The David Hume Institute is an independent, non-partisan, evidence-based policy institute that has been operating at the heart of Scottish policy debate for over 30 years.


Events that are open to all

We host thought-provoking events which bring together expert speakers and an informed, interested and engaged audience. Our speakers come from across the political spectrum, both nationally and internationally.


Research on some of the country’s most pressing challenges

We aim to produce original research with a strong emphasis on economic and education policy issues. Our research is independent and evidence-based and we share our ideas with policy makers from all sides of the political spectrum.

We take the perspective of the Scottish public rather than that of any interest group. To safeguard our independence, we receive no government funding and do not undertake commissioned work. We are rigorous in obtaining the best available evidence from our own data analysis and from published work.



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Jane-Frances Kelly, Director


Jane-Frances Kelly returned home to Scotland after a nine-month secondment to Australia in 2004 evolved into an eleven-year stay. Based in Melbourne, she worked for the Victorian and Queensland Governments, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, and as senior adviser to the global public sector practice of the Boston Consulting Group. In 2010, Jane-Frances helped set up the Grattan Institute, which quickly established itself as Australia’s most prominent policy think tank. From 2010 to 2015 she directed Grattan’s Cities Programme, where her work resulted in substantial policy change at local, state and federal levels of government. Prior to Australia, Jane-Frances worked at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, where she provided evidence-based policy advice to the British Prime Minister and Cabinet. She holds a first class honours degree from Oxford University, a Masters in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


Sarah Wotton, Programme Officer


Sarah Wotton recently moved to Edinburgh from Brazil, where she spent two years teaching, working with refugees and editing publications for the United Nations. She originally trained and worked as a science teacher before spending several years at a major educational charity, where, amongst other duties, she helped train teachers in some of England’s most economically-deprived schools. She holds degrees from Imperial College and Canterbury Christ Church.




Sir John Elvidge, Chair of Trustees

Sir John is chairman of Edinburgh Airport Limited and holds a range of non-executive roles in the charitable and academic sectors. He is an Adjunct Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and chairs the Carnegie UK Trust. He does work as an expert adviser with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, as well as advisory work with several individual governments in Europe and elsewhere. His previous career was in the civil service and he was Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government from 2003 – 10.

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Professor June Andrews

Professor June Andrews is a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing. She is an expert in health and social care of older people, especially people with dementia, and holds a range of non-executive director roles. She is the adviser to the Dementia Services Development Trust, a Scottish charity, and was formerly an NHS director of nursing, a trade union leader, a senior civil servant and a University professor. She is a graduate of Glasgow and Nottingham Universities with degrees in philosophy, English and American Studies, and is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Edinburgh.

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Ken Barker

Ken recently retired as a partner of Baillie Gifford & Co where he headed their fixed income client business. He also served as a director of Scottish Financial Enterprise. Prior to his career in asset management, Ken worked in investment banking in London for JP Morgan and Banque Paribas, specialising in fixed income derivatives. Ken is a graduate in Political Science of the University of Glasgow and a Charterholder of the CFA Institute.


Stephen Boyle

Director of Economics at RBS and a director of the Bank’s main pension fund. This is his second spell at RBS, having been Head of Business Economics from 1996 to 2001. He established FutureSkills Scotland in 2001.

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Steven Drost

Steven grew up in Germany, graduated from the University of Glasgow with MA (hons.) in Philosophy, worked in London and built and successfully exited a market research consultancy in Barcelona. He has been in Edinburgh since 2010, and has been heavily involved in the city’s technology ecosystem since that time. He was the CEO of a failed startup, and has been the CSO at CodeBase since 2016. Steven was instrumental in setting up and managing CodeBase partnerships with PwC and Barclays. He has helped many early stage startups and is a mentor at the University of Glasgow. Steven spends a lot of his time thinking about the societal impacts of technology, and how policy can intervene for the good.

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David Middleton, CBE

David is chair of the Scottish Qualifications Authority and a member of the Commission on Economic Growth which supports the Glasgow City Region City Deal. David's main career was in Government. Early in his career he was private secretary to successive Ministers of State at the Scottish Office and spent some time on secondment to the Cabinet Office. Many of his postings focused on infrastructure - water, housing, urban regeneration and transport. His senior postings included Head of Agriculture (2002-06), Director of the Scotland Office (2007-09) and Chief Executive of Transport Scotland (2009-15). His tenure covered major investments in transport in Scotland including the Borders Railway and the Queensferry Crossing. David was awarded the CBE for services to transport in 2015.

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Christine O'Neill

Christine O’Neill is a partner and currently chairman of Brodies LLP.  She specialises in constitutional and administrative law, particularly in relation to devolution.  She is first standing junior counsel to the Scottish Government and represents the Government in litigation in the courts and inquiries.  She is co-author with Professor Chris Himsworth of ‘Scotland’s Constitution: Law and Practice’

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Cameron Wyllie

Cameron has an English degree from the University of Edinburgh, specialising in US Literature and a PGCE and Dip. Ed from Moray House. He taught English and was a Guidance teacher at Stewart’s Melville College, then held various posts at George Heriot’s School, from which he retired in December 2017 as Principal. He is a founder and trustee of Scottish Schools Debating, having been the Scottish Schools debating coach and is a trustee of several other charities.