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Professor Matthew Cook

Profile summary

Professional biography

Prior to academic life, Matthew worked for 11 years as a professional spatial planner specialising in urban regeneration and sustainability.  He returned to university in 1999 as Research Assistant on a UK Government funded project and completed a doctorate in Innovation and Sustainability.  Following an appointment as Lecturer at Cranfield University in 2003, Matthew joined the Open University in 2009 where he is now Professor of Innovation and leads the Future Urban Environments research team and Technology and Innovation Management qualification.  

Research interests

Matthew's research interests are in innovation and the development of more sustainable urban environments.  Working at the intersection of innovation studies and urban studies his work recognises the situatedness of innovation and the inherent spatiality of this complex socio-technical process.  Much of his current work is concerned with critical perspectives on the governance of smart city innovations, such as urban energy and transport systems, and the policy mobilities that play a profound role in their (re)construction.  

Matthew uses a variety of qualitative research methods including longitudinal case study, ethnography and discourse analysis.  He has secured funding for research from several sources including the Economic and Social Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, European Union and various firms from the private sector.  

Teaching interests

Matthew's teaching interests are in innovation and urban development.  He is Qualification Lead for Technology and Innovation Management and Presentation Team Chair of the post graduate module T849 Strategic Capabilities for Technological Innovation.  He is also lead author of a new block concerned with cities and sustainability which will form part of the revised module U116 Environment: Journeys Through a Changing World.

External collaborations

Matthew has developed a number of effective external collaborations with public and private sector organisations including Milton Keynes Council, CGI, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, British Standards Institute, Western Power Distribution.  


Matthew has strong international links with universities in Northern Europe.  He has worked on complex system approaches to urban planning with Drs Ward Rauws and Terry van Dijk from Groningen University, The Netherlands.  He has a strong relationship around teaching and research projects focused on product service systems in cities with Professor Tim McAloone, Danish Technical University, Denmark.  

Finally, he has developed an effective and enduring collaboration on sustainability and innovation in both cities and the food and farming sector with the Swedish Life Sciences University, Uppsala, Sweden, where he is now August T Larsson Visiting Scholar.

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Design GroupGroupFaculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology


Externally funded projects Residential Wireless Charging Demonstrator
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Jan 202031 Mar 2022Innovate UK

The proposed research forms part of a bid to the OLEV/Innovate UK call for innovation projects to deliver creative new designs and technologies for low-cost, scalable charging solutions for electric vehicle users without access to off-street parking. This will be done through a demonstrator project to explore the technical options, business models and institutional arrangements required for deploying wireless charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in public spaces. The demonstrator will have a duration of 18 months and will recruit users, community groups and local authorities at three locations -The London borough of Redbridge, the new town of Milton Keynes and a town in Buckinghamshire - allowing an exploration of the role that wireless EV charging infrastructures can play in a variety of urban contexts. The growth in the use of electric vehicles (EVs) needs to accelerate if the targets to reduce transport's C02 emissions are to be achieved as well as meeting health standards for city air quality. The “Road to Zero” strategy published by UK government calls for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040. However, the provision of sufficient charging points to support such a large number of EVs might prove challenging. The provision of charging infrastructure in public spaces will be an important part of the solution, as OLEV estimates indicate that 44% of the motorists in London and 30% in the rest of the UK do not have access to off-street parking. It is not clear that the existing charging point network can be simply scaled up, as a large-scale deployment of wired chargers would create street clutter and the cables connecting the vehicles to the charging points would constitute a health and safety risk for pedestrians. The provision of wireless charging in cities may be useful for reducing street clutter and eliminating the trip hazard. However, the deployment of wireless charging points raises a set of issues that could hold back this policy approach, for example local authorities may be unwilling to install wireless charging points unless the technology is clearly supported by automakers but manufacturers may be hesitant to add wireless charging capabilities to their vehicles if cities do not have the infrastructure to support them. There is a need for a more in-depth understanding of the institutional arrangements necessary to support the successful introduction of wireless charging technologies, to be developed through an exploration of the strategies, culture and practices of industry actors, local authorities, lead users, and ultimately of the communities in which the new infrastructures will be deployed. Thus the proposed socio-technical research programme will amplify the impact of the technical and practical work conducted by partners including and the University of Warwick. By developing an understanding of the connections between the social and technical, including innovation intermediaries, product service systems and business models, we will develop a better understanding of the mechanisms through which wireless charging infrastructures might encourage EV adoption in residential areas where conventional wired charging points cannot be conveniently installed. Primary data will be produced through in-depth interviews, lead-user workshops and long-term engagement with relevant community groups (e.g., “Ilford Transition Town” in Redbridge and “Future Wolverton” in Milton Keynes). We will also seek insight on and collaboration with industry actors that can contribute to the emerging wireless charging ecosystem and amplify the impact of the demonstrator.

OLEV/Innovate UK Feasibility Study Bid
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Jan 201931 Mar 2019Innovate UK

The growth in the use of electric vehicles (EVs) needs to accelerate if the targets to reduce transport’s C02 emissions are to be achieved as well as meeting health standards for city air quality. Some key commercial transport sectors (e.g. taxis, service vehicles and delivery vans) have the potential for rapid EV adoption, but operators in these sectors have shown little interest in EVs, one factor being the need to use wired charging. The provision of wireless charging in cities could help, but for success there is a need for a more in-depth understanding of the culture, practices and business models of businesses in these sectors. The feasibility study would involve reviewing how wireless charging could play a role in possible technical options and business practices/models for taxi and on demand minivan operations in Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes has undertaken a number of EV innovation initiatives that have provided experience and understandings that can be applied elsewhere. A technical review will take place on potential EVs and charging systems, their performance and cost. This will involve an exploration with operators and cab driver/owners to understand what combinations of charging infrastructure would encourage them towards commercial EV operations. Ways to manage risk and appropriate MK Council support actions would form part of the exploration. The feasibility study would provide the technical and business/institutional specification for the main project, which would be the trial implementation and monitoring of the identified combination of wireless charging infrastructure, supporting actions and business model systems for these sectors. The project is led by the company eFIS (Electric Fleet Integrated Services), who has managed the successful introduction of wireless-charged electric buses in Milton Keynes. The other project partners are the Open University, Milton Keynes Council and the University of Warwick.

PhD Studentship - Exploring UK energy futures: implications, opportunities and risks
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Feb 201731 Jan 2020CGI Group

The UK electricity sector is at a point of change in response to both internal and external pressures: potential new demands for transport and heat; policies to cut carbon emissions and the resultant increased use of renewables; the development of smart grids and new entrants into the sector. However, exactly how the UK electricity sector will change in response to these stimuli is unclear. Indeed, there could be several futures, creating implications, opportunities and risks for key actors. This PhD explores, with experts in the field, some of these futures and the potential implications they will have for Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) among other key actors.


Demand-responsive transport returns to Milton Keynes - lessons for a bus industry in crisis? (2022-09-01)
Potter, Stephen; Valdez, Miguel; Enoch, Marcus and Cook, Matthew
Town and Country Planning, 91(5) (pp. 319-329)

Beyond automobility? Lock-in of past failures in low-carbon urban mobility innovations (2022-07)
Haarstad, Håvard; Sareen, Siddarth; Kandt, Jens; Coenen, Lars and Cook, Matthew
Energy Policy, 166, Article 113002

Curating smart cities (2022)
Cook, Matthew and Valdez, Miguel
Urban Geography ((Early access))

Is it who you are or what you do? Insights for Mobility as a Service from research on a car club (2021-12-14)
Catulli, Maurizio; Potter, Stephen and Cook, Matthew
Research in Transportation Business & Management, 41, Article 100597

Exploring smart city atmospheres: The case of Milton Keynes (2021-12)
Cook, Matthew and Valdez, Alan-Miguel
Geoforum, 127 (pp. 180-188)

Urban Planning and the Smart City: Projects, Practices and Politics (2020)
Karvonen, Andrew; Cook, Matthew and Haarstad, Håvard
Urban Planning, 5(1) (pp. 65-68)

Smoothing peaks and troughs: Intermediary practices to promote demand side response in smart grids (2019-12)
Langendahl, Per-Anders; Roby, Helen; Potter, Stephen and Cook, Matthew
Energy Research and Social Science, 58, Article 101277

The imagined electric vehicle user: Insights from pioneering and prospective buyers in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom (2019-06-30)
Valdez, A.; Potter, S. and Cook, M.
Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 71 (pp. 85-95)

[Book review] Inside smart cities: place, politics and urban environment (2019-02-27)
Cook, Matthew
Local Environment, 24(6) (pp. 554-555)

Roadmaps to Utopia: Tales of the Smart City (2018-11-01)
Valdez Juarez, Alan; Cook, Matthew and Potter, Stephen
Urban Studies, 55(15) (pp. 3385-3403)

Exploring participatory visions of smart transport in Milton Keynes (2018-06-30)
Valdez Juarez, Alan-Miguel; Cook, Matthew; Potter, Stephen and Langendahl, Per-Anders
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering Sustainability, 171(4) (pp. 204-210)

Product Service System Innovation in the Smart City (2018-03-01)
Cook, Matthew
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 19(1) (pp. 46-55)

Prototyping sustainable mobility practices: user-generated data in the smart city (2018)
Valdez Juarez, Alan-Miguel; Cook, Matthew; Langendahl, Per-Anders; Roby, Helen and Potter, Stephen
Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 30(2) (pp. 144-157)

Smart Cities: Towards a New Citizenship Regime? A Discourse Analysis of the British Smart City Standard (2017-08-02)
Joss, Simon; Cook, Matthew and Dayot, Youri
Journal of Urban Technology, 24(4) (pp. 29-49)

Consuming use orientated product service systems: A consumer culture theory perspective (2017-01-10)
Catulli, Maurizio; Cook, Matthew and Potter, Stephen
Journal of Cleaner Production, 141 (pp. 1186-1193)

Cycling through Dark Space: Apprehending the Landscape Otherwise (2017)
Cook, Matthew and Edensor, Tim
Mobilities, 12(1) (pp. 1-19)

Product Service Systems Users and Harley Davidson Riders: the importance of consumer identity in the diffusion of sustainable consumption solutions (2017)
Catulli, Maurizio; Cook, Matthew and Potter, Stephen
Journal of Industrial Ecology, 21(5) (pp. 1370-1379)

Governing effective and legitimate smart grid developments (2016-08)
Langendahl, Per-Anders; Cook, Matthew; Potter, Stephen; Roby, Helen and Collins, Trevor
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Energy, 169(3) (pp. 102-109)

Sustainable innovation journeys: exploring the dynamics of firm practices as part of transitions to more sustainable food and farming (2016)
Langendahl, Per-Anders; Cook, Matthew and Potter, Stephen
Local Environment, 21(1) (pp. 105-123)

Fluid transitions to more sustainable product service systems (2014-09)
Cook, M.
Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 12 (pp. 1-13)

How to Make Development Plans Suitable for Volatile Contexts (2014-03)
Rauws, W.S.; Cook, M. and van Dijk, T.
Planning Practice and Research, 29(2) (pp. 133-151)

Critical Reflections on Designing Product Service Systems (2013-12)
Dewberry, E. L.; Cook, M; Gottberg, A; Longhurst, P. J. and Angus, A
The Design Journal, 16(4) (pp. 408-430)

Retrofitting homes for energy efficiency: an integrated approach to innovation in the low carbon overhaul of social housing (2012-10)
Crilly, Michael; Lemon, Mark; Wright, Andrew J.; Cook, Matthew B. and Shaw, David
Energy and Environment, 23(6-7) (pp. 1027-1056)

Receptivity to the production of product service systems in the UK construction and manufacturing sectors: a comparative analysis (2012-09)
Cook, M.; Gottberg, A.; Angus, A. and Longhurst, P.
Journal of Cleaner Production, 32 (pp. 61-70)

Financial appraisal of wet mesophilic AD technology as a renewable energy and waste management technology (2011-06-01)
Dolan, T.; Cook, M. B. and Angus, A. J.
Science of the Total Environment, 409(13) (pp. 2460-2466)

Looking in or looking out? top-down change and operational capability (2011)
Lemon, Mark; Craig, John and Cook, Matthew
Historical Social Research, 36(1) (pp. 143-159)

Exploring the potential of product service systems to achieve household waste prevention on new housing developments in the UK (2010-03)
Gottberg, Annika; Longhurst, Phillip J. and Cook, Matthew B.
Waste Management and Research, 28(3) (pp. 228-235)

The contested concept of sustainable aviation (2009-11)
Walker, S. and Cook, M.
Sustainable Development, 17(6) (pp. 378-390)

Application of an ecosystem function framework to perceptions of community woodlands (2009-07)
Abenyenga, Olivia; Burgess, Paul J.; Cook, Matthew and Morris, Joe
Land Use Policy, 26(3) (pp. 551-557)

Towards a contemporary approach for understanding consumer behaviour in the context of domestic energy use (2007-08)
Faeirs, Adam; Cook, Matt and Neame, Charles
Energy Policy, 35(8) (pp. 4381-4390)

Toward a sociology of reuse: deconstructing the milkbottle (2007)
Vaughan, Paul; Cook, Matthew and Trawick, Paul
Sociologia Ruralis, 47(2) (pp. 120-134)

The adoption of domestic solar power systems: do consumers assess product attributes in a stepwise process? (2007)
Faeirs, Adam; Neame, Charles and Cook, Matt
Energy Policy, 35(6) (pp. 3418-3423)

Service orientated product innovation for improved environmental performance: an exploratory case study of the air conditioning and cooling sector (2006-09-01)
Cook, Matthew; Maggs, Huw; Neame, Charles and Lemon, Mark
Environmental Sciences, 3(3) (pp. 193-206)

Producer responsibility, waste minimisation and the WEEE Directive: case studies in eco-design from the European lighting sector (2006-04-15)
Gottberg, Annika; Morris, Joe; Pollard, Simon; Mark-Herbert, Cecilia and Cook, Matthew
Science of the Total Environment, 359 (pp. 38-56)

Transfer and application of product service systems: from academia to UK manufacturing firms (2006)
Cook, M. B.; Bhamra, T. A. and Lemon, M.
Journal of Cleaner Production, 14(17) (pp. 1455-1465)

Moving from eco-products to eco-services (2001)
Bhamra, T.; Evans, S.; Zwan, F. van der and Cook, M.
Journal of Design Research, 1(2)

Toward an intelligent mobility regime (2023)
Potter, Stephen; Warren, James; Valdez, Miguel and Cook, Matthew
In: Droege, Peter ed. Intelligent Environments: advanced systems for a healthy planet, 2nd Edition (pp. 323-350)
ISBN : 978-0-12-820247-0 | Publisher : Elsevier | Published : Amsterdam

Autonomous vehicles and the urban mobility ecosystem (2019-10-21)
Potter, Stephen; Valdez, Alan-Miguel and Cook, Matthew
In: Nuttall, William J; Gibson, David V; Trzmielak, Dariusz and Ibarra-Yunez, Alejandro eds. Energy and Mobility in Smart Cities (pp. 83-97)
ISBN : 9780727764256 | Publisher : ICE Publishing

Exploring the epistemic politics of urban niche experiments (2019)
Cook, Matthew; Horne, Ralph; Potter, Stephen and Valdez, Alan-Miguel
In: Jensen, Jens Stissing; Cashmore, Matthew and Späth, Philipp eds. The Politics of Urban Sustainability Transitions: Knowledge, Power and Governance. (pp. 125-147)
ISBN : 978-1-138-47965-4 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon, Oxon

Policy design: a new area of design research and practice. (2013-12)
Johnson, Jeffrey and Cook, Matthew
In: Aiguier, Marc; Boulanger, Frédéric; Krob, Daniel and Clotilde, Marchal eds. Complex Systems in Design and Management (pp. 51-62)
ISBN : 978-3-319-02811-8 | Publisher : Springer | Published : Heidelberg

Understanding the potential opportunities provided by service orientated concepts to improve resource productivity (2004-09)
Cook, M.
In: Bhamra, Tracy and Hon, Bernard eds. Design and Manufacture for Sustainable Development 2004 (pp. 123-134)
ISBN : 9781860584701 | Publisher : Professional Engineering Publishing Limited | Published : Bury St. Edmonds, UK

Demand Responsive Transport: is Milton Keynes developing a post-Covid revolution in public transport? (2021-07-06)
Potter, Stephen; Enoch, Marcus; Valdez Juarez, Alan and Cook, Matthew
In : Universities Transport Study Group Annual Conference (5-6 Jul 2021, University of Loughborough [Online])

Consuming the million-mile electric car (2021-05-11)
Cook, Matthew; Valdez Juarez, AM; Catulli, Maurizio and Potter, Stephen
In : PLATE – Product lifetimes and the environment 3rd PLATE Conference, September 18–20, 2019 Berlin, Germany (18-20 Sep 2019, Berlin) (pp. 155-160)

Humans and robots coping with crisis – Starship, Covid-19 and urban robotics in an unpredictable world (2021)
Valdez Juarez, Alan; Cook, Matthew and Potter, Stephen
In : 2021 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC) (17-20 Oct 2021, Melbourne, Australia) (pp. 2596-2601)

Exploring the role of intermediaries in smart grid developments (2015-11-10)
Cook, Matthew; Potter, Stephen; Langendahl, Per-Anders; Roby, Helen; Collins, Trevor and Taylor, Dan
In : Sustainable Innovation 2015 (9-10 Nov 2015, Epsom, Surrey)

Governance in niche development for a transition to a new mobility regime (2015-08-17)
Potter, Stephen; Valdez, Alan; Cook, Matthew and Langendahl, Per-Anders
In : International Sustainability Conference 2015 (25-28 Aug 2015, University of Sussex)

Transport and environmental innovation (2011-10)
Potter, Stephen; Roby, Helen; Cook, Matthew and Langendahl, Per-Anders
In : Sustainable Innovation 11 'State of the Art in Sustainable Innovation and Design' (24-25 Oct 2011, Farnham, Surrey)

Transport and environmental innovation (2010-10)
Potter, Stephen; Roby, Helen; Cook, Matthew and Langendahl, Per-Anders
In : ‘State of the Art’ in Sustainable Innovation and Design (24-25 Oct 2011, Farnham, UK)

Exploring a case of the eco-innovation journey in the UK food processing sector (2010-09)
Langendahl, Per-Anders; Cook, Matthew and Potter, Stephen
In : EASST Conference 2010 (02-04 Sep 2010, Trento, Italy)

Critical reflections on the performativity of transition frameworks in the making and remaking of places experienced as urban (2010)
Cook, Matthew and Potter, Stephen
In : EASST Conference 2010 (2-4 Sep 2010, Trento, Italy)

Sustainable urban design experiments (2010)
Cook, Matthew
In : ECCS 10 European Conference on Complex Systems (13-17 Sep 2010, Lisbon, Portugal)

Analysing the eco-innovation process in a UK food processing firm (2010)
Langendahl, Per-Anders; Cook, Matthew and Potter, Stephen
In : 15th International Conference Sustainable Innovation 2010 (8-9 Nov 2010, Rotterdam, Netherlands)

Implementation of the Water Framework Directive as a sociable process in spatial planning (2009)
Cvejic, R.; Cook, M. and White, S.
In : 8th International Conference of the European Society of Ecological Economics (29 Jun - 2 Jul 2009, Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Measuring farmers’ preference for systems that improve agrochemical traceability (2008)
Gasparin, C. P.; Angus, A.; Cook, M.; Peets, A.; Blackburn, D. and Godwin, R.
In : 9th Conference on Precision Agriculture (20-23 Jul 2008)

Satisfying household demand using services instead of material products to achieve household waste prevention (2006)
Gottberg, A.; Cook, M.; Morris, J.; Angus, A. and Longhurst, P.
In : Waste 2006: Sustainable Waste and Resource Management (19-21 Sep 2006, Warwick, UK)

The transfer and application of sustainable product service Systems in UK manufacturing companies (2004)
Cook, Matthew B. and Bhamra, Tracy
In : 2nd SusProNet Conference (3-4 Jun 2004, Brussels, Belgium)

Evolutionary perspectives on adoption of the eco-service concept (2002)
Cook, M. B. and Bhamra, T. A.
In : Towards Sustainable Product Design 7th International Conference (28-29 Oct 2002, London, U.K.)

Eco-services: a model for the diffusion of service orientated concepts in a local economy (2001)
Cook, Matthew and Bhamra, T. A.
In : Business and Environment Conference (Spring 2001, Cardiff, Wales)

Achieving Household Waste Prevention Through Product Service Systems, Technical Report 1: Developing an Analytical Framework (2008)
Gottberg, Annika and Cook, Matthew
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Achieving Household Waste Prevention Through Product Service Systems (2008)
Cook, Matthew; Gottberg, Annika; Angus, Andrew; Longhurst, Philip and Morris, Joe
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Achieving Household Waste Prevention Through Product Service Systems, Technical Report 2: Developing Experimental Product Service Systems (2008)
Gottberg, Annika; Dewberry, Emma; Maggs, Huw and Cook, Matthew
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Achieving Household Waste Prevention Through Product Service Systems, Technical Report 3: Environmental and Waste Prevention assessment (2008)
Gottberg, Annika and Cook, Matthew
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Achieving Household Waste Prevention Through Product Service Systems, Technical Report 4: Social and Economic Assessment (2008)
Angus, Andrew; Gottberg, Annika; Cook, Matthew and Morris, Joe
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Achieving Household Waste Prevention Through Product Service Systems, Technical Report 5: Institutional and Policy Review (2008)
Cook, Matthew and Gottberg, Annika
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Achieving Household Waste Prevention Through Product Service Systems, Technical Report 6: Developing Performance Indicators (2008)
Gottberg, Annika and Cook, Matthew
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Achieving Household Waste Prevention Through Product Service Systems, Technical Report 7: Prospective Case Studies (2008)
Gottberg, Annika; Cook, Matthew and Longhurst, Philip
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Memorandum by Cranfield University, Centre for Resource Efficiency and Management, written evidence submitted to the House of Lords Science and Technology Sub-Committee Inquiry into Waste Reduction, evidence of 11th December 2007 (presented by S.J.T. Pollard) (2007)
Longhurst, Philip; Pollard, Simon and Cook, Matthew
House of Lords Science and Technology Sub-Committee, London.