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Dr Adam Cooper
4th Floor
Shropshire House
11-20 Capper Street
Dr Adam Cooper profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • STEaPP
  • Faculty of Engineering Science

Dr Adam C Cooper is an Associate Professor in Engineering Policy. His background is in applied interdisciplinary social science rooted in 10 years direct experience of the UK Civil Service. His research focus is on 'engineering policy': both engineering for policy (the use of technical advice for - mainly energy - policy), and policy for engineering, which includes developing new field methods for socio-technical research, all with a view to making engineering better at making the world better. Adam has been at UCL STEaPP since it's birth in 2013.  Prior to joining UCL he was the Head of Social Science Engagement at the UK government Department of Energy and Climate Change from 2011. While there he set up the first Whitehall Social Science Expert Panel, joint with Defra, and developed the department’s first Evidence Strategy.  Between 2006 and 2011 Adam was the Head of Research at the Department of Culture, Medial and Sport, where he led the Culture and Sport Evidence Programme – an interdisciplinary strategic programme of research and analysis aimed directly at informing cultural policy.  He joined the UK Civil Service in 2002 working first in the area of child poverty, before working on analysis to support the workforce development strategy for the children’s social care. He started his career as an academic at Birmingham University working in the field of cognitive neuropsychology, where he published several peer-reviewed articles. Adam holds a PhD in Cognitive Neuropsychology from Birmingham, an MSc in Cognitive Science and Natural Language from Edinburgh and a BSc in Psychology from Stirling.

Research Summary

My research focus is on the intersection of social and technical approaches to understanding the world in order to change it via policy processes. This means, in particular understanding how engineering disciplines understand the world and inform policy and how social sciences can better collaborate to develop better knowledge for government in what I call 'socio-technical research'. I am the leading scholar globally (as far as I can tell) on a domain largely unrecognised by academic research called 'engineering policy' which includes understanding engineering for policy (engineering advice) for which I have a PhD candidate Laurent Lioté working with me, and policy for engineering.


Here is a list of selected research projects that I have been involved in since starting at UCL in September 2013:

  • Co-I - EPSRC Smart Meter Research Portal, from Sept 2017
  • PI - UCL Grand Challenges - Physics and Energy Social Research (Phaesr), from June 2017
  • Co-PI – DECC/RCUK CEE, UK Energy Lab Feasibility Study; Jan to Nov 2014
  • Contributing author - Lancet Commission – climate change and health; completed Jan 2015
  • PI – DECC Warm Home Discount Scheme policy evaluation advice; Oct-Dec 2014

Policy Research and Evaluation Consultancy

I am also a leading member of three UCL consortia that have successfully joined framework contracts at both the UK and EU government level:

  • Advising UK Government department BEIS on their AECOM-led Building for 2050 research programme
  • A joint UCL STEaPP/Energy Institute/ISR/Economics group on the DECC-led evaluation advice framework
  • A UCL CEGE-led group for a DfT evaluation framework
  • A member of the UCL team for the EU DG ENER on energy efficiency

Teaching Summary

I am an associate fellow of the HEA and undertake mainly postgraduate teaching at UCL. I plan to get involved in providing executive education in the area of research for public policy. Here are the different teaching I have been involved in. 

Teaching contributions 2020-21

  • How to Change the World – 2 week undergraduate intensive engineering course
  • STEP0027: Evidence for Decision-making
  • STEP0008: Energy Technology and Climate Policy
  • MPA Final projects

16-SEP-2013 Lecturer in Policy Research and Practice Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) UCL, United Kingdom
03-OCT-2011 – 13-SEP-2013 Head of Social Science Engagement Department of Energy and Climate Change UK Government, United Kingdom
16-JUN-2006 – 10-OCT-2011 Head of Research Department for Culture, Media and Sport UK Government, United Kingdom
03-DEC-2002 – 14-JUN-2006 Social Researcher Department for Children, Schools and Families UK Government, United Kingdom
Academic Background
1999   Doctor of Philosophy University of Birmingham
1995   Master of Science University of Edinburgh
1993   Bachelor of Science (Honours) University of Stirling
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