Mrs Rebecca Smith


Lecturer, BSc and MSc Sustainable Rural Development

Rebecca Smith

t: 01851 770463

Lews Castle College, University of the Highlands & Islands, Faculty of Science, Health and Education

Module Leadership

I provide the lead for modules on both the undergraduate BSc Sustainable Development programme, and the postgraduate MSc Sustainable Development programme, UHI. These modules include:

BSc Sustainable Development: Empowering Communities; Economic Development Policy & Theory; Planning for Community Projects; Urban and Regional Planning

MSc Sustainable Development: Developing Communities

Research interests

Recycling, Zero Waste, Remote and Rural Communities, Community Development

My main research interest is in the area of waste recycling, sustainable community development and community empowerment. I have received a research grant to cover the cost of PHD research into the research question: Is there a Sustainable Future for Recycling in Remote and Rural Communities? This research is exploring how remote and rural places can respond to government policies of zero waste. Zero waste policies set out government visions for zero waste societies. With the mind-set generated by zero waste policies, waste is a valuable resource which can generate revenues. Such policies recognise that adopting zero waste approaches means changing the way we look at waste so that we see it as a resource, not a problem.

My research is investigating whether rural communities are able to adopt this attitude to waste? Are revenues generated from waste in rural settings? If so, to who are these revenues generated? Is there potential in localising recycling capacities and empowering remote and rural communities through waste?

The aims of this research are:

  • To investigate the specific barriers for recycling in remote and rural places
  • To explore what options exist for a sustainable recycling future in remote and rural locations.
  • To explore the potential for small-scale local closed pipe recycling solutions in remote and rural places.
  • To explore the potential for strengthening waste prevention and reuse polices in remote and rural settings.

Previous Research

I have delivered a number of recycling research projects for Local Authorities in England, providing recommendations for improving recycling schemes. These projects have included community monitoring exercises and recycling communication campaigns. I have also been involved in collaboration with WRAP UK ( on some wider national survey projects looking at composting in the UK and Barriers to Recycling in the Home.

Funding Awards

UHI staff development PHD funding grant (see above)

Applied Quantitative Methods Network (AQMeN) Award– I was awarded a competitive place at the Fast track to Quantitative Methods Course, ran by the Applied Quantitative Methods Network in collaboration with the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science at the School of Social and Political Science, Chrystal MacMillan Building, Edinburgh University, August 2012.

Postgraduate Induction Event: Executive Office, Ness Walk, 1st/2nd October 2012, UHI funded


Conference Presentations and Workshops

  • Researching Scotland’s Ruralities: Social Science Perspectives on Current Issus in Rural Scotland, Perth Concert Hall - 20th March 2013 - Research Poster Presentation

Research Supervision (recent)

  • Supervisor for: Fiona Knape (2013) 'Assessing the Capacity of Community Renewable Energy Projects to manage residual income streams', Undergraduate dissertation, UHI, in progress