Dr McGinlay joined the Institute for Global Sustainable Development in 2021 as a Research Fellow on the FIDELIO project (Forecasting Social Impacts of Biodiversity Conservation Policies in Europe), funded by the European Research Council. This project explores the factors affecting public support for nature protected areas as a policy tool for nature conservation, including the socio-economic impacts, and how support evolves over time. He also works on the ESRC-funded ESCALATION project on public perceptions of flood defence plans in the UK.
Dr McGinlay is an environmental researcher with a broad-based interest in the environment and sustainability, and a particular interest in biodiversity and nature conservation, assessment and management, and in people's relationship with nature. He is experienced in interdisciplinary approaches to complex environmental problems drawing on knowledge from the natural and social sciences, and in mixed-method and case-study strategies focusing particularly on qualitative research methods. Past research has included work on the policy and practice of managing socio-ecological systems, and on cultural ecosystem services.
Prior to this he studied at the Universities of Oxford and Nottingham, worked in technical and engineering consultancies, with over ten years work experience in the field of environmental assessment and management for public, private and academic sectors, before returning to academia with research at the Open University, Cranfield University, Anglia Ruskin University and the Department of Land Economy at the University of Cambridge.