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Centre for Online and Distance Education

Stuart MacDonald

Director of ICR Research

Stuart is Director of ICR Research, his consultancy business which focuses on international education and culture. He worked for many years as a senior policy adviser to the UK and Scottish Governments, and in academia he founded and led the Centre for Cultural Relations at the University of Edinburgh. He is currently working on a wide range of projects including on knowledge diplomacy, digital influence, and diaspora engagement.

Stuart MacDonald is the Founding Director of ICR Research, a consultancy that works across all aspects of the theory and practice of international relations: foreign policy and diplomacy; multi-stakeholder collaboration; global civil society; transnational networks, and the informal social, cultural and individual relationships that share knowledge and drive change.

He is a founding director of the Digital Influence and Intelligence Lab at the Edinburgh Futures Institute, where he is an Associate. He is currently working with CODE colleagues on Knowledge Diplomacy, and is a Research Associate at SOAS, attached to the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD).

Previously, Stuart worked as an adviser to the German Government, and to the European Commission, serving on several expert advisory committees.

Prior to that he founded and led the work of the Centre for Cultural Relations (CCR) at the University of Edinburgh for 4 years. He pioneered interdisciplinary approaches to understanding transnational engagement, primarily by bringing International Relations and Informatics scholars together to analyse flows of influence and attraction through the theory and practice of soft power and international cultural relations.

Stuart originally trained as a visual artist and architect and still has a strong interest. He co-founded and serves on the board of Arts Cabinet, a small organisation dedicated to artistic research.