Professor Lars Coenen


Lars Coenen joined MSSI in January 2017 as the inaugural ‘City of Melbourne Chair of Resilient Cities’, an initiative between the City of Melbourne and University of Melbourne aimed at improving the city’s resilience to sustainability challenges.

Working closely with the city’s chief resilience officer, Lars seeks to strengthen Melbourne’s role as a leader in knowledge based urban resilience, leverage opportunities to attract research funding and provide a new model for collaborative research.

Lars is an interdisciplinary scholar cross-cutting the fields of innovation studies, economic geography and science and technology studies. His research interests converge around the geography of innovation:
- Why is it that some regions and cities in the world stand out in their ability to foster and diffuse novelty? - What explains this spatial concentration of innovation in an era of globalization? - How can regions and cities improve their capacity to innovate?
In particular he is interested in addressing this broad set of questions on innovations related to pressing societal challenges such as climate change.

His work has been published in leading international journals such as Research Policy, Environment and Planning A and Economic Geography. He is well-known for pioneering research on the geography of sustainability transitions. His paper ‘Environmental Innovation and Sustainability Transitions in Regional Studies’ has been awarded the 2013 best paper award in Regional Studies (co-authored with Bernhard Truffer). He has extensive experience in securing external funding and collaboration in national and international research projects financed by e.g. the JPU Urban Europe, European Framework 7 Program and Nordic Energy Research.

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