“... the question now turns to how Scotland’s parties choose to use these powers.”
— Lord Smith of Kelvin on the approval of the Scotland Bill in the Commons


The Scottish Policy Foundation is an independentapolitical grant-making charitable foundation working to promote honest, insightful and objective policy research to the people of Scotland in order to inform public debate.

It was established in recognition of the fact that the policy infrastructure in Scotland has not evolved to reflect the considerable increase in powers that are now accruing to the Scottish Parliament. 

The SPF funds policy research by think tanks, charities and other organisations, whose aims are to provide public benefit through neutral high-quality research.

The SPF also provides think tanks with access to an independent Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model of the Scottish economy, created by the Fraser of Allander Institute, to enable them to test the impact of policy ideas and propositions.

our background

The Smith Commission, the Scotland Act 2016 and subsequent Fiscal Framework granted significantly greater powers for the Scottish Parliament. The centre of gravity of policy formulation for Scotland has moved further towards Holyrood. Despite this, the public debate and resource tends to focus on constitutional issues rather than on the use of the new powers to develop policies tailored for the specific characteristics of Scotland.  

The infrastructure for having such a debate has not been needed before and its development inevitably lags the grant of the new devolved powers.  

“Scotland does not lack think tanks. All have two things in common; they are under funded and under-resourced.”

The Scottish Policy Foundation was formed to address this need as an independent and unaligned funding body to stimulate the policy research community and encourage a vibrant and open debate; fundamental for proper policy formulation in Scotland.

grant-making strategy

The aim of Scottish Policy Foundation is simple. We want to make Scottish politics work better for the Scottish people, and we believe that high-quality research is key.

We want to inform and examine politics and policies, without the bias of any political party muddying the lens. We want to provide support for all independent think tanks, research institutes, charities and other independent organisations so that our government and our institutions are better informed to create policies that improve Scottish lives.

We will fund a variety of research projects addressing topics relevant to the unique political character of Scotland.


The Scottish Policy Foundation receives funding and support to advance its aims from a number of sources including private donations, and grants. If you would like to support us please donate.