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Rachel Cooper

Distinguished Professor & Director, Imagination Lancaster


​Professor Cooper is academic Lead for the N8 universities (the eight most research intensive universities in the North of England: Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York)  on urban living research. She is also a non-executive Director of the Future Cities Catapult, a Lead Expert for the UK Government Foresight programme on the Future of Cities, and is on the Academy of Medical Sciences Working group addressing ‘the health of the public 2040’.

She is currently running The Creative Exchange (AHRC 2012 -2015), looking at the Digital Public Space and Knowledge Exchange, and also Liveable Cities (EPSRC Programme Grant 2012 -17). 

Her research covers: design thinking; design management; design policy; new product development; design in the built environment; design against crime; and socially responsible design. All her projects have been in collaboration with industry, working both nationally and internationally. In 2008 she completed a science review on the relationship between the physical environment and wellbeing for the UK Foresight programme Mental Capital and wellbeing

Professor Cooper has written extensively in design, including the Handbook of Design Management (2013), and is currently commissioning editor for an Ashgate series on Socially Responsible Design. She was President of the European Academy of Design 1995 - 2013, founding Editor of The Design Journal (1997 -2014) and member of the EU Design and Innovation Leadership Board.