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Dr Peter Wood

Profile summary

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Professional biography

BA (Hons), Geography (Cantab)

MSc (Research Training) Environment, Science and Society (University College London)

PhD, Department of Geography, (The Open University), thesis entitled: “Creating City Cyclists; Understanding Why People Start, and Sometimes Stop, Cycling in South London”.

Recent Journal Publications

2015 Latham, A and Wood, P.R.H., Inhabiting infrastructure: exploring the interactional   spaces of urban cycling, Environment and Planning A, 47(2), pp300-319

2007 McAteer, H., Cosh, E., Freeman, G., Pandit, A., Wood, P. and Lilford, R., Cost-effectiveness analysis at the development phase of a potential health technology: examples based on tissue engineering of bladder and urethra. Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, 1, pp343–349

Book Chapters

2015 Latham, A and Wood, P.R.H., Inhabiting Infrastructure: explaining cycling's complexity, in Condie, J. and Cooper, A.M. (Eds.) Dialogues of Sustainable Urbanisation: Social Science Research and Transitions to Urban Contexts, Penrith: University of Western Sydney, pp110-114,

Research interests

Dr Wood is an Early Career Academic with personal research expertise in emerging forms of mobility, sustainability, civil organising, everyday transport and digital ways of life.

Wood’s research expertise focuses on behaviour change and mobility, in which the digital is treated as an increasingly ubiquitous part of contemporary ways of life. His work contributes to the development of social practice theory, particularly its capacity to analyse complex systems. In this framing, although individual parts – whether high-tech digital elements or low-tech bikes – can be introduced, removed or improved, the various outcomes can also be changed by reworking how each element is brought into systems of relations with the others.

Peter's work explores how existing senses or cultures of place, bodily competencies, socio-organisational networks and systems of mobility (complexes of transport modes, infrastructures and user activities or cultures) are affected by the introduction or reconfiguration of elements. This includes investigating how various governmental, private or civil society groups are using new digital tools for organising, communicating or learning, including their more offline aspects.

He has previously studyied the uptake of digital tools by grassroots pro-sustainable transport special-interest groups, and coordinated Southwark Council’s Cycling Joint Steering Group. Both of these are non-political, applied research and knowledge exchange roles. His research aims to develop a publicly engaged academic praxis that directly benefits from crossing in and out of the academy.

Teaching interests

Peter is an Associate Lecturer on social science and environmental modules at multiple levels. He currently teaches on DD102: Introducing the Social Sciences, DD105: Introduction to Criminology, DD308: Making Social Worlds, SDT306: Environment: Responding to Change. 

He has previously led informal learning projects on geography and environmental studies, on Brexit, and on short courses from multiple arts and social science disciplines.

Impact and engagement

Dr Wood has significant experience of knowledge co-production and exchange; has previously carried out a commercial scoping review linked to HM Treasury’s Comprehensive Spending Review; and has carried out academic fundraising or assisting in grant-bidding from a variety of commercial, RCUK and charitable funders. Of particular relevance to his research interests, Dr Wood is experienced in identifying how targeted, strategic investment by a funder could draw in non-academic partners, differentiate itself from other sources of funding, and deliver demonstrable social effects.

His postdoctoral work for the Open University (OU) has involved being the Senior Project Manager for Arts and Social Science Short Courses, the Dissemination and Profiling Manager for the interdisciplinary Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance, and consulting for various research grants. He has supported academics to write funding applications from multiple social science disciplines. A three month secondment to the Campaign for Better Transport (2015)  has given him experience of carrying out a comprehensive scoping review of governmental funding for transport. This included reviewing the Department for Business Innovation and Skills’ funding and structures for supporting innovation, such as the Catapults, What Works Centres and RCUK; the opportunities opening up through devolution to the UK’s nations, Combined Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships; and skills/productivity aspects of behaviour change programmes funded by the Department for Transport or Local Authorities. Many of these involve personal digital tools to support workplace or individual travel planning, and the increasing addition of digital elements to vehicles and infrastructure systems.

External collaborations

Dr Wood has significant experience of working intersectorally, and in working with diverse networks of knowledge co-production, exchange and research impact. He is the Coordinator of Southwark Council’s Cycling Joint Steering Group, which is attended by cabinet members and senior council officers, along with representatives from the Metropolitan Police Service, local Business Improvement Districts, walking, cycling, disabled mobility and road traffic justice groups. He was an invited attendee at the Cycle Security Expert Workshop, organised by Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police Service to “develop a multi-agency action plan for further reducing cycle theft” (2014); and had written evidence cited by the Greater London Authority Transport Committee’s report “Gearing up; An investigation into safer cycling in London” (2012). In relation to UK government priorities in skills development, he has given an invited presentation to the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Westminster Briefing conference on Cycle Security (2015). At the OU he has investigated the legal status and practicalities of delivering CPD-certified educational assets and seminars, including with Trades Unions and via Union Learning Representatives, to develop new ways of delivering research-based vocational skills-training.

Wood's doctoral training in Geography included a significant period as a Visiting Research Scholar in an overseas sociology department. His conference presentations have been at a variety of international social science, arts, humanities, and engineering forums.


Inhabiting infrastructure: exploring the interactional spaces of urban cycling (2015-03-23)
Latham, Alan and Wood, Peter R. H.
Environment and Planning A, 47(2) (pp. 300-319)