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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Leading think-tank IPPR appoints first Scotland director

The UK’s leading progressive think-tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), has appointed its first Director in Scotland.

Russell Gunson, currently Director of NUS Scotland, will lead IPPR Scotland – a new, non-partisan think-tank working on public policy in, and for, Scotland.

As well as leading the staff of NUS Scotland, Russell is a Commissioner on the Commission on Widening Access announced by the First Minister earlier this year, and a Director and co-founder of Safe Deposits Scotland – the only non-profit and Scottish-based tenancy deposit protection Scheme in Scotland.

Russell has worked for NUS Scotland for six years, joining as Head of Policy and Public Affairs before taking up post as NUS Scotland Director in 2014. Prior to working for NUS Scotland, Russell worked in the Scottish Parliament, for Claire Baker MSP and has had roles in the Scottish government, including a secondment as Head of Access for the Scottish Funding Council last year. Russell will join IPPR Scotland on Monday 14 September.

With politics in Scotland and the UK changing radically, IPPR Scotland has been set up to inform progressive policy making and public debate in both Holyrood and Westminster.

IPPR Scotland will conduct and publish research, hold events and engage in widespread dialogue on the issues that really matter for Scotland’s social, economic and political future. In all its work, it will be guided by the goals of social justice, democracy and sustainability.

IPPR Scotland will be supported by an independent advisory board, membership of which will be announced in due course.

Its programme of research will take shape in the coming months, but early reports will focus on the Scottish labour market, the country’s future skills needs and the tax and spending choices available to the Scottish government.

Russell Gunson, Director of IPPR Scotland, said:

"This is a very exciting and important time to shape the political debate in Scotland and we will work with all parties to achieve this. Scotland is set to gain substantial new powers and this is a vital opportunity to ensure the renewed interest in Scottish politics is harnessed to debate how the country progresses and develops a more equal, socially just future.

"NUS Scotland has achieved a great deal in the time I've worked there and much of this has been achieved by working across the parliament. It's a great organisation, and I'll look back on my time there with great pride, but I’ll now be looking to apply my skills and experience to develop IPPR Scotland as one of the few cross-party, progressive think-tanks in Scotland."

Nick Pearce, Director of IPPR, said:

"Our goal is that IPPR Scotland becomes an important and influential organisation in Scottish public life. It will contribute evidence, arguments and ideas to the big debates on Scotland’s future. I’m delighted that Russell Gunson will lead IPPR Scotland. He brings a great deal of experience of working across the political spectrum in Scotland, together with experience of working in the voluntary sector, in Holyrood and in the private sector.”


Danny Wright – [email protected] 07887 422789

Sofie Jenkinson – [email protected] 07981 023031

Lester Holloway – [email protected] 0207 470 6154 or 0758 5772 633

Notes to Editors

IPPR is the UK's leading progressive think tank. Our purpose is to conduct and publish research into, and promote public education in, the economic, social and political sciences, and in science and technology; including the effect of moral, social, political and scientific factors on public policy and on the living standards of all sections of the community.

IPPR North is IPPR’s dedicated think tank for the North, with offices in Manchester and Newcastle. It has been established for more than 10 years.

IPPR Scotland will be running a series of events at SNP conference in Aberdeen in October. For further details, please contact Kellan Palmer-Stephens: [email protected]