As a researcher he is particularly interested in that specific set of challenges that we confront when interacting with technology. Technology is something that radically mediates how we interact with the physical, the social, the cultural worlds and of course the virtual. All of these aspects of life are part of our personal and shared ecological systems and need to be explored in constructive and holistic ways and they have an impact not only on our behavioural, cognitive and emotional states, but also on our sense of identity and agency.
With EU funding of €3,000,000 to date, Dr. Cooke has been principal investigator (PI) for several EU-funded projects from the FP-7 and H2020 framework programs on topics ranging from emergency and crisis management, law-enforcement and counter-terrorism, critical infrastructure protection, aviation and airport security, and peace building. Across all of these diverse domains there is the common thread of how we support the design, development, implementation, evaluation and improvement of technological and other tools so that they have a positive impact on our lives, as professionals and citizens. Current EU H2020 projects he is involved in are TRESSPASS on risk-based border security, ECHO on cybersecurity, and the forthcoming CREST on technologies to support law enforcement agents.
Dr Cooke employs a human activity-centred approach which means looking at the problems and solutions presented by design from the point of view of the human user, customer or stakeholder with regard to their real-world needs, motivations, and constraints. By taking a critical approach to the development of Concepts of Operations (CONOPS) to support design we can attempt to ensure that people are adequately represented in the design of developing and evolving solutions. This critical CONOPS approach combines empirical data and models with imagination to anticipate the future ecology of people living with technology in order to optimally design these solutions and anticipate potential issues.
A graduate of UCC he has also worked with the University of Limerick's Interaction Design Centre (IDC) and the Centre for Innovative Human Systems (CIHS) at Trinity College Dublin.