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Professor Susan McVie

Professor of Quantitative Criminology

BSc Hons, MSc

Office hours:

By Appointment

Tel: +44 (0)131 651 3782


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Susan is Chair of Quantitative Criminology within the School of Law. She has several major research roles within the School and plays a significant role with in the Scottish and UK research community. She is Director of the ESRC-funded Understanding Inequalities (UI) project which aims to create an innovative and ambitious programme of research on the causes, consequences and policy implications of social inequaltieis across different dimensions and spatial scales.  Susan is Co-Director of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, a prospective longitudinal study of youth offending based at the University of Edinburgh since 1998. She has responsibility for strategic management of the research programme and plays a key role in advancing statistical analysis of the data and publishing the results of the research.  She is also research leader for the crime and justice work package of the Administrative Data Research Centre for Scotland.  She is a member of the Management Committee for the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, another collaborative initiative involving Stirling, Glasgow, Strathclyde and Edinburgh Universities in partnership with the other Scottish HEIs.  Susan founded the Applied Quantitative Methods Network(AQMeN) in 2009 and was Director of a major programme of research and training until 2017.  She is currently Co-Director of AQMeN and is involved in developing a programme of training for business and industry. 

Susan has a broad range of substantive interests, and her recent work includes research into:  crime patterns and trends in the context of the crime drop in Scotland; youth anti-social behaviour and offending; criminal careers through the life-course; systems of justice, including transitions from juvenile to adult criminal justice systems; neighbourhood effects on offending; patterns of violence and homicide; youth gangs and knife crime; policing and crime reduction; and stop and search in Scotland. She is also interested in the use of advanced methods in quantitative criminology, and her current work involves developing longitudinal methods for understanding the factors associated with trends in crime over time; modelling trajectories of offending and linking this to criminal histories; using multi-level modelling to establish the impact of neighbourhood-level effects and dynamics over and above individual-level effects on individual delinquency; and using quasi-experimental methods to investigate the impact of early youth justice intervention on later behaviour, life chances and criminal conviction trajectories.

Susan is a member of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Capability Committee and has a strategic role in advising on the development of doctorial training and advanced quantitative methods training at the UK level.   She is also a member of several Scottish Government committees, including the Independent Advisory Group on Stop and Search and the Independent Advisory Group on Policing and Biometric Data, both chaired by John Scott QC, the Building Safer Communities Programme Board (for which she is Performance Champion), and the Board of Official Statistics in Scotland.  She is a strategic advisor to Police Scotland on stop and search, biometric data, children and young people, and demand and performance.  She sits on the Board of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.  Susan is consulted broadly on a range of crime and justice related issues by central and local governments, third sector organisations and private sector bodies.  She regularly reviews articles for various journals, and is a member of the editorial board of the British Journal of Criminology, Youth Justice, and Criminology and Criminal Justice. Prior to working for the University, she was a government researcher in Scotland with responsiblity for the development of Government research on crime surveys, various aspects of the criminal justice system and substance use.

Along with her colleague Professor Lesley McAra, Susan was awarded the Howard League for Penal Reform Research Medal in 2013 and the Chancellor's Award for Impact in 2016.  She was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2014.  She was awarded an OBE in the 2016 Queen's New Year's Honours List for Services to Social Science. 

Ph.D. supervision interests
Quantitative criminology; youth crime and justice; violence and homicide; developmental criminology and criminal careers; police stop and search; crime trends and patterns.