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Matthew Cook


A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Matthew is Professor of Innovation at the Open University.  Matthew's research is thoroughly inter disciplinary and draws on various literatures including, urban studies, geography, innovation studies, complexity, spatial planning, science and technology studies.  He has experience of qualitative research methods including case study research, ethnography, discourse and frame analysis.  Matthew has both led and contributed to a variety of research projects funded by UK research councils, the European Union, Industry bodies, private firms, government departments (e.g. Defra) and programmes such as the Low Carbon Network Fund.  Prior to academic life, Matthew was a professional planner for 10 years.  He is currently combining his expertise in this field with his research interests in innovation and sustainability by focusing on the development of smart cities and technologies.  For example, he is interested in how efficacious and legitimate spatial strategies can be formulated to shape and guide development of smart cities.  


MSc Town and Country Planning (1997)
Reading University

PhD Innovation and Sustainability (2002)
Cranfield University

PGCert. Learning, Teaching and Assessment in Higher Education (2007)
Cranfield University

Relevant Previous Posts
Land Surveyor and Cartographer

Bedfordshire County Council, UK (1990-1995)

Senior Economic Development Officer

Bedfordshire County Council, UK (1995-1999)

Research Assistant (while completing PhD)
Cranfield University (1999-2002)

Principal Economic Development Officer
Bedford Borough Council (2003)

Lecturer in Economic Geography and Planning
Cranfield University (2004 – 2009)

Lecturer in Design and Innovation
Open University (2009 – present)


Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Member of European Association for the study of Science and Technology

Current and Recent Research Projects

Fluid transitions to sustainability: the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway.  This research aims to explore how multiple pathways to sustainability may be embraced and realised through design and innovation approaches that promote among other things, flexibility to technological options and participation of actors beyond the traditional nexus.  Research is undertaken with a PhD student jointly supervised with Dr Emma Dewberry.

Product Service Systems (PSS) and Sustainability.  This research builds on an ongoing stream of activity which begun with Matthew's Doctoral Research.  The project focuses on how culture affects PSS consumption.  Research is undertaken with a PhD student jointly supervised with Professor Stephen Potter.  


Matthew is a member of the presentation team for a first stage module entitled Environment: Journeys Through a Changing World.

Matthew was also production team chair for a third stage module entitled Innovation: Designing for Change, which will be available in 2014.

Previously, Matthew has developed and delivered modules concerned with  innovation studies on a number of post graduate programs including Innovation for Sustainability, Environmental Management for Business and Economics for Natural Resource and Environmental Management. 

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Tel: +44 (0) 1908 655964
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