Senior Lecturer, Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews
My academic career started with three degrees in quick succession - an MA in Geography at Oxford (1985), an MSc in Natural Resource Management at Edinburgh (1987) and then a NERC-funded PhD in Glaciology (1990), also at Edinburgh. Having worked in Greenland during my PhD, I then continued my research on the interaction between glaciers and climate change in Patagonia during a 3-year NERC Research Fellowship based in Edinburgh. In 1995 I moved to St Andrews as a Lecturer and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2003. In 2004 I was awarded the President's Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. In 2006 I led the St Andrews bid which won the Times Higher Award for 'Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development'.
I have always had strong interests both in environmental management and in glaciology. For much of my career I have focused mainly on the latter, exploring the dynamics and climate sensitivity of calving glaciers in the arctic, in the southern hemisphere (Patagonia, New Zealand) and in Nepal. More recently my interests have moved more into environmental management and sustainable development, both in my research and my teaching. A second edition of my 2002 book Managing Scotland's Environment was published in 2009, and I am actively involved in researching the debates surrounding the development of renewable energy, especially the nature of public attitudes. This has led, inter alia, to a co-edited book investigating aspects of wind power (2012), and I have also co-edited a volume on sustainable upland land use (2013). Here in the university I teach not only on the Geography programme but have helped to launch the inter-disciplinary Sustainable Development degree. From 2004 to 2009 I served as a Senate Assessor on the University Court.
My research interests include: environmental management; land use policy and environmental policy analysis, with an emphasis on the Scottish context; evaluating policies for tackling invasive alien species; the renewable energy transition; socio-economic implications of Scottish land reform; wild land and the 'rewilding' movement.
Whatever happened to energy crops? A decade ago, the UK authorities confidently expected farmers to devote swaths of land to growing the likes of short-rotation willow and poplar and perennial grasses. These were to help...