Research Director, University of Stirling

Dr Tessa Parkes is Research Director of the newly formed Salvation Army Centre for Addictions Services and Research in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling. Tessa has worked in a variety of research and service provision roles across various sectors, disciplines and institutions in three different countries. Her current research interests include substance use and intersecting health and mental health problems, homelessness, wider social and health inequalities, the role of social activism, advocacy and social movements in creating change in health and social care, and user/survivor/peer leadership in mental health and substance use services. Most of her research is collaborative, interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral. She is a member of the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) group on the Early Diagnosis and Support of Children with FAS and FASD and of the Partnership for Action on Drugs in Scotland Executive Group. From 2013 to 2016, Tessa was seconded to the University of Edinburgh to undertake the role of Deputy Director for the ESRC’s Scottish Doctoral Training Centre, the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science. With a continuing interest in postgraduate careers, Tessa is involved with the UK Council of Graduate Education’s Working Group on the Diversity and Sustainability of Organisational Structures for Doctoral Provision.

As institutional Dean for Equality and Diversity, Tessa works across the University to ensure active engagement with the equality and diversity agenda for learning, teaching and research. She chairs the Strategic Committee for Preventing and Tackling Sexual Violence and Misconduct, the institutional Equality Action Forum, and the Athena SWAN Institutional Committee. She was recently appointed to the Higher Education Funding Council for England Research Excellence Framework's (REF) 2021 Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel as representative for the Scottish Funding Council and Universities Scotland. An experienced teacher and academic administrator, Tessa understands the importance of embedding equalities work within curricula, policies and practices to ensure individuals are actively supported to realise their potential. She is a role model for, and an avid supporter of, the Leadership Foundation’s Aurora Programme and served as a panellist for the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU)’s Athena SWAN awards.


  • –present
    Director of Research, University of Stirling