Duncan Watson


  • 1.07 Elizabeth Fry Building

Personal profile


Duncan, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, is primarily a labour economist. While he remains dedicated to this domain, his recent research has taken a more unconventional direction. He has ventured beyond typical economic parameters, applying labour theory to a variety of unique subjects that many consider outside the conventional scope of the field. His innovative, interdisciplinary studies encompass areas such as the integration of economic psychology with housing demand modeling, the use of firm organization theory in addressing skill shortages, examining the effect of military spending on labour demand, and researching the implications of labour market inefficiencies on financial sector expenses.

Duncan is deeply involved in researching the student experience in education. He has contributed to the field of economics education with publications on curriculum design to optimise student engagement and a comprehensive overview of diverse assessment methods, from seminar evaluations and reflective exercises to group assessments and online discussion boards, all aimed at enriching the learning experience for students.

Key Research Interests

My research centres on enhancing Pedagogical Content Knowledge, which commits to advancing both disciplinary and educational research methodologies. The disciplinary aspect of my work draws on applied economics to empirically test hypotheses across a broad spectrum of issues, avoiding an overly narrow focus within the field. Meanwhile, my burgeoning work in pedagogical research examines the impact of teaching-only contracts on student experiences and emphasises the significance of economic pluralism. This approach advocates for diverse teaching methodologies, enriching student options for learning economics and fostering a more inclusive educational environment.

Key Responsibilities

Duncan joined the School as Reader in Economics in 2012. His Academic, Teaching and Scholarship role was the first appointment of its kind at the University, with the School of Economics dedicated to further enhancing the student experience and continuing its prestigious teaching reputation.

He is the School's Director of Learning & Teaching Enhancement. Ensuring a leading management role in learning technology, he is focused on designing innovative programme provision capable of meeting the following criteria: responding to student evaluation; assisting employability aims; and adjusting provision according to the vibrant external opportunities that are created in Economics.

Teaching Interests

Duncan teaches mainly in microeconomics.  His teaching philosophy focuses on how economic theory can be used to understand real world problems, ensuring that students fully recognise the riches of economics skills for employability. It is an approach that takes advantage of the innate multi-disciplinary nature of economics and mobilises this to vitalise student interest and to advertise the versatile power of economic models.

He has been recognised for his teaching at national level. In 2007 he won the UK Higher Education Academy Student Nomination Award. This is judged on the following criteria: inspire and encourage student interest in economics; challenge and motivate students towards academic excellence; enjoy and recognise the importance of working with students; and enhancing their education out of the classroom. In 2010 he also received a commendation in the UK Higher Education Academy Teaching Awards for Economics. The Awards’ panel described his nomination as “displaying all the qualities of commitment, enthusiasm, innovation and evident success that represent excellent teaching practice”. In 2015 he won a Student Union Innovative Teaching Award for creative and new ways of using technology and teaching methods.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or