Dean of the School of Health Sciences & Convener of the Council of Deans of Health Scotland

Tel: 0131 474 0000

Professor Fiona Coutts is the Dean of the School of Health Sciences and she is also convener of the Council of Deans of Health Scotland

Professor Coutts took up appointment as Dean of the School of Health Sciences at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh from 1st September 2010. The School of Health Sciences at Queen Margaret University runs the largest range of allied health based programmes in Scotland alongside its well established Nursing programmes. With over 26 years of experience in Higher Education in Scotland, England and overseas, Professor Coutts has an eclectic view of education leadership and education in practice from pre-registration undergraduate and masters, post registration Masters to Doctoral studies. Development of overseas programmes through Transnational Education Partnerships for example Slovenia, Russia, Greece, Egypt, Saudi Arabia etc. is a key achievement. This sits alongside the development of widening participation and engagement with learner transitions through the South East Scotland Academy Partnership (SESAP) for Health and Social Care and Food Science and Nutrition,  and “Broken Bodies” (case study hands on experience for S1-2 pupils), which run within the School.

Working as a clinical physiotherapist in NHS hospitals, in particular, Princess Margaret Rose Orthopaedic Hospital, Edinburgh and Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, London, Professor Coutts shaped her professional interest in management of long term Orthopaedic and Musculoskeletal conditions and her research interest in Human Movement Science. After entering academia in 1989 at the University of East London (UEL), Professor Coutts became programme leader for the first post graduate MSc in Orthopaedic and Neurological Physiotherapy in the UK. Progressing to Principal lecturer and Acting Head of Physiotherapy, Professor Coutts left UEL in 2004 to return to Edinburgh.  In August 2004 she returned to Queen Margaret University as a lecturer, became Head of Physiotherapy in 2007, Acting Dean in January 2010 and Dean in September 2010.  Gaining her Professorship in 2016 in recognition of her Academic Leadership and Research has been the pinnacle of achievement in her career as a Physiotherapist, Lecturer and Academic Leader.

Responsibilities of the Dean

  • To provide academic and operational leadership of the School, implementing University strategy and developing innovative strategies for the subject areas and activities within the School.
  • Accountable for guiding and directing colleagues towards achieving continuous improvement in the quality of teaching, learning and research in the School, and for effective resource management.
  • To contribute, as part of the Executive Board, to the planning and development of strategic direction of the University, and to undertake specific corporate responsibilities as allocated in addition to the management of the School.
  • To facilitate and oversee productive collaborations with academic and commercial partners of the School in the UK and abroad.

The Vision for the School is:

The School of Health Sciences at QMU will be Scotland’s Centre of Excellence in Nursing and Healthcare. Our ambition is for healthcare education and knowledge generation to be at the heart of a trans-generational community. Our expertise in inter-professional education and professional development, supported by research excellence in health and science, attracts international collaborations and creates opportunities for multi-disciplinary research, knowledge exchange and Continuing Professional Development.

Affiliations/Memberships to Other Organisations:

  • Member of Health and Care Professions Council
  • Member Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
  • Trustee of the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland 2015 – ongoing.


As Dean of the School of Health Sciences Professor Coutts leads academic, clinical and research development across the School and is chair of a range of University and School committees:

  • Student Experience Committee (SEC)
  • Various working groups from SEC
  • Technology Enhanced Learning group
  • School of Health Sciences, Strategic Research and Commercial Exchange Group
  • School of Health Sciences Academic Board
  • School of Health Sciences Leadership and Management Group

Professor Coutts is a Member of the Following University Committees :

  • Senate
  • Research/ Knowledge Exchange Committee
  • International Strategy Board
  • Property Management Group
  • Portfolio Development Group

Professor Coutts represents Nursing Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals (NMAHP) education in Scotland on:

  • NHS Education Scotland (NES) National Strategic Educational Alliance,.
  • Scottish Government review of Commissioning,
  • NHS Education for Scotland AHP Advisory Board,
  • Health and Care Professions Council – Professional Liaison group for the Standards of Education and Training Review (2015 – Ongoing) representing Council of Deans UK

She also represents QMU at a number of groups and committees for Scottish Government, NHS Education Scotland, Council of Deans Scotland etc:

  • University Scotland representative on NHS Education for Scotland Advisory Board (2015 – ongoing)
  • AHP and Nursing Strategic Research Group (2015 – Ongoing)
  • Chair of Allied Health Professional Academic Heads Strategic Group (2014 -Ongoing)
  • Council of Deans of Health Scotland 2010 – ongoing
  • Council of Deans UK 2010- ongoing
  • Clinical Academic Research Careers Steering Group NHS Lothian, NES (2010 – ongoing)
  • NHS Education for Scotland Physiotherapy Advisory sub group (2007 – 2010)
  • Lothian Research Education Framework Panel (2006 – 2007)
  • Lothian Community Research & Development Committee (2006 – 2007)
  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Post registration Education committee (1999 – 2002)
  • Association of Orthopaedic Chartered Physiotherapists (1986 – 1992)

Professor Coutts completed her PhD in 2008 with the title: Movement patterns between the hip and lumbar spine in patients 2 years after Total Hip Replacement. Human Movement Analysis and orthopaedic rehabilitation have been the general topic areas for her research, since working in the specialist Orthopaedic Rehabilitation centres in Edinburgh and London.   Whilst at UEL, Professor Coutts helped to set up the new Human Movement Laboratory, led by Professor Oona Scott and in partnership with Dr Mary Cramp, Dr Jane Culpan, and Professor Wendy Drechsler alongside many clinicians, students and other researchers.

Since 2010 research has been based around PhD students and supporting younger researchers to achieve their research ambitions.

PhD Supervision and Research Areas:

  • Analysis of movement in patients with orthopaedic problems including: post joint replacement surgery,
  • Outcomes and management of patients post treatment for breast cancer.

Active Research Interests:

  • Human Movement Analysis
  • Orthopaedic Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation after Breast Cancer

Research Methods:

  • Measurement Science
  • Quantitative methodologies


Please see my research publications in e-Research - Queen Margaret University's repository 

PhD in Biomechanics, University of Strathclyde (2008),

MSc by Independent study, University of East London (1995),

Diploma in Physiotherapy, Queen Margaret College (1979).