PSI seminar, 9 December: Will McDowall on innovation


Room M214, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS

Will McDowall

Will McDowall
Will McDowall

For the next PSI seminar, Will McDowall will give an overview of work on his PhD thesis, which consists of a collection of publications, and a commentary on them. Visions and expectations of the future help shape innovation processes, since shared expectations condition the way in which innovation system actors make judgements about market opportunities and technological possibilities. An important source of such expectations is formal and semi-formal scenario, modelling and futures techniques - analytic methods that aim to understand possibilities and implications of different futures. How are such futures made, and whose interests are represented? How can we assess the quality of futures exercises? How can they be improved? These are the questions that motivate his PhD and are addressed in the context of a specific area of innovation: hydrogen energy. Will’s seminar will provide an overview of the key arguments and contributions from the PhD, and reflect on messages for improving practice in the analysis of technology futures.

Will McDowall is a lecturer in eco-innovation, and course director of the UCL MSc in Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment. His research is interdisciplinary, and focuses on energy-innovation policy, and on the sustainability appraisal of energy technologies and pathways. He has expertise in a wide range of qualitative and quantitative research methods, including energy systems modelling, deliberative multi-criteria mapping, systematic literature review, qualitative interviews and participatory scenario building. In addition to research, Will lectures on the economics and policy of energy innovation. In 2014, he appeared as an expert witness on low-carbon innovation to the House of Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change.

Prior to joining UCL in 2010, Will was a policy adviser with the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) in Canada, where he worked on climate-change policy and governance. He has previously worked as research manager at the Community Energy Association, where he advised local governments on climate and energy policy, as policy associate at the Centre for Health and Environment Research at the University of British Columbia, and as a research rellow at PSI.

A sandwich lunch will be provided, and the talk will be followed by an opportunity for informal discussion. Please RSVP to Tom Watson ( to indicate your attendance.