Duncan Thomas

Dr Duncan Thomas is a Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, UK. His teaching, supervision and research interests include innovation in the privatised UK water sector, European research policy evaluation, climate change resilience, and global sustainability issues. He has led research projects and worked within interdisciplinary, international teams. His clients include a range of European Commission agencies, UK Government Departments and regulatory agencies, regional bodies, charitable foundations, and private companies.

Duncan has both a PhD and MSc from the PREST (Policy Research in Engineering, Science and Technology) research centre at the University of Manchester. His PhD (1998-2002) was an ESRC CASE Award PhD in collaboration with United Utilities. His MSc (1997-1998) was on Technical Change and Industrial Strategy, specialised in transport technology systems and culture.

Most notably his recent work for UKWIR (UK Water Industry Research) on barriers to innovation has received significant attention. His work has been cited in a variety of policy documents, including the Lord Sainsbury 2007 review of science and innovation, and Duncan has submitted evidence to the 2008 All Party Parliamentary Water Group inquiry into the future of the UK water sector. In 2005 he also wrote a book on this subject, The Crisis of Innovation in Water and Wastewater (Edward Elgar Publishers).

Duncan’s water research was what sparked an interest in making a water feature film with his former course mentor, Erik Knudsen of One Day Films. However he has previously also made two films. Aqua Blues (2006) was a short drama about conservatism in the global water sector, screened shortly afterwards at the 1st International Water and Film Event, 4th World Water Forum, in Mexico City. No Success (2005) was a short film about the lack of concern for real world problems within the academic community, and was shown at a Manchester film festival. Both films were made under the banner of a prototype start-up enterprise, Green Island Films, that Duncan worked on whilst gaining his Master of Enterprise (MEnt Tech) degree on academic enterprise and filmmaking from the University of Salford (2004-2006). He also has experience in music performance, recording and production. His most recent projects are Soul Ladder and production for Robert Gillies.

Before turning to social science in Manchester, Duncan studied and worked in London, and has a physics degree from Imperial College London (1992-1995). He also worked as an electronic engineer for the former Thorn EMI Central Research Laboratories (1994-1997), developing and prototyping high efficiency lighting systems, fingerprint and plasma technologies for a variety of international clients.

Duncan is also a member of the Calderdale Baha’i community.