Duncan graduated from the University of Bath in 1984 with a first-class BPharm and, following Pre-Registration training at Upjohn Ltd and St Thomas' Hospital, he went on to study for a PhD at the School of Pharmacy, University of London, on the topic of polymeric drug delivery systems.
He subsequently joined the staff and rose to the position of Reader in 1999 but left to take up a chair at the Queen's University Belfast, where he stayed for four years before moving to the University of East Anglia to set up the new School of Pharmacy in 2003.
The School went on to achieve top ranking in the national student survey for five years in a row and was consistently ranked within the top three UK pharmacy schools in the major league tables under his stewardship.
He stepped down as Head of School in 2011 to work for the Vice-Chancellor's Office as Director of Internationalisation, charged with shaping the university's policy on international relations and collaborations. In 2013 he returned to the School of Pharmacy, now part of UCL, to assume the position of Director of the newly merged School.
Duncan has won numerous prizes including the Glaxo Smith Kline International Award, the Controlled Release Society Young Investigator Award and the British Pharmaceutical Conference Science Award.
His research interests include the generation of drug-loaded nanofibers and nanoparticles, the use of new thermal analysis approaches for dosage form characterisation and the development of novel polymeric drug delivery systems.