Jonathan is senior lecturer in the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research within Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester, England and was a founder director of MIoIR. Jonathan has a very varied career, as an economist - winning a Partnership Trust Award for innovative teaching in economics – and as an engineer, an innovation researcher and in environmental management. Jonathan Aylen was an Associate Editor of R&D Management 2014-2016. He was Conference Chair for the R&D Management Conference in 2013. He frequently broadcasts on steel and related industrial issues.
Jonathan is Chair of the Newcomen Society for the History of Engineering and Technology in the North-West of England, an elected member of their national Council and became Vice-Pesident of the Society in 2016. He is a former President of Manchester Statistical Society.
Jonathan’s current research focuses on four very diverse interdisciplinary areas: the management of R&D, the history of technology, wildfires and climate change.
He has won two “best paper” prizes - receiving the Williams Award of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining in 2007 for published work on time series forecasting with Kevin Albertson and an €1,000 award from Promote, the Centre for Management of Innovation in Process Industry in Luleå, Sweden for a paper on “Stretch” subsequently published in R&D Management in 2013.
A recent book on wide strip mill technology, Ribbon of Fire written with an Italian colleague, is about technology transfer from the USA to Europe. He retains his engineering interest in rolling technology and is a former member of the Bulk Metal Forming Committee, a technical committee of the Technology and Materials Science Division of IOM3. He advised the steel company, Corus (now Tata), for 18 years on forecasting, foresight, investment in new technology and knowledge management issues. He was a keynote speaker for international conferences on Mill Performance (2014) and on Rolls (2015).
His work on wildfires concentrates on the likelihood and consequences of fires. He has just completed a NERC funded project on Wildfire Threat led by Julia McMorrow (Geography, Manchester) working with the Forestry Commission to analyse the risk, spread and impact of wildfire. His research on wildfire work has helped inform policy and practice towards fire risk. Two jointly authored papers on wildfire have recently appeared in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, June 2016.
His latest work on weather and climate with Gina Cavan and Kevin Albertson has appeared in Climatic Change, following earlier published work in Climate Research and the Journal of Environmental Management.
His recent research on history looks at Cold War technology and at how the world went digital in areas such as missile guidance and process plant control. His latest papers published in 2015 and 2016 are on the technology of nuclear weapon design and contradict received wisdom on the issue.