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Staff and Students

There are currently around 40 SEGS staff working within three subgroups although the interests of each subgroup overlap significantly. Details on the three sub-groups and their associated staff members and PhD students are below.

Society, institutions and governance

Research conducted under this theme draws on a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches from disciplines such as sociology, geography, anthropology and institutional economics. We aim to understand the ways in which different people negotiate access to and control over resources and the consequences this has for all aspects of sustainability. One strand explores relationships between governance structures and practices that enable and constrain coordination of management activities. This means studying the politics and differential power relations inherent in these processes. Another focuses on individual, social and institutional adaptation in response to gradual processes such as climate change and extreme events such as flooding. Here, we are interested in environmental justice, examining the distribution of benefits and costs associated with this adaptation. Particular attention is given as to how stakeholder engagement with complex environmental decision making can be enhanced, blending theory with a focus on practical policy application.

Staff involved in this work: Kirsty BlackstockKatrina BrownAnja BygMags CurrieLiz DinnieDominic DuckettEmily Hastings, Scott Herrett, Alba Juárez Bourke, Carol Kyle, Annie McKeeJoshua MsikaAnnabel PinkerKatrin PragerKerry Waylen, Keith Marshall.

PhD students: Gillian Dowds, Kirsty Holstead, Andrew Maclaren, Sam Poskitt

Markets, systems and space

The research of this group explores socio-economic systems; the ways that they vary across space and time; are affected by proximity; and interact with the environment. In more concrete terms we aim to understand the location, distribution and spatial organisation of economic activities, and to explain regional disparities in socio-economic performance and wellbeing, both within Scotland and across Europe. Other issues explored by the group are; place-based policies, local economic performance, the role of the primary sector and natural resource use, and impacts of, and responses to, climate change.

The group comprises researchers with a variety of backgrounds and experience, all broadly within the disciplines of Economics and Geography. The methods used include whole economy modelling, general equilibrium models, spatial and panel data econometrics, and GIS, together with mixed methods (e.g. of multi-criteria, cost-benefit/cost-effectiveness analyses) to assess policy and environmental (including climate change) impacts and to value ecosystem services.

Staff involved in this work: Andrew CopusJonathan Hopkins, Laure Kuhfuss,  Maria Nijnik, Carla Barlagne

PhD students: Mariana Melnykovych, Peter Orrell, Lech Pichnor

Values, choices and behaviour

The aim of the work in this subgroup is to improve our understanding of the ways people experience, make sense of and value natural resources and the environment using psychological, social scientific, geographical and economic approaches and to explore people’s decision-making and sustainable behaviour, particularly with respect to climate change, the use of outdoor environments and management of  natural resources. Our work investigates values, choices and behaviour of individuals in their social, biophysical and institutional contexts. We employ both qualitative (e.g., workshops, interviews, focus groups) and quantitative methods (e.g., structural equation modelling, questionnaires, discrete choice modelling), and both well-established (e.g., discourse analysis, thematic analysis) and novel approaches (e.g., psychological approaches to agent-based modelling, eye tracking).

Staff involved in this work: Kathryn ColleyAnna ConniffTony Craig, Anke Fischer, Katherine Irvine, Lee-Ann Sutherland.

PhD students: Rebecca Bell, Stephanie Graf, Ruth Kelly, Charlie Langan, Asanterabi Lowassa, Florence Lwiza, Senna Middelveld, Marie Pagès-Gold, Christopher Schultz, Megan Watson, Irma Arts, Rachel Creaney,


Areas of Interest

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.