Nina Miller Westoby has won second prize in the first Scottish Graduate School for Social Sciences research impact and knowledge exchange competition. The competition was open to all social science doctoral candidates across its 16 partner universities. The competition reflects the growing need for social science research - not only to make an original contribution to the academy - but also to make a demonstrable contribution to society and the economy and to benefit individuals, organisations and/or nations.
Based on Nina’s doctoral research on EU citizenship, Nina was invited by the Scottish Universities Legal Network on Europe to be the principal author of a position paper on EU citizenship, Brexit and Scotland. The purpose of the paper was to provide easily digestible information on this complex legal issue, so that policy development and public debate could be informed by a solid understanding of the legal dimensions.
The paper was initially commissioned by members of the Scottish Government’s Standing Council on Europe, an expert group convened by the First Minister to advise the government on Scotland’s place in Europe following the Brexit vote. Based on the paper Nina gave a briefing to members of the Standing Council and 25 Scottish civil society organisations. The paper was also circulated within Scottish Government departments, leading to an invitation to speak at the Scottish Government EU Nationals Network.
The paper has had a conceptual impact on the Brexit debate. By advancing understanding of the EU legal framework, the everyday rights of people in Scotland that it affects and through identifying which groups may be the most vulnerable to losing legal status following Brexit, it has contributed to informing the development of policy at the national level and in Scottish civil society organisations. Following the briefing participants noted appreciation for the paper in providing much needed accessible legal expertise on Brexit issues and explained their need for detailed knowledge in this area. The paper was referred to in a front page article of The Herald and through media coverage has also informed and directed the public debate more generally.
Nina will be awarded her prize today at the SGSSS ESRC PhD Doctoral Training Partnership conference at Stirling University.