Prof. Michael Danson

MA (Hons) (Aberdeen) DLitt (UWS), AcSS, FIED, FeRSA

Professor of Enterprise Policy
School of Social Sciences
Business Management
+44 131 451 3840
MB 1.09
Michael Danson


Mike is Professor of Enterprise Policy within the School and is leading on several projects and networks. He has been involved in many learned societies internationally over the last thirty years and has worked extensively with a range of disciplines. He fully expects to continue to develop these and to become ever more embedded into the networks and centres within Heriot-Watt University.

Mike is on the Steering Group of the Third Sector Internship Scotland SFC-funded programme with special responsibility for research on the internships with the social enterprises.

Mike has been Treasurer, Convenor (Scotland) and Member of Academy of the Social Sciences; QAA Reviewer in Economics and ELIR Reviewer; Chair and Treasurer of the Regional Studies Association; as well as being a member of other boards and committees nationally and internationally. He co-organises the international network on peripheral and marginal regions in Northern Europe and the Scottish Centre for Island Studies are open to all and encourage multi-disciplinary interactions between researchers, policymakers and practitioners.

Mike has supervised a number of PhD students to successful completion on such topics as partnership working in economic development, travel to work areas, rural enterprise, B2B emarketing, volunteering and employability with several spanning regions and nations across Europe.

Mike is a trustee of the East Renfrewshire Community Enterprise Trust and has previously been involved in establishing social enterprises in different contexts and environments, often in deprived and fragile communities


Professor Mike Danson graduated with a MA (Honours) in Economics and Statistics from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. He was recognised as an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2001, elected a Fellow of the Institute of Economic Development in 2007 and of the Regional Studies Association in 2010.

Formerly at the University of Strathclyde, the University of Glasgow and Strathclyde Regional Council, he joined the University of the West of Scotland in 1988 and was appointed as Professor in Scottish and Regional Economics in 1995. After acting as Associate Dean (Research and Commercialisation) in the Business School and Director of Research for the Faculty at UWS, he joined Heriot-Watt University in October 2012.

Mike has been a member of several government advisory groups on land reform, ageing and talent management, contributed to the volunteering strategy for Scotland and the employability framework, has advised governments and agencies across the world including the State of Chihuahua through a commission of the OECD.


Mike has many and varied research interests including regional economic development, regional development agencies, enterprise development, demographic change and ageing, volunteering, and community ownership and management of land and other resources.

Since 1997, he has authored over 200 research papers many published in international scientific journals and books. His research work is frequently presented at international conferences.

Current research includes a collaborative EPSRC project with University of Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt University, Glasgow School of Art, Opengrid Systems, Treegreen on “Aging Population Attitudes to Sensor Controlled Home Energy” (APAtSCHE); analysis of the economic impacts of Gaelic arts and cultural activities; assessment of the social and economic development of community buy-out areas; and different aspects of economic development and migration across peripheral, marginal and island regions in northern Europe and Canada.