Research Fellow


Division: Institute for Global Health and Development

Tel: 0131 474 0000

Leyla Kerlaff is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Global Health and Development (IGHD).

Leyla Kerlaff joined IGHD in January 2019 as a Research Assistant (now a Research Fellow) on the Family Reunion Integration Service Project (FRIS). Leyla has a background in anthropology and social development, and a specialist research interest in refugee integration and in participatory research methodologies.  

Leyla has worked in a variety of contexts in academia, the voluntary and public sector including: running a volunteer befriending service for children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties for Barnardo’s; coordinating a volunteer project with street children in Mexico; and researching the impact of HIV on public health workers in Cape Town.

As an MSc student at IGHD, Leyla also worked with the Institute on the Indicators of Integration Project, to inform understanding of integration from the perspectives of refugees and settled communities in Glasgow and London. After graduating in 2003, she went on to work as a social researcher in the Scottish Government.

Over her ten year career at the Scottish Government, Leyla managed a range of research projects to inform policy development in Equalities, Environment and Public Sector Reform. These included an audit of refugee and asylum seeker skills and aspirations; an evaluation of the Multiple and Complex Needs Programme; and designing a review of the Climate Challenge Fund. Latterly, she has been working as a freelance researcher on commissions including a social history of the Royal Blind, and a review of international policy approaches to migration and integration of refugees. She also practices as a freelance life coach.

Active research interests: Refugees and asylum seekers, Social Connections and Integration, Isolation and Wellbeing, Family relationships, Friendship and Place-based integration.

Research Methods: Participatory Appraisal and Evaluation, Qualitative Research, Social Mapping Tools.

Family Reunion Integration Service

This research project focusses on the reunion of 900 families who have come to the UK as refugees. This national project will work in eight locations across all four countries within the UK to see how this group of people can be supported to access health, education, housing and welfare services.

The research carried out at Queen Margaret University will develop an innovative app to study how the social connections within, between and outside this group affect integration into the host country.

This project is a partnership with the British Red Cross and Barnardo’s. This project is part funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. Making management of migration flows more efficient across the European Union.

MSc Social Development and Health 2003

MA (Hons.) Social Anthropology 1999