Duncan Watson


  • 1.07 Elizabeth Fry Building

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Personal profile


Duncan, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, is primarily a labour economist. Whilst retaining his commitment to this area of expertise, much of his recent research has been considerably less conventional in form. Over the past few years he has been preoccupied with transgressing a few ‘economic borderlines’, and he has experimented with the application of labour theory to increasingly diverse topics, deemed by many to be non-traditional and lying outside the accepted boundaries of the discipline. Examples of current research projects that reflect this more eclectic and cross-disciplinary approach include the linking of economic psychology to the modelling of housing demand, the application of firm organisation theory to skill shortages, assessing the impact of military expenditure on labour demand and the investigation of the importance of labour market inefficiency on financial sector costs.

Duncan is active in pedagogical research into the student experience and has published the following teaching related output for the Economics profession: "Economics is the study of scarcity: Avoiding the Various Means to Disengage Student Interest..." (An Economics Network Case Study into an Applied Economics module, providing a toolkit which demonstrates how a curriculum can be designed which further enhances the student experience); "Assessment Design and Methods" (A chapter for the Economic Network's Handbook for Economics Lecturers which considers alternative assessment methods - seminar assessments, reflective learning exercises, project-based learning, group assessment, mentoring, peer group support, multi-stage dissertation-based assessment, online discussion boards, alternatives to traditional essays- that are used to further facilitate the upskilling of students).

He is a Senior Editor for Cogent Economics & Finance. He is also the Chair of Ecuator.

Key Research Interests

Pedagogical Analysis

  • Pluralism in Economics
  • Widening Participation

Current Research Projects

  • Crime
  • Home Ownership


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


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