Home Media Find an expert Prof Frank Rennie

Prof Frank Rennie

BSc, PhD, PGDip FGSE, FRSGS, FAT, FHEA, FRGS; Professor of Sustainable Rural Development and Head of Research and Post-Graduate Development, Science Health and Education Faculty

Prof Frank RennieLews Castle College UHI
Isle of Lewis

e: Frank Rennie
t: +44 (0) 1851 770451
f: +44 (0) 1851 770001

Available to talk to the media about

  • Sustainable rural development
  • Rural issues generally
  • Online education (e-learning)


As head of research and postgraduate development at Lews Castle College UHI, Professor Rennie has special research interests in rural and community development studies, particularly in terms of the impact information and communication technology (ICT) and online learning systems has on rural communities. He also specialises in the relationship between nature conservation and the development of human communities.

A visiting professor at Kings College London, Professor Rennie has been involved in advising on online education development for dental training. He was also a member of the NetUniversity Project that developed networked online learning for higher education with universities in Iceland, Sweden and Labrador in Canada.

Professor Rennie was the founding president of the Scottish Crofters Union and a pioneer in the use of online education. He has had a particular involvement in capacity-building for university staff in several developing countries.

Elsewhere, Professor Rennie is a fellow of the Geological Society of Edinburgh, the Arkleton Trust, the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, the Academy of Higher Education and the Royal Geographical Society as well as a member of the Association of Learning Technology.

Current research

  • e-tips (e-textbook institutional publishing service) (lead partner, with Edinburgh Napier University); funded by JISC (Joint Information Services Committee, for UK Higher Education) (2014-2017)

  • Sustaining livelihoods in remote and fragile communities: The role and impact of ferry transport. Funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Calmac (2014-2015)

Research groups/interest

  • Opportunities for new approaches to distance and open education, especially computer-based distributed learning systems, as a contribution to improved development on and in rural communities.
    • The animation of grassroots community development, especially mechanisms for participation in integrated rural development initiatives and the practice of participatory action research by rural communities
    • Practical systems for securing sustainable development in rural communities.
    • Cultural and social issues as a mechanism for development (especially among minority cultures).
    • Rural landuse, land ownership, and land management, including small-scale agricultural activities and the crofting system in particular.
    • Support and training for leadership development in rural areas.

Publications, books, chapters and reports