Mary Elizabeth Stewart

Professor, Dr

  • EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

From September 2025 on.

Willing to speak to media

1994 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Area of Expertise

Research Interests: My research focuses on understanding autistic people’s experiences across the lifespan and on social inclusion. My research combines theoretical and basic science with the applied. We have projects running which focus on primary school, secondary school, university, employment, and social and health care. We address issues relating to lifecourse inequalities, and work across disciplines. Our work includes conceptualisation and measurement of concepts such as social interaction and connectedness, and what impact social participation has on quality of life, wellbeing, and identity.

Research Methods Expertise: Participatory Methods, Co-design, Meaningful Participation, Creative Methods, Mixed Methods, Questionnaires, Interventions, Experimental Design.

Disciplinary Intersections: My research is multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary. I work with e.g. engineering, robotics, computing, AI, linguistics, humanities, human resource management, urban design, social work, social care, as well as with community partners and individuals.

Research Labs and Institutes: I am the director of the social interaction, mental health, and wellbeing lab, I am a member of WattAge, a member of the Global Research Institute in Health and Care Technologies and I work with the National Robotarium

Key Research collaborations: Ageing: Dr Joe Long, Scottish Autism, Dr Mauro Dragone, Bryony Nisbett, Heriot-Watt University, Professor Rebecca Charlton, Dr Dan Timaru, Goldsmiths University of London, Dr Philip Heslop, Northumbria University, Dr Louise Brown Nicolls, Strathclyde University; Employment: Professor Kate Sang, and Dr James Richards, Heriot-Watt University; Cognition and Social Participation: Dr Cath Grainger, Stirling University, Dr Dan Hale, Dr Laurent Galbrun, Prof Thusha Rajendran Heriot-Watt University; Online Safety Dr Mike Just and Dr Tessa Berg, Heriot-Watt University. Current Postgraduate students David Thorpe, Corinne Greasley-Adams, Carmen Rosas Perez, Marisa McKinlay, Leyli Afsari, Hiva Javadian. Recently graduated postgraduate students: Cameron Maitland, Kym Craig, Lorna Camus, Kirsty Macmillan.

Recently Funded and Current Research Projects

AHRC Ageing, Health, and Social Care: The meaningful engagement of autistic people with learning disabilities in supported living service in Scotland funded project with Scottish Autism PI Mary Stewart & Co-I Kate Sang 1 Aug 2023 → 31 Mar 2024

AHRC Engage the public with the future of health and care in the UK PI Mary Stewart & Co-I Kate Sang 22 Jan 2024 → 30 May 2024

NIHR RfPB Research for Social Care Supporting autistic people as they age: equipping social workers to work with autistic people, PI Mary Stewart, Co-PI Rebecca Charlton CoIs Dr Catriona Stewart OBE; Prof Kate Sang, Heriot-Watt University, Dr Philip Heslop, Northumbria University, Dr Dan Timaru 04/23- 09/25

UKRI Knowledge Transfer Partnership, Blackwood Innovate Robotics, Healthcare Technology. PI Mauro Dragone Co-I Mary Stewart 10/22-05/24

EPSRC Fellowship Protecting the Online Safety, Security and Privacy of Autistic Children and Young People Kirsty Macmillan (Recipient), Mary Stewart, Tessa Berg & Mike Just 31 Mar 2023 → 30 Sept 2023

UKRI Talent and Stabilisation funded project Community Participation and Connectedness Mary Stewart, Joanna Drugan, Jemina Napier, Mauro Dragone, Theodore Lim, Kate Sang, Katerina Strani, Ryan Woolrych, & Gina Netto Feb 2023 →May 2024

Key Research Words/Phrases

Autism, Autistic traits, Social Participation, Social Inclusion, Social and Health Care, Ageing, Cognition, Mental Health, Wellbeing

Roles & Responsibilities

Member of Working Group Research and Enterprise Culture and People

SoSS Research Festival Chair

Public Engagement Lead

Research Group Contact Details

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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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