Annie McKee

Social Researcher in Land Management
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
T: +44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

Annie McKee is a senior social researcher in the Social Economic and Geographical Sciences Department (SEGS) and a member of the 'Environmental Governance and Land Management' Group. Annie's background is in geography, environmental management, and sustainable development, with previous dissertation research exploring public perceptions of red deer management and sustainable rural communities. Annie has a BSc (Hons.) in Geography from the University of St Andrews and completed an MSc in Sustainable Rural Development at the University of Aberdeen in 2007.

Annie completed her PhD in 2013 with the Centre for Mountain Studies, Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands, working as part of the ‘Sustainable Estates for the 21st Century’ project. Under the supervision of Professor Martin Price (Director, Centre for Mountain Studies) and Dr Charles Warren (University of St Andrews), her PhD aimed to examine the role of private landownership in facilitating sustainable rural communities in upland Scotland, focusing on identifying best practice in community engagement and the practical steps required to ensure sustainability. For further information please see Sustainable Estates for the 21st Century website for further information.

Annie is Convenor of Rural Housing Scotland, Scottish Charity Number: SC031239 and Chair of Tarland Community Housing. Annie was a Minister-appointed member of the Scottish Government’s Women in Agriculture Taskforce (June 2017 – November 2019).

Annie’s research focusses on transdisciplinarity, rural governance and institutions, land management and land use policy, agricultural transitions, gender equality in land governance, the impact of land reform, rural community development, and achieving sustainable development in rural areas. Annie is particularly interested in the development and implications of land reform legislation and policy in Scotland, as well as social justice issues relating to land internationally.

Annie has considerable experience of qualitative data collection (including in-depth interviewing, participant observation, and ethnographic techniques) and analysis (including content, thematic, and discourse analysis), stakeholder engagement, and facilitation techniques. She has a strong reputation within the Institute and externally for high quality workshop organisation and facilitation. Annie pursues diverse pathways to impact for research projects and integrate her role as a researcher with active participation in rural community development projects. She aligns closely with the Hutton Science Challenge: to ‘deliver technical and social innovations that support sustainable and resilient communities’.

On-going and recent projects

  • Topic lead for ‘E3 – Land Reform’ and Principal Investigator for ‘Scottish Land Reform Futures’ project within the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme 2022-2027.
  • Contributing to sub-project on rural housing within the Rural Futures theme, Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme 2022 – 2027.
  • Principal Investigator for ‘Social and Economic Impacts of ‘Green’ Land Investment in Rural Scotland’ (Scottish Government-commissioned research; 2022 – 2023).
  • OECD Cooperative Research Fellowship within Sustainable Agricultural and Food Systems Programme, hosted by the University of Otago (April – May 2023) on the topic of carbon positive land use in New Zealand.
  • Connected Treescapes: A portfolio approach for delivering multiple public benefits from UK treescapes in the rural-urban continuum (Co-Investigator; project led by University of York); funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (2021-2023).

PhD supervision

  • Rosalind Corbett: The role of community landownership in increasing access to land for new entrants to agriculture in Scotland (MDT-funded studentship, 2020-2023).
  • Christopher Murray: The housing ‘trilemma’: geographies of precarity in rural Scotland, (ESRC-funded studentship, 2021-2024).
  • Peter Ballantine: The implications of the Just Transition for the sustainable development of rural communities in Scotland (MDT-funded studentship, 2022 – 2026)

Past research

  • Hutton project lead for the H2020 NEFERTITI project: ‘Networking European Farms to Enhance Cross Fertilisation and Innovation Uptake Through Demonstration’ (2018-2022), including ‘Hub Coach’ role, initiating and facilitating on-farm and virtual demonstration events on the topic of ‘farm attractiveness’ and supporting new entrants to agriculture.
  • Principal investigator: ‘Shifting power in rural Scotland? A longitudinal analysis of post-land reform community-landowner engagement’. British Academy Small Research Grant (2019-2022).
  • Land acquisition for carbon: opportunities and risks – Special Advisory Group, funded by SEFARI Gateway (part of research team; project led by SRUC) (2021-2022).
  • Project team contributing to the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme (2016 – 2022), under the themes of ‘rural economy adaptation to key external drivers’ (Work Package 2.4.2) and ‘local assets, local decisions and community resilience’ (Work Package 3.4.4); both projects funded under the Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) Division of the Scottish Government.
  • Project team contributing to the Scottish Government’s commissioned research on ‘Women in Farming and the Agricultural Sector‘ (published 2017), including facilitating and reporting on impact focus groups with women and men in Scottish agriculture in 2021.
  • Various projects commissioned by the Scottish Land Commission, including a ‘review of international experience of community, communal, and municipal ownership of land’ (2018; collaboration with SRUC), a ‘review of the effectiveness of current community ownership mechanisms and of options for supporting the expansion of community ownership in Scotland’ (2018, collaboration with SRUC), and ‘increasing the availability of farmland for new entrants to agriculture in Scotland’ (2018, Principal Investigator).
  • Project team contributing to the Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW) project on community resilience to flood events (2017-2020).
  • Leading a Macaulay Development Trust project to facilitate an international discussion on Scottish land reform (2019) and undertaking a discourse analysis on the ‘The right to buy land to further sustainable development’ (2021).
  • Fellowship received from the OECD Co-operative Research Programme: Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems in 2016, building links with Ruralis, the Centre for Rural Research, Trondheim, Norway.
  • FarmPath, REFRESH, PROAKIS, and ‘HUNTing for Sustainability’ projects, funded under the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), as well as contributing to the H2020 NEWBIE project.
  • Scottish Government-funded projects exploring the barriers to community land-based activities and how to overcome these barriers, as well as contributing to an exploration of the ‘impact of diversity of ownership scale on social, economic and environmental outcomes’.
  • Theme 8, Work Package 8.2 “Governance and decision-making for community empowerment in rural communities” and Theme 3, Work Package 3.6 “Understanding land managers’ attitudes and behaviour towards the management of environmental assets and responding to climate change “, both projects funded under the Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) Division set up by the Scottish Government (Strategic Research Programme 2011-2016).
  • Undertaking social research within the Scottish Government’s Centre of Expertise for Livestock Disease Outbreaks (EPIC), in particular focussing on the impact of farmer behaviour on disease control and biosecurity.
  • Developing Learning Landscapes for Scotland’s Protected Areas – A European Perspective (funded by the Macaulay Development Trust).
  • How can we employ citizen science to determine the extent of soil erosion in Scotland? Report commissioned by SNIFFER (2014).
  • A methodology for assessing the public interest economic impacts of deer management. Report commissioned by SNH (2013).
  • ‘Sustainable Estates for the 21st Century’: The role of private landownership in facilitating sustainable rural communities in upland Scotland, funded by The Henry Angest Foundation (PhD awarded November 2013).
  • Sustainable Estates for the 21st Century: Knowledge Exchange Project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, Scottish Government and Scottish Land & Estates (2011).


Books / chapters

  • McKee, A.; Vinge, H.; Bjørkhaug, H.; Almås, R. (2020) Agricultural models in Scotland and Norway – a comparison, In: Combe, M., Glass, J. & Tindley, A. (eds.). Land Reform in Scotland: History, Law and Policy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, Chapter 17, pp 388-409
  • McKee, A.; Vinge, H.; Bjørkhaug, H.; Almås, R. (2019) Landownership and land management: Can Norway be a model for policy reform in Scotland?, In: Vittuari, M., Devlin, J., Pagani, M. & Johnson, T.G. (eds.). Routledge Handbook of Comparative Rural Policy. Routledge, 519-524
  • Pinto-Correia, T.; McKee, A.; Guimaraes, H. (2015) Transdisciplinarity in deriving sustainability pathways for agriculture., In: Sutherland, L-A., Darnhofer, I., Wilson G. A. & Zagata, L. (eds.). Transition Pathways towards Sustainability in Agriculture: Case Studies from Europe. CABI, Wallingford, Chapter 12, pp171-188.
  • McKee, A. (2013) The laird and the community., In: Glass, J., Price, M.F., Warren, C. & Scott, A. (eds.). Lairds, Land and Sustainability. Edinburgh University Press, Chapter 5.
  • McKee, A.; Warren, C.; Glass, J.; Wagstaff, P. (2013) Scottish private estate., In: Glass, J., Price, M.F., Warren, C. & Scott, A. (eds.). Lairds, Land and Sustainability: Scottish Perspectives on Upland Management. Edinburgh University Press, Chapter 3.
  • Glass, J.; McMorran, R.; Price, M.; McKee, A. (2012) Working together for sustainable estate communities: exploring the potential of collaborative initiatives between private estates, communities and other partners., Centre for Mountain Studies, Perth College, University of Highlands and Islands.

Technical / contract reports

Conference papers

  • Creaney, R.; McKee, A. (2022) Digitalising the future of housing: Exploring options and opportunities for digitalised homes in rural Scotland, ESRS Scottish Satellite Event, 20- 23rd June 2022, Birnam Arts Centre, Dunkeld.
  • McKee, A.; Sutherland, L.-A. (2021) Why land ownership matters Land ownership, land reform and new entrant access to land in Scotland , Conference presentation at Royal Geographical Society Conference – Session: Value/s, space and place in geography.
  • Currie, M.; Pinker, A.; McKee, A. (2021) Do community buyouts of private land(scapes) lead to spatial justice The case of Lewis, Scotland, Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference 2021.
  • McKee, A.; Philip, L.; Currie, M.; Dowds, G. (2018) Assessing the impacts of flooding on people and communities:
    Learning from the experiences of the 2015/16 flooding in North-East Scotland.
    , SNIFFER Flood Risk Management Conference, Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, 5-6 February 2018.
  • Duckett, D.; McKee, A.; Sutherland, L.A.; Kyle, C. (2015) Scenario planning as a communicative action., Policy and Politics Annual Conference, University of Bristol, 15-16 September 2015.
  • Turnbull, D.; Breen, S.A.; Naqvi, S.; Yang, L.; Murphy, F.S.; Armstrong, M.R.; Engelhardt, S.; Welsh, L.; Hein, I.; Zhan, J.; Birch, P.R.J.; Gilroy, E.M. (2014) Pumped up on (brassino) steroids: multiple Phytophthora infestans effectors manipulate the Brassinosteroid pathway in potato., FESPB/EPSO 2014 Congress, The Convention Centre, Dublin, 22-26 June 2014.
  • McKee, A.J. (2014) Legitimising the Laird? Communicative action and the role of private landowner and community engagement in rural sustainability., Draft paper for Trans-Atlantic Rural Research Network Conference, Newcastle, 2-4 April 2014.
  • McKee, A.; Holstead, K.L.; Sutherland, L.A.; Pinto-Correia, T.; Guimaraes, H. (2014) ‘Shift happens’: co-constructing transition pathways towards the regional sustainability of agriculture in Europe., 11th European IFSA (International Farming Systems Association) Symposium, Berlin, Germany, 1-4 April 2014
  • Sutherland, L.A.; Flanigan, S.; McKee, A.; Holstead, K.L. (2013) FarmPath Consortium Meeting., Evora, Portugal, 13-16 March 2013.
  • Glass, J.H.; Price, M.; McMorran, R.; McKee, A. (2012) Working together for sustainable estate communities: exploring the potential of collaborative initiatives between privately-owned estates, communities and other partners., Centre for Mountain Studies, Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands.
  • McKee, A. (2012) Building sustainable rural communities: land ownership and affordable housing., Rural Housing Service 10th Annual Conference, Birnam, 24 February 2012.
  • McKee, A.J.; Sandstrom, C.; Dinnie, E.; Fischer, A.; Tibebe, Y.; Lowassa, A.; Msuha, M.; Kerezi, V., Majic Skrbinsek, A.; Marinko, U. (2012) Changing the rules of ‘the game’: reflections on the problems and prospects of the scenario workshop method in wildlife and natural resource governance., International Conference on Hunting for Sustainability: Ecology, Economics and Society, Ciudad Real, Spain, 27-29 March 2012.
  • McKee, A.; McMorran, R. (2012) Working together for sustainable rural communities: comparing and contrasting different models of land-based stakeholder cooperation and rural governance – lessons from case studies of private landownership in the Scottish Highlands., Royal Geographical Society-IBG Annual International Conference, Edinburgh, 4 July 2012.
  • Mckee, A. (2012) The ‘Incomer’ Impact: reflections on the influence of new rural dwellers in Scottish upland estate communities., XIII World Congress of Rural Sociology, Lisbon, 29 July – 4 August 2012.

Conference posters / abstracts

  • Ver, A.; McKee, A.; Moriarty, J.; Honegger, S.; O’Dwyer, T. (2021) NEFERTITI and Farm Attractiveness How social media can spread positive messages about farming careers, Poster presented at the European Forum for Agricultural and Rural Advisory Services (EUFRAS) conference, 10-11th June 2021.
  • McKee, A.; McMorran, R.; Currie, M.; Pinker, A.; Meador, E.; Markantoni, M. (2018) What does rural community resilience mean to you? Results from a Delphi survey of experts in Scotland., 5th Nordic Rural Research Conference, Vingsted, Denmark, 14-16 May 2018. Conference Book, Challenged Ruralities: Nordic Welfare States under Pressure, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, p41. Abstract.
  • Prager, K.; McKee, A. (2014) Co-construction of ‘problem’ and ‘solution’ with policy makers., Royal Geographic Society Annual International Conference 2014, Royal Holloway, University of London, London, 28 August 2014.
  • Martin-Ortega, J.; Balana, B.; Cooksley, S.; Dunn, S.M.; Helliwell, R.C.; Jackson-Blake, L.; McKee, A.; Perni, A.; Slee, B. (2014) A transdisciplinary approach to the economic analysis of the water framework directive., Well-being and Equity within Planetary Boundaries. Biannual Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics, University of Iceland, 13-15 August 2014.
  • Pinto-Correia,T.; Guimarães, H.; McKee, A. (2013) Regional sustainability transitions: FarmPath visioning process., Final Conference of the FarmPath and Solinsa 7th Framework Projects, Brussels, 3 December 2013.
  • McKee, A.; Fischer, A.; Dinnie, L. (2013) Community activity nodes Investigating the role of community activity nodes in enhancing community vibrancy and resilience, RESAS Theme 8 Knowledge Exchange Meeting, Birnam, Dunkeld, 20 November 2013. (Poster)
  • McKee, A.J. (2011) Legitimising the Laird: the role of private landownership in facilitating sustainable rural communities in upland Scotland., Royal Geographical Society-IBG Annual International Conference, London, 31 August 2011.
  • McKee, A.J. (2011) Changing the rules of “the game”: outcomes and reflections on stakeholder-developed scenarios for the future of deer management in Scotland., Deer and People: Past, Present and Future, University of Lincoln, 8-10 September 2011.