Reader and Acting Deputy Director


Tel: 0131 474 0000

Dr Marcia Vera-Espinoza is a Reader and Acting Deputy Director of the Institute for Global Health and Development Division at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Dr Marcia Vera Espinoza is a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Global Health and Development. Marcia Vera Espinoza is an interdisciplinary social scientist whose main areas of specialisation sit at the intersection of development, political and social geography. Her work is at the forefront of migration and refugee research in Latin America, focusing on the study of inclusion of refugee and migrant populations and migration governance in the region. Marcia, alongside colleagues of the Migration and Social Connection Team, is conducting research on the impacts of social connections in refugees’ experiences of integration in Scotland, and beyond. Marcia leads the Psychosocial Wellbeing, Integration and Protection Cluster at the IGHD.

Before joining Queen Margaret University in 2021, Dr Vera Espinoza was a Lecturer in Human Geography at Queen Mary University of London and an associate researcher in the ERC funded project ´Prospects for International Migration Governance´ (MIGPROSP) at the University of Sheffield.

Marcia has an undergraduate degree in social communication from Universidad de Chile (Chile), a MA in International Studies and a PhD in Human Geography from the University Sheffield. Marcia is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Marcia has recently been awarded a place on the Scottish Crucible 2022, an award-winning leadership and development programme.

Marcia is also a Researcher and co-funder member of Comparative Analysis in International Migration and Displacement in the Americas (CAMINAR).

My research interests are in international and regional migration governance, refugee and migrant integration and wellbeing (in Scotland and across regions), refugee resettlement, immigration policies and responses to ‘crisis’ in Latin America, and refugee and migrant organisation and resistance.

I am PI of the EU-AMIF project ‘New Scots Integration: A Pathway to Social and Economic Inclusion’, and Co-I of a recently awarded RSE Research Grant to explore long-term refugee integration in Scotland (with Dr Emilia Piętka-Nykaza). I am also researcher and a co-founding member of the research group Comparative Analysis in International Migration and Displacement in the Americas (CAMINAR), established in April 2020 with colleagues from seven institutions in Latin America. Our current research examines the impacts of COVID-19 on migrants and refugees in the region, as well as the extent to which migrants have been included in the mitigation responses to the pandemic. In 2020-2021, I was also Co-PI of the project 'Migration, Pandemic and Responses from the Third Sector: Lessons from Brazil and India' (with Prof Parvati Nair).

Active research interests:

  • Refugee integration
  • Refugee and migration governance in Latin America
  • Humanitarian responses and refugee ‘crisis’
  • Refugees and migrants’ political lives
  • Resettlement and durable solutions


Research Methods:

  • Qualitative research
  • Mixed method research
  • Participatory workshops

I coordinate the MSc Dissertations and the Dissertation Support Sessions.


I welcome applications from those interested in pursuing a PhD researching topics related to refugee integration, refugee governance, responses to displacement and experience of mobility.

Current PhD researchers

  • Duke Fan Chiang (with Alastair Ager) QMU: 'The impact of cross-sector intervention on conflict-affected children’s mental health in protracted humanitarian settings. The case of children on refugee settlements in Uganda' (2021 - )
  • Nuni Jorgensen (with Rachel Humphris) PHD-QMUL: ‘Fleeing South: The Impact of Patchwork Policies on Transnational Venezuelan Families in Latin America’ (2020 - ). QMUL Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarship.
  • Giovanna Gini (with Kerry Holden) PHD-QMUL: 'Anthropocene Mobilities: identity as a process between materialities and mobilities' (2019 - ). QMUL Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarship.

PI SRC-AMIF New Scots Integration: A Pathway to Social and Economic Inclusion
IGHD is working in partnership with Scottish Refugee Council, Bridges Programmes and Workers’ Educational Association to explore the role of social connections in the integration of recently recognised refugees living in Scotland. This project, funded by the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Immigration Fund (AMIF) will test and refine IGHD’s Social Connections Mapping Tool in a practice context.

Co-I RSE Refugee integration in Scotland, long term perspective
This project aims to discuss understandings of integration in a longer-term perspective, by bringing together scholars, practitioners, and refugee-lead groups in a series of workshops on knowledge exchange and agenda setting.