The Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy

Duncan Andrew Thomas

PhD, Senior Researcher

Duncan Andrew Thomas


My research interests address science dynamics and policy, research/epistemic governance, innovation and commercialisation and the changing missions of universities in comparative international perspective. This includes development, use and effects of research evaluation arrangements, scholarly and societal impacts of research, and symbiotic relations between universities and non-academic partners like EdTech companies. 

Currently I’m primarily involved with PROSECON, a project studying roles of funding and funders in societal effects from science, with case studies of energy and food science in Denmark, Netherlands and Norway. I also collaborate in two long-term international research centres, one on notions of research quality across differing research fields (R-QUEST, Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education, NIFU; funded by the Research Council of Norway) and KNOWSCIENCE, funded by the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, on policy and higher education and research governance and the future of universities. Here we explore research evaluation arrangements, university relationships with external partners, and compare funding schemes to immerse academics in non-academic settings.

Previously I was based at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIoIR, formerly PREST) at the Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS). I remain an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester for ongoing collaborations. Earlier I worked in physics and electronic engineering in a blue skies corporate R&D lab. I co-developed prototype lighting systems in this Nobel Prize-winning facility that underwent a de-merger, management buyout, and market flotation. These organisational, strategy and management dynamics sparked my interest in conditions for breakthrough innovation and frontier research and my move into social studies of science.   

I am also interested in novel ways to engage people in research and digitalisation of teaching. I have co-developed two massive open online courses (MOOCs) on global water and sanitation planning and policy with my USA collaborator, Dale Whittington. I also became a YouTube creator to explore my personal interests in innovation in sustainable transport technology, specifically electric cars (EVs) and bicycles.  

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