Vanesa Fuertes

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Personal profile


I am Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Sociology at the University of the West of Scotland in the United Kingdom. I conduct research on public and social policy, focussing on policy governance, labour market and welfare policies, and socio-economic disadvantages. I worked as a researcher at the Employment Research Institute since 2005 and have conducted a variety of research studies for diverse funders such as the Scottish Government, SDS, ILO, and the European Commission. My research projects have involved liaising with a number of stakeholders and producing evidence-based policy recommendations using several methodologies. I am currently involved in a ESRC research project investigating underemployment and lived experiences of underemployed workers. I obtained my Ph.D. from Edinburgh Napier University in 2017. My recent publications have appeared in the journal Public Administration, the journal of Social Policy and Administration, and the International Journal of Social Welfare. My teaching is student-centred and research-informed, and underpinned by critical and inquiry-based pedagogies.


Area of academic expertise - outline

My research has focused on the impact of governance and institutional logics on the development, implementation, and delivery of policy. This research has been particularly centred on the challenges to vertical and horizontal coordination of public, private, and third sector actors in an increasingly decentralised and contractualised policy landscape. In this subject area, I have examined a number of policy fields, such as welfare and social security, education and skills, and labour market policies, and a number of policy actors, including decision makers, overseeing agencies, service providers, and service-users.

My research has also included labour market disadvantages and employability, protected characteristics and human resource management in large and small and medium-sized enterprises, including issues of age, gender, education, and socio-economic class.

More recently my research has looked into the impact of governance and institutions, professional values and commercial pressures in labour processes and occupations such as health care professionals and employability advisors.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


  • JF Political institutions (General)
  • Local government
  • Policy coordination
  • HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
  • Welfare reforms
  • HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
  • Public policy
  • Social policy


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  • Highly Commended Paper

    Fuertes, Vanesa (Recipient), Egdell, Valerie (Recipient) & McQuaid, Ronald (Recipient), 2014

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)