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Dominic Duckett

Staff picture: Dominic Duckett
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Honorary Associate
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Dominic is a Honorary Associate researcher of our Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences Department (SEGS), working with social theories of risk. He was the Science Challenge 3 Leader charged with the delivery of technical and social innovations that support sustainable and resilient communities. He currently applies social theories of risk to diverse areas of socio-technical risk around agricultural production and environmental hazards, which are core concerns to the James Hutton Institute. He works extensively with issues relating to rural sociology and food systems. These include Food and Nutrition Security (FNS), Spatial Justice, Digitisation in rural areas, surveillance of livestock through electronic tagging (as part of The Scottish Government's Centre of Expertise, EPIC), and agricultural knowledge and information systems (AKIS). Work also includes developing Scotland's strategic resource management by leading a project looking at water reuse for Scotland's Centre of Expertise on Waters (CREW) and developing visual research methods around participatory mapping using touch table technology. He is currently CO-I in a UKRI project making an assessment of the UK's food system supply chains post Covid-19. All of these research activities are related by an overarching interest in developing social theories of risk, for example Becks' Risk Society and Douglas' Cultural Theory of Risk, to understand socio-technical phenomena. Technology as a driver of change is an important component of his critical approach leading him into collaborative work around digitalisation, and theories of technological change. He is an expert in participatory scenario planning methodology and has pioneered virtual and blended scenario workshops during the pandemic.

Dominic joined the institute in 2012 after gaining a PhD in Management Science from Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) where he studied ‘the social amplification of risk’ in the context of zoonotic disease in collaboration with Defra. Previously he gained a distinguished Masters degree in Information Technology and the Management of Organisational Change from the Department of Organisation Work and Technology also at LUMS. His first degree was in Philosophy from Exeter University, lending a strong interest in the theoretical foundations of knowledge.Prior to his academic career Dominic had a successful and varied career in information technology. He worked in different sectors including the civil service, financial services and the technology sector, latterly as a self-employed consultant. As an information systems specialist, he became involved in risk management, risk audit and business continuity, gaining professional certification through the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. This technology background is reflected in an ongoing interest in the role of modern technology in the shaping of risk in society. 

Dominic's first PhD candidate, Dr. Irma Arts sucessfully defended her thesis 'Mediating nature: mobile media technology and our (dis)connection with the outdoors' in October 2021.

Current research interests

Dominic’s interests are in the socio-technical aspects of risk with a particular, current emphasis on food and the environment. Work has featured an interdisciplinary approach teaming psychologists, sociologists, nutritionists, modellers and statisticians to better understand food cultures in which poor dietary outcomes combined with concerns over sustainability constitute an entrenched problem within Scotland and more widely. Engagement methods include concept mapping and scenario planning. Stakeholders are central to his investigations and a range of qualitative methods are being deployed including interviews and focus groups.

Past research

Dominic has worked on public and institutional perceptions of zoonotic risk through the lens of the social amplification of risk framework (SARF) for a PhD. At Masters level he investigated social understandings of disaster and the relationship between disaster recovery plans as artefacts and the actual practices evident in the wake of a disaster. He investigated the Oklahoma City bombing (1995) as a site where disaster recovery was socially constructed. His post doctoral research includes working on agricultural production, strategic resource management, knowledge systems and visual research methods.


Printed from /staff/dominic-duckett on 29/03/23 05:34:25 PM

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.