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Doug Salt

Staff picture: Doug Salt
Information and Computational Sciences
Information and Computational Sciences
Scientific Computing Specialist
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Doug Salt did a degree in Mathematical and Computing Sciences during working as a professional software developer and engineer in mostly financial computing for about 25 years. He then subsequently earned a PhD in Information Theory, particularly with regards to the theory of databases.  Since 2016 he has been working at the Institute on knowledge engineering and  agent-based modelling of human-natural systems, and has worked on various international and interdisciplinary projects using agent-based modelling to study agricultural systems, lifestyles, and transitions to more sustainable ways of living.


Current research interests

I specialise in agent-based modelling of socio-environmental systems, and rigorous approaches to their design and interpretation. Agent-based modelling involves explicit representation of individuals and their interactions, observing the emergent effects these have on the dynamics of the system. I am particularly interested in options for managing environmental change in coupled human-natural systems through incentive schemes, but in the context of other drivers of human behaviour. I have worked on agent-based modelling of lifestyles, pro-environmental behaviours and transitions to more sustainable ways of living, and current work continues this and is also examining value chains and resilience in Scottish rural systems.

A key issue in developing models of this kind is transparency, and I am interested in the role of formal ontologies in describing and annotating simulation models and experiments.

Past research

I have been involved the international and inter- and transdisciplinary research project, listed below

  • The GLAMURS (Green Lifestyles, Alternative Models and Up-scaling Regional Sustainability) project (2014-2016) was funded by the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme.



  • Aitkenhead, M.; Gagkas, Z.; Pakeman, R.; Nijnik, M.; Gimona, A.; Glendell, M.; Donaldson-Selby, G.; McKeen, M.; Donnelly, D.; Jabloun, M.; Lozada-Ellison, L.; Salt, D.; Sideris, K.; Udugbezi, E. (2022) D52 Deliverable D11 Risk and Opportunities Assessment Framework Scope, Concepts and Structure, Technical report submitted to RESAS.
  • Dumitru, A.; Lema Blanco, I.; Albulescu, P.; Antosz, P.; Bouman, L.; Colley, K.; Craig, T.; Jager, W.; Macsinga, I.; Meskovic, E.; Mischkowski, N.; Pellegrini Masini, G.; Polhill, G.; Quinti, G.; Salt, D.; Somervail, P.; Wilson, R. (2021) Policy recommendations for each cluster of casestudies Insights from policy scenario workshops, SMARTEES Deliverable 5.2.
  • Pellegrini-Masini, G.; Albulescu, P.; Jager, W.; Löfström, E.; Macsinga, I.; Alonso-Betanzos, A.; Bouman, L.; Guijarro-Berdiñas, B.; Polhill, G.; Rodríguez-Arias, A.; Salt, D.; Sánchez-Maroño, N. (2021) Report on the updated theoretical framework for social innovation diffusion, SMARTEES Deliverable 6.2.
  • Bouman, L.; Antosz, P.; Jager, W.; Polhill, G.; Salt, D.; Scalco, A.; Alonso-Betanzos, A.; Sánchez-Maroño, N.; Guijarro-Berdiñas, B.; Rodríguez-Arias, A. (2021) Report on scenario development and experiments for selected cases, SMARTEES: Updated Deliverable 7.4 (Final Report).
  • Bouman, L.; Antosz, P.; Jager, W.; Polhill, G.; Salt, D.; Scalco, A.; Alonso-Betanzos, A.; Sánchez-Maroño, N.; Guijarro-Berdiñas, B.; Rodríguez-Arias, A. (2021) Report on scenario development and experiments for selected cases, SMARTEES: Updated Deliverable 7.4 (Final Report).
  • Wilson R.; Colley, K.; Somervail, P.; Polhill, J.G.; Craig, T.; Salt, D.; Scalco, A.; Tiru, L-G.; Albulescu, P.; Macsinga, I.; Pellegrini-Masini, G.; Löfström, E.; Jager, W.; Antosz, P.; Bouman, L.; Dumitru, A. (2021) Integrated overview of choice behaviour and energy transitions in SMARTEES case studies, Report for SMARTEES Deliverable 4.2
  • Antosz, P.; Jager, W.; Polhill, J.G.; Salt, D.; Scalco, A.; Alonso-Betanzos, A.; Sánchez-Maroño, N.; Guijarro-Berdiñas, B.; Rodríguez, A. (2020) SMARTEES simulation implementations for selected cases., SMARTEES Deliverable 7.3 (Report) , December 2020, 124pp.
  • Polhill, J.G.; Craig, T.; Colley, K.; Ge, J.; Sat, D. (2018) The SMARTEES Project and The James Hutton Institute’s potential contribution to the Torry Heat Network project., Appendix 10.4 in support of Torry Heat Network, Report to be presented to Aberdeen City Council.
  • Salt, D.; Polhill, J.G.; Craig, T. (2016) Deliverable 2.2: Report on the ontology generation and data and knowledge integration., Green Lifestyles Alternative Models and Up-scaling Regional Sustainability / GLAMURS EU SSH.2013.2.1-1 Grant Agreement No. 613420.
  • Salt, D.; Polhill, J.G.; Craig, T. (2016) Deliverable 2., Report for Glamurs Ontology Project.

  • Hare, M.; Roxburgh, N.; Salt, D.; Polhill, G. (2023) Barriers and model curation issues associated with rapid adaptation of empirical legacy ABM in response to urgent policy maker queries , Proceedings of the Social Simulation Conference 2023, 4-8 September 2023, Glasgow.
  • Colley, K.; Craig, T.; Scholz, G.; Hague, A.; Wilson, R.; Polhill, G.; Salt, D.; Somervail, P.; Nazli Koseoglu, M.; Wooldridge, T. (2022) The role of individuals and households in the transition to a circular economy a social simulation approach, International Association of People-Environment Studies (IAPS) 2022 conference, online
  • Salt, D.; Polhill, G.; Craig, T.; Wilson, R.; Colley, K.; Pinker, A.; Scalco, A.; Muhammad, M. (2021) Modelling coconstructed scnearios of district heat network adoption in Aberdeen, Social Simulation Conference 2021, Online, 20-24 September 2021.
  • Polhill, J.G.; Salt, D.; Craig. T.; Wilson, R.; Colley, K. (2021) Sensitivity analysis of an empirical agent-based model of district heating network adoption., International Work Conference on Artificial Neural Networks, Online, 16-18 June 2021.
  • Salt, D.; Polhill, J.G. (2019) A NetLogo plug-in to secure data using GNUs pretty good privacy software suite., Social Simulation Conference (SSC 2019), Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany, 23-27 September 2019.
  • Polhill, J.G.; Hare, M.; Anzola, D.; Bauermann, T.; French, T.; Post, H.; Perello Moragues, T.; Salt, D. (2019) Using ABMs for prediction: Two thought experiments and a workshop., Social Simulation Conference 2019 (SSC2019), Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet, Mainz, Germany, 23-27 September 2019.
  • Salt, D.A.; Polhill, J.G. (2018) Building NetLogo models from ontologies as a first step to model integration., Social Simulation Conference (SSC) 2018, Stockholm, Sweden, 20-24 August 2018, 12 pp.
  • Salt, D.; Polhill, J.G.; Barbet, V.; Wang, Y. (2017) Formalizing Callon's theory of translation., Proceedings of SSC 2017-ESSA@work, Dublin, 25-29 September 2017. Afternoon Session Norms-GM, 27 September 2017.
  • Polhill, J.G.; Salt, D. (2016) Metrics of complexity from FEARLUS-SPOMM runs., CSoS Workshop, Hotel de Nieuwe Wereld, Wageningen, The Netherlands, 21-22 April 2016.

  • Polhill, G.; Heppenstall, A.; Batty, M.; Hare, M.; Salt, D.; Milton, R. (2023) Exascale agentbased modelling for policy evaluation in realtime (ExAMPLER), Social Simulation Conference 2023, University of Glasgow, UK, 4-8 September.
  • Salt, D.; Polhill, G.; Ball, J.; Gimona, A. (2022) Developing containerised automated workflows for large scale parallel execution of NetLogo models, iEMSs Conference 2022, 4 to 8 July 2022, Brussels, Belgium (Conference presentation, paper and extract).
  • Polhill, G.; Baggaley, N.; Castellazzi, M.; Gimona, A.; Hare, M.; Ibiyemi, A.; Lilly, A.; Loades, K.; Macdiarmid, J.; Macleod, K.; McCormick, B.; McKeen, M.; Rivington, M.; Roxburgh, N.; Salt, D.; Smith, B.; Udugbezi, E.; Wang, C.; Wilkins, B. (2022) Developing agile approaches to scientific modelling in policyrelevant contexts, iEMSs 2022, 3-8 July 2022, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Colley, K.; Wilson, R.; Craig, T.; Polhill, G.; Salt, D.; Pinker, A.; Somervail, P. (2021) SMARTEES: Modelling household uptake of a city-wide district heat network in Aberdeen, Scotland. Virtual poster for Behavior, Environment and Climate Change Conference 2021, Virtual poster for Behavior, Environment and Climate Change Conference 2021, 8-10 November 2021, Online
  • Polhill, J.G.; Salt, D.; Hare, M.; Macleod, K.; Athanasiadis, I.; Villa, F.; Edmonds, B.; Kocheril, G.; Bell, A. (2020) Integration first: Rethinking inter- and trans-disciplinary collaborations in modelling social-ecological systems., Tenth International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software, Brussels, Belgium, 14-18 September 2020. (Online) (Abstract)
  • Polhill, J.G.; Craig, T.; Salt, D.; Wilson, R. (2020) Simulating the dynamics of trust in one-off decisions such as joining a heat network., BEHAVE 2020: 6th European Conference on Behaviour and Energy Efficiency, Copenhagen, Denmark, 21-23 October 2020. Abstract.
  • Polhill, J.G.; Salt, D.; Ge, J.; Gimona, A. (2018) Might there be different kinds of complexity in social-ecological systems?, Boundary Spanning: Advances in Socio-Environmental Systems Research. An International Symposium, Annapolis, Maryland, USA, 11-13 June 2013. Invited talk and abstract.
  • Polhill, J.G.; Ge, J.; Craig, T.; Salt, D.; Colley, K. (2018) Modelling fuel poverty and market failures., WICI Conference on Modelling Complex Urban Environments, St. Jerome's College, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 21-22 June 2018. Abstract
  • Poggio, L.; Lassauce, A.; Salt, D.; Gimona, A. (2018) Google Earth Engine and Google Cloud platform for detection and mapping of peatlands. A workflow example in Scotland., European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, 8-13 April 2018. Geophysical Research Abstracts, 20, EGU2018-14024.
  • Salt, D.; Polhill, J.G. (2017) The project ontology for GLAMURS developed for knowledge coproduction and transdisciplinary scientific integration., The James Hutton Institute Annual Research Symposium 2017, Bonar Hall, Dundee, 22 November 2017.

Printed from /staff/doug-salt on 29/11/23 06:05:42 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.