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Dr Sally Caird

Profile summary

Professional biography

Dr. Sally Caird, Senior Lecturer ‘Technological Innovation and Sustainability, BA (Hons) MEd PhD FHEA.

Sally joined The Open University (OU) first as Teaching Fellow in 1991, then as Research Fellow,  later completing a doctorate on the management of innovation products and processes in 1996. Before joining The OU, Sally worked in various research and teaching roles mainly focused on innovation and entrepreneurship at Durham University and the University of Stirling.  Subsequently, as OU Research Fellow she carried out research in areas including the adoption and use of low carbon energy systems in residential buildings and the design of sustainable higher education teaching models. Her research interests address sociotechnical issues associated with the design, evaluation and impact of low carbon products and systems in built environments, and a current focus is the evaluation of smart city innovation programmes.

Sally became Lecturer in ‘Technological Innovation and Sustainability’ in the School of Engineering and Innovation in 2017 and a Senior Lecturer in 2019. She is Production Chair of TB801 'Technology and Innovation Management '  2019-2021, also lead-authoring several blocks of module materials, including Block 1 'Technology and innovation management fundamentals', Block 5 'Defining and evaluating added value' and Block 6 'Innovation Strategy'. She also took on a significant role in the production of T803 'Research in Context'  2022-2023, as lead-author of Block 2 'Research design and delivery' and Block 3 'Research analysis and reporting'. 

As well as working on OU module production, she has worked as Module Presentation Chair for the postgraduate capstone module T847 ' The MSc Professional Project' , and currently is Presentation Chair of the modules  TB801 'Technology and Innovation Management ' and  T319 'Environmental Management 2'. She also works on the module presentation teams for the postgraduate modules T849 ' Strategic Capabilities for Technological Innovation' and T803 'Research in Context'.  She is the OU-Lead on the University Alliance Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA3) PhD Fellowship programme beginning in 2018, funded by the EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie (MSC) COFUND scheme.

Research interests

Sally's research interests lie in innovation and sustainable development. Her research interests address sociotechnical issues associated with the design, evaluation and impact of low carbon products and systems in built environments, and a current focus is the evaluation of smart city innovation programmes. Her research encompasses social, environmental and economic themes, spans different stakeholder perspectives, and involves collaborations with the public and private sector.

Sally has strong interests in designing and developing research-informed open educational resources and tools derived from her research. This includes: the OpenLearn teaching course 'Introducing Technology and Innovation Management', the OpenLearn course unit ‘The environmental impact of teaching and learning’‘Postcards from the Future’ ecoquiz accompanying the BBC/OU Coast series. It also includes the popular online, open educational website, with the General Enterprising Tendency (GET) test, which has nearly 2,000 users per month and has been widely adopted by over 80 institutions across over 30 countries for education, research, development and training.

For more details on the research projects:

2018- 2024 University Alliance DTA3 programme –  Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) in Energy, Applied Biosciences for Health and Social Policy (DTA3) PhD Fellowship programme funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND scheme

2014 SmartDframe (OU Smart Cities Open Challenge Competition funding linked to the OU flagship MK:Smart initiative). This examines city approaches to the evaluation of smart city projects and programmes and their outcomes for cities and citizens. This led to the report  A Tale of Evaluation and Reporting in UK Smart Cities which includes an analysis of smart city case studies in the UK – Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Milton Keynes and Peterborough. 

2011-2013 SusTEACH (Sustainable Tools for the Environmental Appraisal of the Carbon Impacts of Higher Education (HE) Teaching Models using ICTs) (Jisc-funded). This features analysis of environmental audit data gathered via online surveys and energy databases to analyse carbon impacts of 30 HE courses in 15 HE institutions, and examine the transformative impact of ICTs on sustainability, plus development of online tools. This led to the ‘Green Gown Award 2012 - Research & Development Finalist’. Several research papers followed, including a research paper published in International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, which was selected as Winner of the ‘Outstanding Paper Award in the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2016.’ This work also led to a publication in The Conversation, with the article ‘'Plug the university finance gap by turning teaching greener’, which contributed to debate on financial sustainability of England’s Higher Education System.

2008 -2011 Heat Pump Field Trial User Evaluation (HE Innovation Fund/Carbon Connections and EST funded): features investigation of UK domestic user experiences and influence on heat pump performance. Data sources included user questionnaires, focus groups, buildings energy performance assessments, and monitored technology performance. Consortium included 3 government departments; 7 energy suppliers and 7 manufacturers.

2009- 2011 U-STIR Sustainable Surface Transport (U-STIR, FP7 funded): features workshops and customer engagement to support infrastructure for Low Carbon Electric Vehicles in UK, and contributed surface transport innovation case studies with partners in 7 European countries.

2007-2008 Household Adoption and Use of Microgeneration heat (HE Innovation Fund/Carbon Connections and EST): features online surveys with 900+ consumers to investigate household adoption, non-adoption and experience of using solar thermal, heat pump and biomass heating systems.

2004--2006 People-centred Ecodesign (OU funded): features interviews and online surveys on consumer adoption, non-adoption of low carbon technologies, including insulation, energy efficient lighting, solar thermal and photovoltaic systems and micro-wind turbines. Collaboration with the National Energy Foundation, EST, Energy Agency and the BBC.

2001-2005 Household Ecological Footprints (OU funded): features data analysis of over 1,000 households using EcoCal software to determine ecological footprint based on transport, energy, waste, water and food consumption.

Teaching interests

Sally's teaching at The Open University has supported the following modules:

Impact and engagement

Sally's research has contributed to curriculum development in HE modules, OpenLearn, public education resources, external enterprise and innovation programmes, and to government consultations. She has designed and developed research-informed open educational resources, including:

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Design GroupGroupFaculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology


Externally funded projects

Extended University Alliance Doctoral Training Alliance in Energy, Applied Biosciences for Health & Social Policy
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Sep 201831 Aug 2023EC (European Commission): FP (inc. Horizon Europe, H2020, ERC)

The Open University is a partner on the successful bid for the ‘Extended University Alliance Doctoral Training Alliances (DTAs) in Energy, Applied Biosciences for Health and Social Policy - called The DTA3 PhD Fellowship programme, funded by the European Commission (EC) under the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND scheme and coordinated by the University Alliance. This is a multi-institutional and multidisciplinary doctoral training collaboration across UK universities. The DTA3 programme involves a partnership of 15 UK universities participating in the 3 DTAs, which provides funding opportunities for up to 83 MSC DTA3 COFUND PhD Fellows to undertake doctoral research. The OU’s contribution will address the Alliance DTA Energy objectives to develop an international cohort of researchers with doctoral-level knowledge in an aspect of an energy technology and/or use, coupled with a wider appreciation of energy policy, economics, and environmental impacts. Alliance DTA3 researchers will also be equipped with an ability to communicate these issues to decision makers in Government and business, and the wider public. Alliance DTA3 energy graduates will have a strong sense of energy citizenship and their role in tackling the global ‘energy trilemma’ of energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability. The OU will offer three PhD Fellowships through the UK Energy DTA and is not currently involved with the Alliance DTAs in Applied Biosciences for Health and Social Policy. The Alliance DTA3 training environment will be focused on industry relevance, supporting the researchers’ progression into a wide number of careers and sectors after the completion of their PhD. Working with the UK's national Knowledge Transfer Network, Alliance DTA3 doctoral researchers will have the opportunity to undertake, as part of their PhD programme, an industrial placement in a relevant company. The Alliance DTA3 programme will extend significantly the international reach and impact by internationalising the cohort of students and strengthening and deepening ties with researchers in the European Union through established networks with European Universities and Australia through the Australian Technology Network of Universities. This will be enabled through opportunities to participate in international placements. The Alliance DTA3 researchers will be supervised and supported by academics based in universities across the UK. A centralised recruitment process has been designed to provide assurance for quality and independence in the recruitment of two cohorts of early-stage researchers to undertake their doctoral research studies in the appropriate Alliance university. The EC-funded DTA3 PhD Fellowship programme commenced on 1st September 2018 and will continue for five years until 2023.


Towards evaluation design for smart city development (2018-04-30)
Caird, Sally P. and Hallett, Stephen H.
Journal of Urban Design, 24(2) (pp. 188-209)

City approaches to smart city evaluation and reporting: case studies in the United Kingdom (2018)
Caird, Sally
Urban Research and Practice, 11(2) (pp. 159-179)

Soil-Net - Development and impact of an innovative, open, online soil science educational resource (2017-05)
Hallett, Stephen H. and Caird, Sally P.
Soil Science, 182(5) (pp. 188-201)

Design of higher education teaching models and carbon impacts (2015-01-05)
Caird, Sally; Lane, Andy; Swithenby, Ed; Roy, Robin and Potter, Stephen
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 16(1) (pp. 96-111)

The potential social, economic and environmental benefits of MOOCs: operational and historical comparisons with a massive ‘closed online’ course (2014-04)
Lane, Andy; Caird, Sally and Weller, Martin
Open Praxis, 6(2) (pp. 115-123)

Conceptualising the role of Information and Communication Technologies in the design of higher education teaching models used in the UK (2013-12-05)
Caird, Sally and Lane, Andrew
British Journal of Educational Technology, 46(1) (pp. 58-70)

Diffusion, user experiences and performance of UK domestic heat pumps (2013-11-30)
Roy, Robin and Caird, Sally
Energy Science and Technology, 6(2) (pp. 14-23)

The Open2-Innova8ion tool - a software tool for rating organisational innovation performance (2013)
Caird, Sally; Hallett, Stephen and Potter, Stephen
Technovation: The International Journal of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Technology Management, 33(10-11) (pp. 381-385)

The FuturICT education accelerator (2012-10)
Johnson, J.; Buckingham Shum, S.; Willis, A.; Bishop, S.; Zamenopoulos, T.; Swithenby, S.; MacKay, R.; Merali, Y.; Lorincz, A.; Costea, C.; Bourgine, P.; Louçã, J.; Kapenieks, A.; Kelly, P.; Caird, S.; Bromley, J.; Deakin Crick, R.; Goldspink, C.; Collet, P.; Carbone, A. and Helbing, D.
European Physical Journal - Special Topics, 214 (pp. 215-243)

Domestic heat pumps in the UK: user behaviour, satisfaction and performance (2012)
Caird, Sally; Roy, Robin and Potter, Stephen
Energy Efficiency, 5(3) (pp. 283-301)

Adoption and use of household microgeneration heat technologies (2010-12)
Caird, Sally and Roy, Robin
Low Carbon Economy, 1(2) (pp. 61-70)

Who adopts microheating technologies? (2009-10)
Roy, Robin and Caird, Sally
Green Building Magazine, 19(2) (pp. 44-47)

Design Improvements from users’ experiences of low and zero carbon technologies (2008-10)
Roy, Robin and Caird, Sally
International Journal of Performability Engineering, 4(4) (pp. 357-370)

User-centred improvements to energy efficiency products and renewable energy systems: research on household adoption and use (2008-09)
Caird, Sally and Roy, Robin
International Journal of Innovation Management, 12(3) (pp. 327-355)

Improving the energy performance of UK households: Results from surveys of consumer adoption and use of low- and zero-carbon technologies (2008-05)
Caird, Sally; Roy, Robin and Herring, Horace
Energy Efficiency, 1(2) (pp. 149-166)

Household ecological footprints - demographics and sustainability (2006-12)
Caird, Sally and Roy, Robin
Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, 8(4) (pp. 407-429)

Household ecological footprints – moving towards sustainability? (2001-10)
Roy, Robin and Caird, Sally
Town and Country Planning, 70(10) (pp. 277-279)

Environmental actions to reduce household ecological footprints (2001-06)
Roy, Robin and Caird, Sally
International Journal of Environmental Education and Information, 4(2) (pp. 315-332)

Team approaches to developing innovative projects and processes (1997-12)
Caird, Sally; Roy, Robin and Wield, David
International Journal of Innovation Management, 1(4) (pp. 333-354)

Problems Experienced by Engineers with Environmental Product Development Projects (1994-06)
Caird, Sally; Roy, Robin and Wield, David
Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 6(2) (pp. 177-188)

How important is the innovator for the commercial success of innovative products in SMEs? (1994)
Caird, Sally
Technovation, 14(2) (pp. 71-83)

How do award winners come up with innovative ideas? (1994)
Caird, Sally
Creativity and Innovation Management, 3(1) (pp. 3-10)

What do psychological tests suggest about entrepreneurs? (1993)
Caird, Sally
Journal of Managerial Psychology, 8(6) (pp. 11-20)

Testing enterprising tendency in occupational groups (1991-12)
Caird, Sally
British Journal of Management, 2(4) (pp. 177-186)

The enterprising tendency of occupational groups (1991)
Caird, Sally
International Small Business Journal, 9(4) (pp. 75-81)

Self assessments of participants on enterprise training courses (1991)
Caird, Sally
British Journal of Education and Work, 4(3) (pp. 63-80)

What does it mean to be enterprising? (1990-09)
Caird, Sally
British Journal of Management, 1(3) (pp. 137-145)

Enterprise competencies: an agenda for research (1990)
Caird, Sally
Journal of European Industrial Training, 14(7) (pp. 3-8)

Enterprise education: the need for differentiation (1990)
Caird, Sally
British Journal of Education and Work, 4(1) (pp. 47-57)

Measurement and Evaluation of Smart City Outcomes for Smarter Governance (2019-10-25)
Caird, S. P.
In: Nuttall, W.; Gibson, D.; Ibarra-Yunez, A. and Trzmielak, D. eds. Energy and Mobility in Smart Cities (pp. 167-185)
ISBN : 9780727764256 | Publisher : Institution of Civil Engineers Publishing, UK

Sustainable Higher Education Systems (2019)
Caird, S. and Roy, R.
In: Leal Filho, W. ed. Encyclopaedia of Sustainability and Higher Education
Publisher : Springer, Cham

Blended Learning and Sustainable Development (2018)
Caird, S. and Roy, R.
In: Leal Filho, W. ed. Encyclopaedia of Sustainability and Higher Education
ISBN : 978-3-319-63951-2 | Publisher : Springer, Cham

Greening Higher Education qualification programmes with online learning (2014)
Caird, Sally; Lane, Andrew and Swithenby, Edward
In: Leal Filho, W.; Azeiteiro, U. and Caeiro, S. eds. E-learning and sustainability. Umweltbildung, Umweltkommunikation und Nachhaltigkeit - Environmental Education, Communication and Sustainability (pp. 105-116)
ISBN : 978-3-631-62693-1 | Publisher : Peter Lang Scientific Publishers | Published : Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien

ICTs and the design of sustainable higher education teaching models: an environmental assessment of UK courses (2013-11-30)
Caird, Sally; Lane, Andrew and Swithenby, Ed
In: Caeiro, S.; Leal Filho, W.; Jabbour, C. J. C. and Azeiteiro, U. M. eds. Sustainability Assessment Tools in Higher Education – Mapping Trends and Good Practices at Universities round the World (pp. 375-386)
ISBN : 978-3-319-02374-8 | Publisher : Springer International Publishing | Published : Cham, Switzerland

Yes in my back yard: UK householders pioneering technologies (2010-10)
Caird, Sally and Roy, Robin
In: Devine-Wright, Patrick ed. Renewable Energy and the Public (pp. 203-219)
ISBN : 978-1-84407-863-9 | Publisher : Earthscan | Published : London

People centred eco-design: consumer adoption of low and zero carbon products and systems (2007-01)
Roy, Robin; Caird, Sally and Potter, Stephen
In: Murphy, Joseph ed. Governing Technology for Sustainability (pp. 41-62)
ISBN : 1844073459 | Publisher : Earthscan | Published : London, UK

Communication on Smart City Evaluation and Reporting In UK cities: Pilots, Demos and Experiments Case (2017-01-19)
Caird, S.; Hudson, L. and Kortuem, G.
In : First International Smart Cities in Smart Regions Conference 2016 (10-12 May 2016, Lahti, Finland) (pp. 20-28)

Designing low and zero carbon products and systems: improvements based on consumers’ experience of adoption and use (2007-08-28)
Roy, Robin and Caird, Sally
In : International Conference on Engineering Design ICED'07, Design for Society: Knowledge, innovation and sustainability (28-30 Aug 2007, Paris, France)

Can consumers save energy? Results from surveys of consumer adoption and use of low and zero carbon technologies (2007-06)
Caird, Sally; Herring, Horace and Roy, Robin
In : European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy Summer Study 2007 (4-5 Jun 2007, La Colle sur Loup, Côte d’Azur, France)

Designing low and zero carbon products and systems – adoption, effective use and innovation (2006-10-23)
Roy, Robin and Caird, Sally
In : Sustainable Innovation 06: 11th International Conference (23-24 Oct 2006, Chicago, USA)

An environmental assessment activity to promote active distance learning and challenge of personal lifestyles and values (2001)
Crompton, Sally; Caird, Sally and Roy, Robin
In : 6th International auDES Conference: Bridging Minds and Markets. Emerging Issues in Environmental Education and Employment in Europe (5-7 Apr 2001, Venice, Italy)

Team approaches to developing innovative products and processes (1996)
Caird, Sally Patricia
PhD thesis The Open University

A Tale of Evaluation and Reporting in UK Smart Cities (2016-04-01)
Caird, Sally; Hudson, Lorraine and Kortuem, Gerd
The Open University

The SusTEACH Methodology: Assessment of the environmental impacts of Higher Education Teaching Models and development of an Environmental Appraisal toolkit (2015)
Caird, Sally; Swithenby, Edward and Lane, Andrew
The Open University

Plug the university finance gap by turning teaching greener (2014-11-25)
Caird, Sally
The Conversation, London.

SusTEACH at the Open University (2013-01-15)
Caird, Sally; Lane, Andrew; Potter, Stephen and Sackett, Mike
The Open University

General measure of Enterprising Tendency test (2013)
Caird, Sally

Getting warmer: a field trial of heat pumps (2010-09)
Roy, Robin; Caird, Sally and Potter, Stephen
The Energy Saving Trust, London, UK.

Heat pump user experiences, behaviour and satisfaction (2010-07)
Caird, Sally; Roy, Robin and Potter, Stephen
The Open University Design Innovation Group, Milton Keynes UK.

YIMBY Generation – yes in my back yard! UK householders pioneering microgeneration heat (2008-06-04)
Roy, Robin; Caird, Sally and Abelman, Jennie
The Energy Saving Trust, London, UK.

Consumer adoption of household energy efficiency measures (2007-12)
Caird, Sally; Roy, Robin; Potter, Stephen and Herring, Horace
Design Innovation Group, The Open University

Consumer adoption and use of household renewable energy technologies (2007-12)
Caird, Sally; Roy, Robin; Potter, Stephen and Herring, Horace
Design Innovation Group, The Open University

Climate Change: the citizen's agenda Evidence to Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (2007-09)
Roy, Robin and Caird, Sally
The Stationery Office, London, UK.

Postcards from the Future (2005)
Caird, Sally and Hallett, S., Milton Keynes, UK.