UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


Directing innovation for sustainable development

Innovation is critical if the world is to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Research on innovation at ISR spans multiple domains (climate, energy, circular economy), and issues– ranging from technology roadmapping, to exploring how innovation is represented in environment-economy models, to case studies on business model innovation.

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What we do

Our innovation research is diverse, including qualitative research into governance arrangements and policies, alongside quantitative analysis of innovation diffusion and funding. A major theme relates to ‘transitions’, i.e. broad patterns of whole-systems change, rather than the invention and commercialisation of individual specific ideas. 

Our work

At the beginning of 2021, we launched the final report of the Green Innovation Policy Commission – an initiative directed by Professor Paul Ekins, with support from Michal Miedzinski and Will McDowall.  The Green Innovation Policy Commission brought together a group of leaders from business and NGOs to provide government with policy advice on greening innovation.

Ongoing projects

INNOPATHS, a large EU-funded project that explores innovation from a number of dimensions, including the dynamics of sector-specific innovation systems, patterns of technology diffusion, and the consequences of decline in incumbent industries. Key people involved include Paul Ekins, Paul Drummond, Nick Hughes and Will McDowall.

A collaboration with the Canadian Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI). Funded by the SPI’s Economics and Environmental Policy Research Network, the project will involve Will McDowall, Michal Miedzinski and Paul Ekins working with Professor James Meadowcroft at Carleton University to assess Canada’s policy mix for enabling sustainability transitions.

A collaboration with the European Environment Agency, to explore transformative innovation policy in the European Green New Deal. This work is being led by Henrik Larsen, supported by Will McDowall, Michal Miedzinski, and honorary Professor Fred Steward.


Paul Drummond
Senior Research Associate
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Michael Grubb
Professor of International Energy and Climate Change Policy
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Paul Ekins 
Professor in Resources & Environment Policy
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Will McDowall
Associate Professor
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Michal Miedzinski
Senior Research Associate in Eco-Innovation and Policies
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Maria Rosa De Giacomo
Marie Curie Fellow
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Henrik Larsen
Research Associate
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