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Tim Cooper


School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment

Staff Group(s)
Product Design


Tim Cooper is Emeritus Professor of Sustainable Design and Consumption.

Career overview

After graduating in economics from the University of Bath, Tim worked as a construction industry market analyst for a decade and was subsequently a researcher at the New Economics Foundation, where he produced a report, Beyond Recycling: The longer life option, which attracted widespread media coverage. His first academic post was at Sheffield Hallam University, where he worked from 1995-2010. He was awarded a PhD entitled Product Life Spans and the Environmental Impact of Consumer Goods in 2001.

Tim was appointed Professor of Sustainable Design and Consumption at Nottingham Trent University in 2010. Until April 2022 he was Head of the Sustainable Consumption and Clothing Sustainability research groups. He was Chair of the University’s Sustainability Action Forum from 2014-18 and was Academic Lead for its Sustainable Futures Strategic Research Theme from 2018-21. He is Contributing Editor of Longer Lasting Products (Routledge, 2010) and instigated the biennial PLATE (Product Lifetimes and the Environment) series of conferences in 2015.

Research areas

Professor Cooper is a recognised international authority on product lifetimes and has undertaken research in the following areas:

  • Design for longevity
  • Consumer influences on product life-spans
  • User behaviour and product-user attachment
  • Repair and reuse of products
  • Collaborative consumption
  • Environmental labelling
  • Sustainable business models
  • Systems innovation / product-service systems
  • The circular economy
  • Product policy
  • Waste reduction

External activity

Peer Review - Project grants

Tim has served on grant evaluation panels for the European Commission, the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Research Council of Norway, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Fund for Scientific Research (FRS-FNRS) (Belgium), the Environmental Protection Agency (Ireland), UK-India Education and Research Initiative, Office of Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs, Federal Science Policy Office (Belgium) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

He has reviewed grants applications for the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, National Environment Research Council, Arts and Humanities Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council.

Peer review - Publications

Journal reviewer for Philosophical Transactions (Royal Society); Journal of Design Research; Co-Design; International Journal of Sustainable Design; Journal of Marketing Management; Journal of Cleaner Production; Resources, Conservation and Recycling; Ecological Economics; Business Strategy and the Environment; European Environment; Sustainable Development; Journal of Consumer Policy; International Journal of Consumer Studies.

External examiner (PhD)

Tim has examined PhD candidates at the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium), Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), Aalto University (Finland), Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Calgary University (Canada), Aston University, Brunel University, Leeds University, Loughborough University, Plymouth University, Surrey University and Swansea University.

Conference advisory board member

Tim serves on the Product Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE) Conference Consortium committee. He has been a scientific committee member of a wide range of conferences, including the 29th CIRP Conference on Life Cycle Engineering (Belgium, 2022), International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI) Conference (UK, 2022), Product Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE) conferences (Limerick/Online, 2021; Berlin, 2019; Delft, 2017; Nottingham, 2015), 2nd International Conference on Energy and Sustainable Futures (ICESF) (Nottingham, 2020), LeNSes (Learning Network on Sustainable Energy Systems) Conference (Cape Town, 2016), Design Research Society (DRS) Conference (Brighton, 2016), Sustainable Innovation: Resource Efficiency, Innovation and Lifestyles (Bonn, 2012), Sustainability in Crisis (Cambridge, 2011), LENS (Learning Network on Sustainability) Conference (Bangalore, 2010), Eco-THEE (Ecological Theology and Environmental Ethics) Conference (Crete, 2010).

Policy advice

Tim has advised the European Commission (DG Justice and Consumers), the European Economic and Social Committee and the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). He has presented Evidence to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee inquiries into Electronic Waste and the Circular Economy and The Sustainability of the Fashion Industry, to the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee for its inquiry into Setting the Fifth Carbon Budget and the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Enquiry into Waste Reduction. He served as a Specialist Adviser to House of Commons Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee for its Enquiry Reducing the Environmental Impact of Consumer Products.

Sponsors and collaborators

Tim’s research has been funded by the European Commission, Council of Europe, Defra, WRAP, ESRC, EPSRC, Office of Fair Trading, the Restart Project and Friends of the Earth. He has generated around £2m in grant income. His research projects have been undertaken in collaboration with a wide range of partners in industry, NGOs and academic institutions.


Cooper, T. and Claxton, S. (2022). Garment Failure Causes and Solutions: Slowing the cycles for circular fashion. Journal of Cleaner Production 351, June, 131394. DOI:10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.131394

Sung, K., Cooper, T. and Kettley, S. (2022). Adapting Darnton’s Nine Principles Framework for Behaviour Change: The UK upcycling case study. Sustainability 14(3):1919. DOI:10.3390/su14031919

Goworek, H., Oxborrow. L, Claxton, S., McLaren, A., Cooper, T. and Hill. H. (2020). Managing sustainability in the fashion business: Evaluating challenges in product development for clothing longevity in the UK. Journal of Business Research 117, 629-641. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.07.021

Sung, K., Cooper, T., Oehlmann, J., Singh, J. and Mont, O. (2020). Multi-Stakeholder Perspectives on Scaling up UK Fashion Upcycling Businesses, Fashion Practice 12(3), 331-350. DOI: 10.1080/17569370.2019.1701398

Cooper, T. (2020). Slower Cycles: An essential characteristic of the circular economy. In: Eisenriegler, S. (ed.) The Circular Economy in the European Union: An interim review. Springer, pp.99-116. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-50239-3.

Cooper, T., Shapley, M. and Cole, C. (2020). Mobile Phone Waste and the Circular Economy. In: Ling, R., Fortunati, L., Goggin, G., Lim, S.S. and Li, Y. Oxford Handbook of Mobile Communication and Society, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.601-620.

See all of Tim Cooper's publications...

Press expertise

  • Product lifetimes
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Sustainable design
  • Environmental policy (product policy; waste reduction)
  • Environmental ethics