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Professor Chris Preist

Professor Chris Preist

Professor Chris Preist
BSc, MSc

Professor of Sustainability & Computer Systems

Office 3.30
Merchant Venturers Building,
Woodland Road, Clifton BS8 1UB
(See a map)

+44 (0) 1173315105


The main focus of my research currently is on the following:

  • The application of digital technology (particularly social computing and mobile technology) to engage communities around environmental and social sustainability.
  • The role of gamification techniques and social norm theories in such engagement (and, more broadly, in crowdsourcing and citizen science), and the analysis of the interaction between competitive and contributional motivations of participants.
  • Environmental impact of digital technology, and more broadly consumer electronic goods. Particularly the understanding of user behaviour and how this affects such impacts. The role of interface design on influencing user behaviour with regard to environmental impacts.
  • Life Cycle Assessment techniques applied to end-to-end digital products and services. Representation of uncertainty within such analyses, particularly with regard to user choices and behaviour in the system.

My secondary interests are:

  • The integration of life cycle analysis and carbon footprinting techniques into broader systemic models of sustainability impact.
  • Agent-based simulation of socio-economic systems, particularly those with environmental implications, (For example, tragedy-of-the-commons problems) and exploration of the impact of alternative social and economic interventions in such systems.
  • The role of computer technology within the wider socio-technical systems emerging to address climate change and other sustainability issues.
  • The interplay between technology innovation, business models and sustainability impacts, particularly in the commercial publishing industry.


In addition to his post at Bristol University, Chris Preist is an Associate of Forum for the Future, faculty member of the WWF One Planet Leaders programme and a freelance consultant in innovation and sustainability.

Prior to joining Bristol, he was Head of Sustainable IT Research at HP Labs, Bristol from 2007-09, where he led work on the strategic impact of climate change on business and technology development to exploit emerging opportunities. Prior to this, his research was primarily in the areas of artificial intelligence, knowledge representation, agent technology, and the semantic web. He was the technical lead on the EU Framework 5 Semantic Web-based Web Services project, coordinating input from over 20 researchers across 8 insitutions,  and chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Framework 6 DIP project. His work in the application of artificial intelligence techniques to automated diagnosis led to the deployment of several systems within HP manufacturing facilities and the development of an award winning product (Agilent Fault Detective).

He has a degree in Mathematics from Warwick University, and a Ph.D. in Semantics of Logic Programming from Imperial College, London. He has had over 40 publications in refereed conferences and journals, and 6 patents granted.


  • computer technology
  • carbon footprinting techniques

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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