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About Us

Officials and Scholars Working Together

The Scottish Policy and Research Exchange supports researchers and officials as they seek smart solutions to policy challenges. It is a network of professionals working together to deliver evidence-informed policy in practice.

Who We Are


Nick Bibby


Scottish Policy and Research Exchange

Nick is a policy engagement professional with a background in journalism and higher education. He helped establish SPRE and was appointed as the project’s first director at the beginning of 2019.


Dr Dave Bell

Networks & Learning Lead

Scottish Policy and Research Exchange

Dave is a knowledge exchange specialist. He has a PhD in climate science and experience in environmental policy, climate change mitigation research and leading on knowledge exchange activities for global interdisciplinary research programmes. Dave’s work at SPRE focuses on how academic-policy engagement can be more ethical and effective, with particular attention to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion, building and supporting networks, and operationalising ‘learning by doing’ approaches. Get in touch


Rita Gardner


SPRE Advisory Group

Dr Rita Gardner CBE FAcSS is Chief Executive of the Academy of Social Sciences. Rita was previously Director of the Royal Geographical Society, the UK’s learned society and professional body for geography, from 1996 to 2018. Dr Gardner has extensive experience in advisory, trustee and committee roles and is the recipient of a CBE for services to geography.


Rebekah Widdowfield


SPRE Advisory Group

Dr Widdowfield was until recently Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She has a background in academia and government, researching housing and homelessness, rural and environmental science and analysis, social research (as Scottish Government Chief Researcher) and higher education.

Why We Do It

Rigorous and impartial research has a vital role in the policy process. We believe that research-informed policy is better policy.

We believe in the benefits of increasing the diversity of the voices contributing to the evidence base for policy. We represent many disciplines, professional backgrounds and methodological approaches.

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