Dr Paula Duffy

Dr Paula Duffy
Dr Paula Duffy
Dr Paula Duffy

MA, MSc, PhD


Email Address
Office Address
112 St. Mary's Building
Old Aberdeen Campus
Elphinstone Road
AB24 3UF

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School of Geosciences



2020 to Present: Lecturer, Geography and Environment, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen.

2019 to 2020: Lecturer in Sustainable Development (education focussed), School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews

2014 to 2019: PhD Sustainable Development (Science), School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews

2015 to 2019: Tutor and Teaching Assistant, School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews

2015 to 2018: Teaching Assistant and Teaching Lead Volunteer: GeoBus Outreach Programme, School of Earth and Environmental Science, University of St Andrews

2016 to 2017: Marine Social Scientist, Internship at Marine Analytical Unit, Marine Scotland, Scottish Government


  • PhD Sustainable Development (Science) 
    2019 - University of St Andrews 

    Doctoral Thesis entitled:

    • Understanding socio-demographic change and sustainability in Scotland’s coastal communities.
  • MSc Applied Population and Welfare Geographies 
    2011 - University of Dundee 

    Thesis Entitled:

    • A Qualitative case study of backpacking in Bolivia: Understandings of motility and mobilities
  • MA (Hons) Geography 
    2009 - University of Dundee 

    Degree Classification: First Class Honours

    Dissertation entitled: 

    • Therapeutic Landscapes of Mental Health Care: A Case study of Stratheden Hospital 

External Memberships

  • Fellow of Royal Geographical Society - with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG) 
  • Member of Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) 
  • Member of American Association of Geographers 
  • Member of the UKRI ECR Forum

Professional positions held

  • Communications Officer for Population Geography Research of RGS-IBG (PopGRG) (2021- ongoing)



Research Areas

Geography and Environment

Research Specialisms

  • Human Geography
  • Human Demography
  • Applied Social Science
  • Marine Sciences
  • Socio-Economics

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

Solar Power In The UK – Planning For A Sustainable Future

Project website: https://solarplanninguk.wordpress.com/ 

Project team:

Research funded by UKRI - ESRC Standard Scheme "Solar Power in the UK -- Planning for a sustainable future" (ES/X001512/1).

Project will run from June 2023 - December 2025

Health and Place: Developing a Co-Created Research Design for Inclusive and Sustainable Blue Spaces (Community Wellbeing and the coast)

Funded by The British Academy Early Career Researcher Network Seed Fund Grant (Scotland Hub)

Our  Project Team: Co-Is are Dr Natalie Dickinson, University of the West of Scotland (UWS), Dr Sacha Hasan,Herriot-Watt University,  Dr Paula Duffy, University of Aberdeen , Dr Kiri Rodgers (UWS) and partner Kasia Smith, North Ayrshire Council

Funded Period: April - July 2023

Executive summary click here 

Community Wellbeing and the Coast has been shortlisted for the Herriot-Watt University Principal's Research Impact and Engagement (PRIME) Awards  for Influence 

Socio-demographic determinants in perceived risk of climate change by coastal communities and stakeholders in Taiwan and Scotland: A planning perspective

Funded by Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) as a RSE-MoST Bilateral Project, in collaboration with Dr Peiwen Lu, National Chenghua University of Education

Past Research

DigiEthics: Navigating Digital Ethics for Rural Research

Project funded by the Scotland Hub of the British Academy Early Career Research Network that explored, from an ethics point of view, how researchers and administrators of rural community Facebook groups can agree on the conditions to utilise such networks for better research.

DigiEthics published guidelines and recommendations for researchers and social media group administrators in collaboration with our community participants which is available here 

Project Team: Co-Is are Dr Diana Valero, The James Hutton Institute (JHI), Dr Alison Mayne, Independent Scholar, Dr Christina Noble, JHI, and Dr Paula Duffy, University of Aberdeen(UoA). Supported by Kirsten Gow as Researcher and Facilitator,UOA and JHI

Conceptualising understandings of Citizenship for offshore energy; in the context of Scotland's and Europe’s NetZero ambitions

Funded by Saltire ECR Exchange - SAGES SERENE call, Hosted by Dr. Andreas Kannen, Human Dimensions of Coastal Areas, Hereon Research Institute of Coastal Systems - Analysis and Modeling, Germany 

Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership: Ecovillage Transition in Action

The population sustainability of Coastal Fife. Part of the Fife Coastal Zone project funded by St Andrews Restarting Research Funding Scheme (SARRF) and Scottish Funding Council (SFC)

Understanding socio-demographic change and sustainability in Scotland’s coastal communities. ESRC +3 CASE funded PhD Studentship in partnership with Marine Scotland, The Scottish Government. PhD awarded by the University of St Andrews

International Student Migration and Constitutional Change in Scotland, Funded by ESRC Centre for Population Change(CPC), and the University of St Andrews Research Impact Fund


‘Growing Scotland’s Islands: can the National Islands Plan stimulate a population turnaround?’

  • Lead Supervisor: Lorna Philip (University of Aberdeen)
  • Co-Supervisors: Margaret Currie (James Hutton Institute) Paula Duffy (University of Aberdeen) Ruth Wilson (James Hutton Institute)

The aim of this research is to better understand intersections between island community resilience, migration and economic activity and to identify pathways through which an economically active population may be retained and increased across the Scottish islands.

Building on the findings of previous research, for example, studies of rural return migration, in-migration to rural areas at different life course stages, and ongoing research led by the James Hutton Institute (collaborative partner for this work) namely the Islands Revival project (Islands Revival, 2019) and the National Islands Plan Survey,  this research will undertake an in-depth study of working age, in-migrant islanders (whether new or returning). Islanders' motivations for moving to an island community, lived experiences of island life and future plans, including residential and employment aspirations, will be explored through these two PhDs.


This work is being generously funded through two PhD studentships:

  • ESRC 3+1 SGSSS Supervisor led collaborative Studentship  awarded to Marcus Craigie
  • McCaulay Development Trust PhD Studentship  awarded to Kirsten Gow


'Dark tourism in Sri Lanka as a new phenomenon'

Supervisors: Piotr Niewiadomski & Paula Duffy

Jaliya da Silva's research will investigate the dark tourism in Sri Lanka, understanding the structure and characteristics of the emerging dark tourism sector in the country and it's contribution to understandings and experiences of community-led tourism development. 








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