Dr Stephen Cox

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Doctor of Philosophy (University of Queensland)

Stephen Cox completed a PhD in social psychology at the University of Queensland. After completing the PhD, he owned and operated a statistical consulting company. Since returning to academia, research interests have been on the functioning of global value chains, having published papers on the digital video game industry, and the mining industry.

His current research focus is on the functioning of technological innovation systems within the clean energy, biorefining, biofuels and mining industries.  This research examines the innovation processes necessary for the development and diffusion of system changing technologies.

I am seeking research students (either MPhil or PhD) wanting to undertake research into the innovation systems that support society wide technological innovations and subsequent industrial development. For example, Australia, like many countries, is attempting to develop new industries in clean energy. For each of these, the pathway from innovation to a viable, self-sustaining industry is difficult. I am interested in exploring the barriers that prevent successful development of the innovation system in which each technology operates.

  • The development of a bioplastics industry.
    • Most plastics are manufactured from petroleum. Bioplastics technology has developed, but are still economically uncompetitive, limiting their consumer uptake.
    • What technology, industry and policy settings inhibit or induce the development and expansion of a bioplastics industry?
  • Battery industries, with industry opportunities ranging from:
    • extraction focused activities;
    • innovations and industry development in mineral processing within Australia, rather exporting bulk raw minerals;
    • local battery manufacturing;
    • recycling of batteries – a growing major concern for batteries.
  • A hydrogen fuel industry that allows low or no emission energy.
    • Hydrogen can be used a fuel source,. There are multiple possible approaches to manufacturing hydrogen.¬†Each technology has its own, interrelated innovation system. And each has its own barriers. What are these barriers and how can they be reduced? What can be done to increase the development of clean production technologies rather than high emission approaches?
      • If manufactured cleanly using hydrolysis and renewable energy, hydrogen can be a low or no emission fuel source.
      • If manufactured by coal gasification, then carbon capture and storage is required to deal with the emissions.
  • Decarbonisation of existing industries, such as the mining industry.
    • For example, batteries require mining of many rare metals, but mining is energy intensive. How can mines decarbonise their own activities, so that even if we have emission free transport, the mineral extraction and processing technologies use clean energy?
    • How can the mining industry intersect with the clean energy innovation systems to assist with decarbonisation?

Thus I am seeking research students interested in these sorts of problems.


Additional information

After completing my PhD, I started a statistical consulting company. I provide advice and undertook statistical analyses for corporate clients, and university researchers who required advanced statistical support.

Eventually I was ‘in-sourced’ back into academia as a methods and statistical adviser within the QUT Business School.

A profitable future for Australian agriculture: Biorefineries for higher-value animal feeds, chemicals, and fuels (RnD4Profit 14-01-044) (4207)
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
Start year
Agriculture;Bioproducts;Biorefinery;Diversification;Value Chain
  • Intersection between clean energy innovation systems and decarbonisation in mining
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Jan Henrik Gruenhagen
  • Mining, an industry in transition: an assessment of sustainability transition frameworks and their effectiveness in the context of the mining industries transition to "decarbonise" and manage global warming
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Jan Henrik Gruenhagen
  • Hydrogen fuel adoption in the (on-road) heavy-duty truck market of Australia: A technological innovation systems analysis.
    MPhil, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Jan Henrik Gruenhagen