Business School research is given five distinct themes. These are carried through into our centres, projects and programmes of study.  If you are looking for a supervisor our department information gives you information about supervisors, lecturers and their themes and interests.

Work, Health and Wellbeing

Health Work Home and Wellbeing

Lead: Dr John Skatun

The School has a long standing reputation of research excellence, and high quality academic outputs, in research on Work, Health and Wellbeing examining some of the most important public policy challenges of the 21st century. Originating in labour economics and management studies research, the School has broadened its focus on empirical studies to enable deeper theoretical analysis. In developing this thematic area, the School has worked in close collaboration and fostered strategic links with the Health Services Research Unit and the Health Economics Research Unit with which it shares joint posts. The theme is further strengthened by the Centre for European Labour Market Research (CELMR). Research within this theme also benefits from being embedded within international networks working at the frontier of the interface between labour markets, well-being and globalisation. Members of the theme have coordinated multiple Pan-European past and present projects on labour, health and well-being.

As a result of a proven record of high quality policy impact originating from academic excellence, members of the theme interact with a large number of academic, private sector and governmental stakeholders. As such the theme collaborates locally and globally with governmental bodies, policy makers, private companies, non-governmental organisations as well as with UK and overseas universities. Thus the theme has sought to develop a better academic and policy related understanding of the way societies work. In particular it has shed light on how health and labour markets operate, further advancing policy recommendations facilitating more efficient and equitable outcomes that support improvements in economic welfare. Stakeholders within the UK include the NHS, the UK treasury and the Trade Union Congress. Engagement activities across the EU have involved numerous stakeholders such as the different nation states, EUROSTAT, the Directorate-General for Employment and the European Commission. With an increased emphasis on internationalisation the theme’s collaborations with stakeholders extend well beyond Europe, in countries such as the United States where it has influenced policy makers in the US Congress and Senate. 

Dr Harminder Battu Economics of education, employment contracts, regional inequality
Professor Keith Bender Labour economics
Dr Heather Dickey Labour economics
Professor W David McCausland Macroeconomics, labour economics
Professor Catia Montagna International trade theory; firms in the global economy; labour markets, trade, FDI; globalisation and labour markets; welfare state policies
Professor Euan Phimister Economics of spatial labour markets
Dr John Skåtun Labour economics, labour market contracting, trades unions 
Professor Ioannis Theodossiou Wage determination, unemployment, macroeconomics
Dr Alex Zangelidis Labour economics
Dr Yu Aoki Health economics
Dr Ramses Hani Abul Naga Public economics, health economics, microeconometrics and the measurement of inequality and wellbeing

Energy and Environment

 Energy and Environment

Lead: Professor Euan Phimister

Research within this thematic area seeks to advance academic understanding of, and contribute to policy debates on, the major contemporary societal challenges in energy and the environment in the UK and worldwide. Key areas of research expertise and investigation include: oil and gas, energy markets, renewables and carbon capture and storage, transport, energy efficiency and demand. This inter-disciplinary theme draws on School-based research capacities in the disciplines of accountancy, economics, finance, management and real estate; draws on broader collaborative networks across the University; and works in close partnership with stakeholders from industry, government and beyond. For example, researchers in the Business School working in petroleum economics have a range of long term collaborations with government and industry.  In particular, work undertaken over an extensive period by Professor Alex Kemp OBE with Linda Stephen and Sola Kasim has been influential in the development of UK fiscal policy in the North Sea Kingdom, for example recent work informed policy on field allowances in the West of Shetland region.   Professor Kemp has been a consultant on petroleum contracts and legislation to a large number of Governments, the World Bank, the United Nations, and was a Member of the Council of Economic Advisers to the First Minister of the Scottish Government until 2011.   He is currently a member of the Scottish Energy Advisory Board to the Scottish Government. 

Professor Catia Montagna International trade theory; firms in the global economy; labour markets, trade, FDI; globalisation and labour markets; welfare state policies
Professor Euan Phimister Economics of spatial labour markets
Dr Marc Gronwald Energy economics, environmental economics, resource economics
Dr Xin Jin Energy economics and applied econometrics
Dr Sola Kasim Energy and climate change adaptation and mitigation economics
Professor Alex Kemp North Sea economics, international petroleum economics
Dr Takahiko Kiso Energy and environmental economics
Dr Agathe Rouaix Agricultural and environmental economics
Dr Nikolaos Vlassis Energy and environmental economics
Dr Mauro Papi Economic theory, experiments, and bounded rationality
Professor Joe Swierzbinski Experimental economics
Dr Olga Klinkowska Asset pricing – theoretical models and empirical analysis, time variation in risk premia and its relation to macroeconomy, macroeconomic sources of risk
Dr Nan Liu Property investment and property market analysis
Professor Deb Roberts Regional science, rural development, agricultural policy,renewable energy, housing market analysis
Dr Rainer Schulz  
Dr Martin Wersing Housing market analysis and statistical modelling
Dr Jing Cai  

Finance, Organisation and Governance

 Finance and Governance Theme

Co-leads: Professor Joe Swierzbinski and Mr Mark Whittington

In the area of Finance, the School has expertise in theoretical and empirical research on risk and asset pricing. Our theoretical research models different types of risk, how they change over time, how risks in different assets are correlated and how this changes over time, how we can reduce bias in risk measurement, and how we can model the relationship between return and risk. Our empirical research looks at the performance of this theory in practice, for example, in asset pricing, portfolio selection, shock transmission and the estimation of risk premia and their determinants.

In Organisation, the School seeks to advance the knowledge of social and relational understandings of change at home and at work, including behavioural adaptation and the assimilation of new technologies into working practices. The School also specialises in the management of change on managers’ perceptions of job, work, career, organisation, and the utilisation of contingent labour, performance management and resourcing strategies. In addition, research within this theme has strength in interpersonal business communication and negotiation, ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, and the social organisation of everyday ‘economic’ behaviour.

In the field of Governance, the School’s research investigates earnings management, the value relevance of pension accounting, the publication of KPI’s, segmental analysis, audit committees, environmental performance, environmental reporting, social performance and risk factors such as the increasing use of cloud computing, considering how risks should be monitored and managed. Research is also being carried out on the boundaries of the firm and how they are affected by changes in competitive forces resulting from technological change and globalisation. In addition, the School’s research on corporate governance examines the effects of ownership types on firm’s technological and commercial performance.

The School has particular strength in linking the themes of energy and finance. Examples of this are project valuation and the analysis of taxation related to North Sea developments, and the application of Hotelling-type models to commodity valuation and the econometrics of commodity pricing.

This theme informs teaching in a number of undergraduate and masters courses, often with supervised research being undertaken by students in dissertations at both levels. As well as the MSc in Finance and Investment Management (currently the School’s largest Masters programme) and the MSc in Accounting and Finance, the theme brings research-led teaching into the MSc in Petroleum, Energy Economics and Finance, the Financial Economics pathway in the MSc in Applied Economics, and the MSc in Financial Mathematics, a new collaboration for 2016/17 between the Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics and the Business School.

Dr Ercan Balaban  
Dr Olga Klinkowska Asset pricing – theoretical models and empirical analysis, time variation in risk premia and its relation to macroeconomy, macroeconomic sources of risk
Dr Laura McCann Corporate finance, debt source, relationship banking
Dr Anh Ngoc Nguyen Finance
Dr William Finlay  
Professor Martin Hoesli Centre: CRER
Professor Hans K Hvide  

Theory and Method

Theoretical and Methodical Innovation

Co-leads: Professor Natasha Mauthner, Drs Chandana Alawattage and Karolina Kazimierczac

This cross-cutting theme takes the theories and methods that underpin business, economic, and management research as objects of critical study. It seeks to develop a reflexive understanding of the philosophical and political assumptions embedded in the study of economy, polity and society and their interactions. The theme explores implications for methodological, theoretical, and empirical research as well as impacts for policy and practice. These questions are being investigated in relation to a broad range of issues including, but not limited to: social, economic, and environmental sustainability; development and poverty; health care services; gender issues and work-life balance; NGO and public sector accountability; science policy; digital economy; globalization, labour markets and welfare policies.

Research across the theme has been supported by funding from UK Research Councils (EPSRC, ESRC), learned societies (Royal Society of Edinburgh), and charitable organisations (Carnegie Trust) amongst others. It generates a wide spectrum of outputs, including contributions to academic journals, conference proceedings, edited collections and monographs; policy and practice recommendations; stakeholder engagement activities; popular publications in press and social media. Members of this group engage in collaborative research and networking activities with academic and non-academic partners.

Activities and explorations of this theme offer a wide spectrum of theoretical and methodological inputs into the teaching undertaken across the School. Students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level are introduced to current theoretical and methodological debates in social sciences, receiving a thorough training in theories and methods pertaining to both quantitative and qualitative research paradigms. Through a portfolio of courses, workshops, masterclasses, reading groups, and supervised research undertaken at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, students are prepared to undertake scientifically rigorous and societally relevant research. The pedagogic inputs of the theme are particularly relevant at the doctoral training level, with a number of recent PhD projects addressing important theoretical and methodological issues and even contributing to the development of social scientific theories and methodologies. 

Professor Natasha Mauthner from the Business School and Dr Beth Lord from the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy organised a two day workshop on New Materialisms and Politics bringing together an interdisciplinary group of scholars from the University of Aberdeen, Utrecht University, and the University of Exeter. Full details here.

Dr Chandana Alawattage  
Dr Karolina Kazimierczak  
Professor Natasha Mauthner Gender, work and family; academic work and practices; health and well being; digital data sharing; projects using qualitative research approaches
Dr Zoe Morrison Management 
Professor Catia Montagna International trade theory; firms in the global economy; labour markets, trade, FDI; globalisation and labour markets; welfare state policies
Professor Joe Swierzbinski Experimental economics

Property Market Analysis

 Property Market Analysis

Lead: Professor Norman Hutchison

The aim of this theme is to deliver internationally-recognised research on real estate markets and regional and rural development issues, with findings influencing academic, policy and professional debates in the UK and worldwide.  Research within this theme is grounded in economic theory and draws together the long-established research expertise in econometric analysis of colleagues in real estate, finance and economics. The theme helps support disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research in commercial and residential property markets across both urban and rural environs. Much of the research in this theme is policy-driven and involves engagement with industry and government in UK and Europe.

Research in this area informs teaching on both the MA Real Estate and MSc Real Estate and Finance degrees and benefits supervision of research students at masters and PhD level.

Research has focused on three key areas:

a)      Property investment and market analysis

Recent projects have included:

  • An error correction model to reveal the asymmetric nature of office rental adjustments to employment and supply shocks.
  • How panel data analysis can be used to explore the dynamics of real estate markets.
  • How fractional cointegration analysis provides a stronger means of forecasting securitised real estate returns.
  • The use of a Markov switching model to explore the stability of commercial real estate risk premium.
  • The appropriate risk free rate of return for use by European investors considering investing in the UK commercial property market. 
  • The importance of investors allowing for convexity as well as duration when assessing the sensitivity of commercial property values to changes in interest rate.
  • The importance of considering the level of covenant strength in property pricing.
  • Changes in the liquidity of real estate investments over time.
  • Bond financing of urban regeneration.


b)     Housing markets

Recent projects have included:

  • Development of local house price indices.
  • Spatial analysis of house prices.
  • The role of neighbourhood effects on housing markets.
  • House price bubbles and investor rationality.
  • Mortgage demand and mortgage instrument choice.
  • Tenure choice in housing markets.


c)      Regional and rural development

Recent projects have included:

  • The economy-wide impact of various types of economic shocks on rural economies.
  • The impact of in-migration from Eastern and Central European economies on the labour markets of remote regional economies.
  • Changing migration trajectories and integration of Eastern Europeans in North East Scotland.
    • The relationship between household migration and rural house prices at the regional level. 
    • Issues related to the traditional natural resource sectors in rural areas, in particularly agriculture and fisheries. 

Research funding

The main source of funding for research on property investment and market analysis has been from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Investment Property Forum (IPF).  The majority of this funding has been to support applied research on topics of direct relevance to the industry. The regional and rural development research area has secured major funding from the EU as well as funding from local authorities and regional development agencies. 


Much of the research carried out within this theme has direct engagement with industry and informs policy decisions. For example, a current focus of the research has been on index construction and property market transparency.  Property market investors (from large institutional investors to potential home buyers) need to have confidence on the level of risk and returns associated with their transactions. Without such confidence, property markets will fail to operate efficiently.  Researchers have constructed residential, commercial real estate and urban regeneration indices which have been widely adopted by industry and influence investment portfolio decisions. The residential indices are used by surveyors, mortgage lenders and influence the housing choices of the general public.

As a specific example, since 2012 the Aberdeen house price index has been produced by researchers each quarter and published on the Aberdeen Solicitors’ Property Centre (ASPC) website (which typically hosts more than 50,000 searches each day) and the Centre for Real Estate Research website[1]. It is used by a wide range of beneficiaries including the local council (to inform residential planning decisions), surveyors, Council of Mortgage Lenders members (i.e. banks and Building Societies) and potential house buyers and sellers in North East Scotland. Local housing associations have referred to the index in setting rental levels, as the rents they charge have to be justified in relation to market within which they operate.


Professor Norman Hutchison Finance
Dr Nan Liu Property investment and property market analysis
Professor Bryan MacGregor  
Professor Deb Roberts Regional science, rural development, agricultural policy,renewable energy, housing market analysis
Dr Rainer Schulz  
Dr Martin Wersing Housing market analysis and statistical modelling
Miss Yuan Zhao