Liz Cooper


  • EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile


Before moving into academia, I gained over ten years of practitioner experience in sustainable development and responsible business, working on sustainable production and consumption in different ways. I enjoy working across different disciplines, sectors, and cultures, to take a comprehensive approach to sustainability.
I worked in the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Edinburgh as Research and Policy Manager, on socially responsible supply chains and procurement, responsible investment, circular economy, and the university as a Living Lab. Before that, I worked in various roles in international and local non-governmental organisations in Senegal and India for four years, on sustainable and fair trade value chains.

Research interests

Areas of expertise
My areas of expertise are sustainability in organisations (environmental and social) and qualitative analysis of interactions using discursive psychology. I have specific knowledge of product and supply chain sustainability, in product development/design and public procurement.
Research interests
I am particularly interested in studying conversations in business and organisation settings in which sustainability factors are discussed, for example in workplace meetings. I am interested in understanding micro discursive aspects of decision-making and social influence related to sustainability strategy.
Research methods expertise
I have experience of collecting and analysing recordings of naturally occurring discussions, and conducting and analysing semi-structured interviews. I developed experience in discursive psychology to analyse talk-in-interaction during my PhD. I have also conducted thematic analysis when collaborating on other research projects. 
Disciplinary intersections
My research spans several disciplines. I currently draw on discursive social psychology to understand sustainable business phenomena, including design and engineering decision-making, and sustainability management.
Research collaborations
I am seeking new collaborations with engineering and design scholars and practitioners, and with sustainability professionals, to study decision-making and influence through analysing conversations.
Funded projects
Economic and Social Research Council postdoctoral fellowship (£108,875) ‘Developing the contribution of discursive psychology to sustainable business and circular economy research’, grant number ES/Y009916/1. (2023-2024)
Principal’s Career Development Scholarship to fund PhD research ‘Navigating expectations for sustainable product design: a discursive psychology analysis of designers’ accounts’ (2019-2022)
Key role in successful funding bid to EU Commission for 3-year research project (Make ICT Fair) and recruitment of research fellow (€3,885,000) (2017-2020)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


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