James Mitchell completed his undergraduate degree at Aberdeen University and completed his doctoral thesis at Nuffield College, Oxford University. He holds the Chair in Public Policy at Edinburgh having previously held chairs at the Universities of Sheffield and Strathclyde.
is interests are primarily in public policy, territorial politics and government, including: multi-level governance and the territorial dimensions of public policy;
regionalism and nationalism; and political behaviour with special reference to sub-state levels of government.
He has recently completed a book on 'The Scottish Question', informing debates on Scottish independence, setting these into wider historical and public policy contexts while holding an ESRC Fellowship. He co-authored (with Chris Carman in Glasgow University and Rob Johns in Essex University) a study of the 2011 Scottish elections which was published in February 2014. He is also working on a book on constitutional conventions drawing on a recent British Academy grant .
His primary interest at the moment is in public service reform following a period serving as a member of the Christie Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services. He has been engaged in debates on public services, speaking at many conferences and events. In addition, he has recently completed a report, entitled 'People and Places', commissioned by the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives in Scotland.