Duncan Scott died on Monday 18th May, after a severe stroke. A long serving senior academic at Manchester University he was one of the pioneers who developed the new academic field of voluntary sector studies in the 1990s and who made a significant contribution to the work of IVR in the 2000s.


Duncan was one of the small group of scholars who participated in a series of seminars hosted by Margaret Harris and Colin Rochester at the LSE’s Centre for Voluntary Organisation from 1993-96. The organisers and the funders (the ESRC) hoped that the participants would help to create an academic community that would support the emergence of a new field of activity. The successful outcome was the creation of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network. Duncan epitomised the collegiate spirit that made this development possible: he brought to it a commitment that encouraged and supported the other participants; he drew on his experience of working with voluntary organisations as well his intellectual capital; and he enlivened the proceedings with his well developed sense of humour.


Duncan continued to mentor and support growing numbers of students and colleagues in the field of voluntary action as well as making his own important contribution to its literature. One of his many services to this wider field was his role as chair of the Advisory Group of IVR from 2006 to 2011 a period of considerable change and turbulence within Volunteering England and outside of it. During this period Duncan offered wise advice, strong support and clear guidance to the staff of IVR while also providing informed and helpful leadership to the rather disparate group of people who comprised the members of its advisory group.



The many people in the world of voluntary action who knew Duncan and benefitted from his support and advice know that his death will leave an irreplaceable gap in their lives. And they will mourn the loss of one of the most convivial of companions and staunchest of friends.

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IVR was set up in 1997 to undertake high quality research on volunteering. It started out as a department of Volunteering England in 1997, became part of the research department of NCVO in 2013 and moved to the University of East Anglia in 2019. During the last twenty years, IVR has played a leading role in applied volunteering research involving volunteer organisations, the public sector, private sector and the government.

The new home for the IVR in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMH) helps flag the notable contribution of millions of volunteers in today’s health and social services in the UK.

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IVR’s mission is to support and undertake high quality volunteering research to bring about a world in which the power and energy of volunteering and the difference volunteering and volunteering research make to individuals and communities is well understood, so that individuals can be confident and feel safe about their decision to volunteer and communities grow stronger.

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