Sarah is Director of Programmes at the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Scotland’s learned society, where she heads up the Directorate comprising the national academy’s research, international, enterprise, policy, public engagement, Fellowship and Young Academy teams. She also delivers to the ‘Inclusive Public Service’ workstream of the RSE’s Post-Covid Futures Commission.
Prior to this, Sarah was Director of Policy Engagement at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), where she worked for just over two decades. Sarah is Professor of Rural Society and Policy.
For 30+ years, Sarah has researched rural community resilience, disempowerment, poverty and rural mental health. She has enhanced rural and national policies and made a difference in rural communities via robust data, particularly lived-experienced evidence. Sarah works with Scottish Government task forces, Scottish and UK Parliaments, universities, private, public and third sectors, communities and development agencies in Scotland and internationally. Following a two-year secondment with Audit Scotland, Sarah is retained as their rural adviser, having established their Islands Forum in 2017.
Sarah is Scientific Director of the Scottish Consortium for Rural Research (SCRR). She is on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH), a member of the International Network on Social Disadvantage in Rural Peripheries, member of the Scottish Advisory Group of the OECD Rural Innovation Programme, Partner in Scotland’s Social Action Inquiry, member of the Farming for 1.5 Independent Inquiry and a founding member of the National Rural Mental Health Forum.
Sarah’s charity Board appointments have included: Rural Housing Scotland and Scotland’s Regeneration Forum. She was also on the Board of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).