Professor Abigail Marks, Heriot-Watt

Work & Employment

Funded September 2015.

Mental Health and Unemployment in Scotland: Looking towards the Future.

This project will examine the job-seeking experiences and benefits assessment process, for individuals in Scotland with mental health problems.  The applicant will interview 25 people all diagnosed with mental health problems and assessed by the UK government’s Work Capabilities Assessment as being ready for work or work-related activity. In addition, Professor Marks will interview ten policy makers, advocacy specialists and job centre/work programme representatives, in order to glean a rounded overview of the issues confronting these vulnerable individuals. There has been no rigorous academic research undertaken on the process of the job search or changes in benefits for individuals with mental health problems despite significant media attention. New devolved powers will allow the Scottish Government to change the way that individuals are assessed as ready for work and support through the job search process. The applicant therefore wishes to understand the limitations of the current system with a view to informing both policy and academic research on how the system can be better managed in order to provide improved support for a very vulnerable group of individuals. This project will involve a comprehensive programme of dissemination activities, involving individuals with mental health conditions, policy makers, academics and service providers.


Abigail Marks is Professor of Work and Employment Studies and is currently Director of Research in the School of Management and Languages at Heriot-Watt University. Her research covers areas such as mental health and (un)employment, social class and work, professional identity and the ICT sector. She has been an academic for over twenty years and has published in many leading journals such as Human Relations, Sociology, Work, Employment and Society and the British Journal of Industrial Relations.

Carnegie Research Incentive Grants

The next deadline for applications is 15th March 2017.

To learn more about our scheme and how to submit an application, visit the Research Incentive Grants page.