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Andrew Copus

Staff picture: Andrew Copus
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Honorary Associate
+44 (0)1224 395402

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Andrew Copus is an Honorary Associate of the Institute. He joined the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences Group in March 2013. Between 2005 and 2018 he occupied a part-time secondment as a Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio (Nordic Centre for Spatial Development, Stockholm). From 2005 to 2013 he was based in the Centre for Remote and Rural Studies, University of the Highlands and Islands. Previously Andrew was leader of the Rural Economy Team at the Scottish Agricultural College, Aberdeen (now Scotlands Rural College, SRUC).

Since October 2018 Andrew has been a member of the Scottish Government’s Expert Advisory Group on Population and Migration.

He is also a board member for the DAStU Department of Excellence on Territorial Fragilities, Politecnico di Milano.

Andrew Copus is an economic geographer by training, whose research interests relate to the changing rural economy and (territorial) rural development policy. Much of his work has been based upon analysis of small area, or regional, secondary data and indicators.

Current research interests

Andrew has long-standing interests in territorial disparities, the processes which lie behind them, implications for spatial justice, and appropriate intervention logics. These interests have recently been pursued in the context of demographic trends and the issue of sparsity, the role of rural business networks, the changing nature of peripherality, and the increasing importance of local-global interaction, urban-rural relationships, patterns and trends in poverty and social exclusion, and social innovation. In all these areas my underlying motivation is to enhance the evidence-base for policy, at Scottish, UK and EU levels.

Ongoing and Recent Projects

  • ESCAPE (European Shrinking Rural Areas: Challenges, Actions and Perspectives for Territorial Governance). Funded by the ESPON 2020 programme. Six partners, four subcontractors. April 2019-September 2020. Role: Scientific Coordinator.
  • RELOCAL (Resituating the Local in Cohesion and Territorial Development). Funded by EU Horizon 2020 programme. Thirteen partners. 2017-2020. Role: Leader of Workpackage 8 – Coherence and Scenarios.
  • RESAS Research Deliverable 3.4.1. Demographic change in remote rural areas. Funded by Scottish Government. April 2016-March 2021. Role: Principal Investigator.
  • RESAS Research Deliverable 3.4.2. Place-based approaches and implications for policy and service delivery. Funded by Scottish Government. April 2016-March 2021. Role: Researcher.
  •  Islands Revival. Funded by SEFARI Responsive Opportunities Fund. April 2019-September 2019. Role: Researcher.
  • Ongoing work with the Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population.


  • Wilson, R.; Copus, A. (2019) Islands Revival: Stories of island population turnaround in Scotland and beyond., Scottish Consortium for Rural Research Mini-Conference, Inverness, 13 November 2019. (Poster)
  • Hopkins, J.; Copus, A. (2017) A return to population decline? Demographic change in sparsely populated Scotland, 1991-2046., The James Hutton Institute Annual Research Symposium, Bonar Hall, Dundee, 22 November 2017. (Poster)
  • Copus, A.; Berliner, A.; Perjo, L.; Jungsberg, L. (2016) Rural social innovation addressing challenges associated with demographic change: the Nordic and Scottish experience., 8th International Social Innovation Research Conference, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, 5-7 September 2016. Abstract.

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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.