentators pore over last night’s leaders’ debate, Professor Nicola McEwen reflects on the unprecedented level of citizen engagement in communities across Scotland. As households around the country were tuned into the second leaders’ debate last night, Professor Michael Keating, Professor David... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
UK-Irish interdependence today can provide valuable insights for Scottish-UK border relations, as some of the interdependences and the management of these could also apply to Scottish-UK border relations in the event of independence.  EU regulations on mobility of persons, goods and services as well... Read more
Post type: Publication
Professor Nicola McEwen published a research briefing today on A nordic model for Scotland? Scottish - UK relations after independence. The briefing notes that the existing forums for intergovernmental relations would be insufficient to manage Scottish-rUK relations in an independence scenario. For... Read more
Post type: News Article
Nicola McEwen Key Points Existing UK intergovernmental forums would be insufficient to manage Scottish-rUK intergovernmental relations if the Scottish government’s independence vision was realised. The Nordic example illustrates that intergovernmental cooperation, formal and informal, between neigh... Read more
Post type: Publication
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


Latest blogs

  • 20th July 2018

    Richard Parry reviews a fast-evolving situation as the march of time and need to reconcile rhetoric and practicality constrain policy-makers

  • 13th July 2018

    The White Paper published this week talks about the UK Government making ‘sovereign decisions’ to adopt European rules but, as we know from the experience of Norway and Switzerland, this can be an illusory sovereignty when the costs of deviating from the rules is exclusion from the single market or European programmes. CCC Director Professor Michael Keating looks at whether the UK is ready for this kind of deal.

  • 12th July 2018

    Last week the government released its fisheries white paper. While most of the fisheries and Brexit debate centres on quotas and access to waters, there is also an important devolution dimension. Brexit already has profound consequences for the UK’s devolution settlement and fisheries policy is one example of this. So, in addition to communicating its overall vision for post-Brexit fisheries policy, the white paper was also an opportunity for the government to set out how it would see that policy working in the devolved UK.

  • 4th July 2018

    At the same time as Parliament prepares to ‘take back control’ from Brussels, the executive is in fact accruing to itself further control over the legislative process. CCC Fellow Professor Stephen Tierney addresses a number of trends – only some of which are a direct consequence of the unique circumstances of Brexit – which suggest a deeper realignment of institutional power within the constitution and a consequent diminution of Parliament’s legislative power.

  • 27th June 2018

    Faced with a choice between splitting her Cabinet into winners and losers, Theresa May has sought to keep the Brexit crap game going. She does this by avoiding betting on either a hard or soft Brexit. Professor Richard Rose of Strathclyde looks at the high stakes outcomes facing the Prime Minister. .

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