The Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy

Duncan Andrew Thomas

PhD, Senior Researcher

Duncan Andrew Thomas


I explore dynamics of science and how research, its apparent quality and its scholarly and societal impacts relate to policy, funding, conditions for research and researchers in organisations and different scientific fields, and evaluation of research. This involves studies at global level, in Europe and comparative Europe/USA work.

My current primary project is PROSECON, funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. This studies the roles of configurations of funders and funding in generating societal effects from research in two interdisciplinary research fields (renewable energy research and food science). Here we are developing various novel approaches and our studies will take place in and across Denmark, Netherlands and Norway. 

I also collaborate in two long-term international research centres. The first is R-QUEST, led by the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU), funded by the Research Council of Norway. Here I helped to develop a framework to study co-existing notions of research quality, and applied it to explore cutting edge particle physics (involving experiments at CERN-LHC) and ultracold atom/quantum physics (engaging laboratories around the world).

The second centre is KNOWSCIENCE. It addresses policy and higher education and research governance and the future of universities, supported by the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond. Here we develop analytical tools to better understand research fields and research evaluation arrangements. We have also applied these ideas to study USA university symbiotic relationships with educational technology (EdTech) companies for global online teaching (MOOCs, fully online degrees). We are also contrasting Swedish and UK knowledge transfer funding. This is to understand better how funding immerses academics in non-academic settings, and how policy instrument designs affect impactful research(ers). 

I joined CFA in 2019. Previously I was based at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIoIR, formerly PREST) at the Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS), University of Manchester (and remain an Honorary Research Fellow). Earlier I was a physicist electronic engineer in a Nobel Prize-winning private sector R&D facility. There I co-developed efficient lighting systems and other novel technologies for government and industry.    

Beyond research I have taught and supervised PhD, Masters and undergraduate students. I am interested in access to learning and co-developed two massive open online courses (MOOCs) on water and sanitation policy with Professor Dale Whittington (UNC-CH, USA). These have currently reached over 35,000 students around the world. Finally, I am a YouTube creator, where I share my personal perspective on living with more sustainable transport technologies, like electric cars (EVs) and electric bicycles.  

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