Contact Professor Peter Allen


Peter has a PhD in Theoretical Physics, was a Royal Society European Research Fellow 1969 - 1971 and a Senior Research Fellow at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles from 1972 - 1987, where he worked with Nobel Laureate, Ilya Prigogine. He then took up a Chair at Cranfield University where he ran a Research Centre in Ecotechnology and later founded the Complex Systems Research Centre.

For over 40 years Peter has been working on the mathematical modelling of change and innovation in social, economic, financial and ecological systems, and the development of integrated systems models linking the physical, ecological and socio-economic aspects of complex systems as a basis for improved decision support systems. A range of dynamic integrated models has been developed in such diverse domains as industrial networks, supply chains, river catchments, urban and regional development, fisheries and also economic and financial markets. He has written and edited several books and published well over 200 articles in a range of fields including ecology, social science, urban and regional science, economics, systems theory, and physics. He has been a consultant to the Cambridge Econometrics, the Asian Development Bank, the Canadian Fishing Industry, Elf Aquitaine, BT, GlaxoSmithKline, DERA, DSTL, the United Nations University, and the European Commission.  

Current activities

Peter is currently working with Prof Liz Varga on the EPSRC-funded OPTEMIN Research Project, a collaborative UK project which is taking a whole systems approach to the optimisation of energy management in industry.

He is Editor in Chief of the journal Emergence: Complexity and Organisation.


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers

  • Varga L, Allen PM & Strathern M (2010) Modeling the Growth of Distributed Energy Generation: Part I the approach. In: European Conference on Complex Systems (ECCS), Lisbon University Institute, 12 September 2010.
  • Varga L, Allen P, Strathern M, Rose-Anderssen C, Baldwin J & Ridgway K (2009) Towards Policy for Firm and Supply Network Coevolution: a Study of Commercial Aerospace Manufacturing. In: ECCS09, Coventry.
  • Datta P, Strathern M & Allen P (2008) An agent based model to study the effectiveness of resilience enablers in a supply chain. In: Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 2008, Anaheim, 8 August 2008.
  • Varga L, Allen P, Strathern M, Rose-Anderssen C, Baldwin J & Ridgway K (2008) An Ecological Perspective on Supply Networks. In: 4th Organization Studies Workshop, Cyprus.
  • Allen P (2007) Complexity, innovation and organizational form. In: ERIMA 07: European Symposium on Innovative Management Practices, Biarritz.
  • Allen P (2007) Evolutionary models of changing spatial dynamics: complexity and networks. In: Framing Land Use Dynamics II International Conference, Utrecht.
  • Allen P (2007) Complexity and security: Evolving social systems. In: NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Complexity and Security, Tbilisi.
  • Lichtenstein B, Allen P, Anderson P, McKelvey B & Rivkin J (2007) Toward a theory of complexity for management. In: Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Philadelphia.
  • Boulton J & Allen P (2007) The complex face of God. In: 3rd International Conference on Complexity and Philosophy, Stellenbosch.
  • Butler M & Allen P (2007) Managing the complexity of implementation - linking receprivity to complex systems. In: IRSPM XI, Potsdam.
  • Allen P (2006) Complexity: The challenge of a co-evolving epistemology and ontology. In: 2nd International Nonlinear Science Conference, Heraklion.
  • Varga L, Allen P, Strathern M, Baldwin J & Rose-Anderssen C (2006) Complexity and the evolution of supply chain structures. In: EIASM Workshop on Complexity and Management, 2006, Oxford, 19 June 2003.
  • Datta P, Christopher M & Allen P (2006) A multi-agent model for a complexity supply chain: The case of a paper tissue manufacturer. In: EIASM Workshop on Complexity and Management, 2006, Oxford, 19 June 2003.
  • Allen P (2006) Complexity, co-evolving knowledge, intentions and business reality. In: BIOPoM Conference 'Future Challenges and Current Issues in Business Information, Organisation and Process Management', London.
  • Datta P, Christopher M & Allen P (2006) Agent based modelling of complex production distribution systems to improve resilience. In: Logistics Research Network Conference 2006.
  • Datta P & Allen P (2005) Supply chain resilience - analysis of a distribution network model under changing scenarios. In: 2005 POMS OM Frontiers: Winds of Change Conference, Chicago.
  • Allen P (2005) The complexity trap: reconciling systems and complexity practice. In: Systems Thinking for Managing Complexity meeting, Oxford.
  • Allen P (2005) How complexity theory can help us to enhance the research agenda of the built environment. In: Complexity, Science and Society Conference, Liverpool.
  • Allen P (2004) Managing or muddling through - who knows?. In: Inquiries and Indicies: Managing Emergence, Complexity and Organization Conference, Washington.
  • Allen P (2004) The implications of complexity for strategic management. In: Complexity Science and the Exploration of the Emerging World Workshop, University of Texas.
  • Allen P (2004) The complexity of integrated modelling: Transport and urban evolution. In: Networks for Mobility International Symposium, Stuttgart.
  • Datta P & Allen P (2004) Supply chain reslience - a complex systems perspective. In: Association of Indian Management Scholars (AIMS) International Scholars, Calcutta.
  • Allen P (2004) Complexity: the implications for science and society. In: STEP 2004, Brisbane.
  • Allen P, Baldwin J, Ridgway K & Winder B (2003) Simulating the Complex Cladistic Evolution of Manufacturing. In: ASEAT/IofIIR Conference on Industrial Ecology, Manchester.
  • Allen P, Strathern M & Baldwin J (2003) Computational Social Science: Modelling Evolution and Emergence in Social Systems. In: Inaugual Conference on Computational Social Sciences, Fairfax, VA.
  • Allen P & Strathern M (2003) Models of self organisation and evolution in socio-economic systems. In: The Modelling of Self-Organisation in Economics Conference, Paris.
  • Allen P, Rose-Anderssen C, Strathern M & Baldwin J (2003) Complexity: the evolution of strategy and structure. In: New Approaches to Strategic Management Conference, Ostuni, Italy.
  • Allen P (2002) Evolution, Emergence and Learning in Complex Systems. In: Manufacturing Complexity Network Conference, Cambridge.
  • Allen P & Strathern M (2002) The end of two cultures: understanding social and economic systems in terms of evolutionary complexity. In: Workshop in honour of Ilya Prigogine's 85th birthday.
  • Allen P (1999) Knowledge, Ignorance and the Evolution of Complex Systems. In: Evolutionary Economics Conference, Brisbane.
  • Gillies J, Allen P & Fan I-S (1998) Self-organising supply chain networks: the Italian garment industry. In: 1st UK National Complexity Conference, Warwick.


  • Boulton JG, Allen PM & Bowman C (2015) Embracing Complexity: Strategic Perspectives for an Age of Turbulence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Allen Peter, Strathern Mark, Varga & Elizabeth (2010) Complexity: The Evolution of Identity and Diversity. In: Complexity, Difference and Identity. Cilliers Paul, Preiser Rika (ed.), Heidelberg London New York: Springer, p. 41-60.
  • Allen P (2008) Complexity: 5 Questions. In: Complexity: 5 Questions. Gershenson C (ed.), Automatic Press/VIP, p. 1-4.
  • Allen P (2008) Complexity, Evolution and Organizational Behaviour. In: Chaos and Complexity in Psychology: Theory of Nonlinear Dynamical Systems. Guastello S, Koopmans M, Pincus D (ed.), New York: Cambridge University Press, p. 452-474.
  • Allen P (2008) Complexity and Emergent Temporal Structure. In: Temporal Structures and Observer Perspectives. Simultaneity. Vrobel S, Roessler O, Marks-Tarlow T (ed.), Singapore: World Scientific, p. 150-181.
  • Allen P & Strathern M (2008) Complexity, stability and crises. In: Complexity and Security. Ramsden J, Kervalishvili P (ed.), IOS Press, p. 71-92.
  • Allen P, Strathern M & Baldwin J (2008) Complexity: The integrating framework for models of urban and regional systems. In: The Dynamics of Complex Urban Systems. Albeverio S, Andrey D, Giordano P, Vancheri A (ed.), Heidelberg and New York: Physica-Verlag, p. 21-41.
  • Goldstein JA, Richardson KA, Allen P, Snowden D (eds), (2007) Emergence: Complexity and Organization 2006 Annual, Mansfield, MA: ISCE Publishing.
  • Boulton J & Allen P (2007) Complexity Perspective. In: Advanced Strategic Management: A Multi-Perspective Approach. Jenkins M, Ambrosini V, Collier N (ed.), Palgrave Macmillan, p. 215-234, ed. 2nd edition.
  • Allen P & Andriani P (2007) Diversity, interconnectivity and sustainability. In: Complexity, Science and Society Conference. Bogg J, Geyer R (ed.), Oxford: Radcliffe, p. 11-32.
  • Allen P (2007) Complexity and identity: the evolution of collective self. In: Spiritual Motivation: New Thinking for Business and Management. Ramsden J, Aida S, Kakabadse A (ed.), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 50-73.
  • Allen P, Strathern M & Baldwin J (2006) Evolution, diversity and organizations. In: Complexity and Co-Evolution, Edward Elgar.
  • Allen P (2006) Self-organization in economic systems. In: The Elgar Companion to Neo-Schumpeterian Economics. Pyka A, Hanusch H (ed.), Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • Allen P & Brunner H (2006) A regional development approach: Transport, international trade and investment modelled in space. In: International Trade Issues. Weeks R (ed.), New York: Nova Science Publishers, p. 11-32.
  • Allen P & Brunner H (2005) Productivity, competitiveness and incomes in Asia. Edward Elgar.
  • Allen P, Boulton J, Strathern M & Baldwin J (2005) The implications of complexity for business process and strategy. In: Managing Organizational Complexity: Philosophy, Theory and Application, Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing Inc..
  • Allen P (2005) A complex systems approach to learning adaptive networks. In: Papers in Evolutionary Economics CIRIEC Series. Lombardi M, Squazzoni F (ed.), Milan: Franco Angeli Publishing Company, p. 207-238.
  • Allen P (2004) The complexity of structure, strategy and decision making. In: Evolution and Economic Complexity. Metcalfe J, Foster J (ed.), Edward Elgar, p. 85-107.
  • Allen P (2003) Complexity in Socio-Economic systems. In: The Encyclopaedia of Life Support Systems, Oxford: Eolss Publishing.
  • Allen P (2001) The Dynamics of Knowledge and Ignorance: Learning the New Systems Science. In: Integrative System Approaches to Natural and Social Dynamics. Matthies H, Malchow H, Kriz J (ed.), Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
  • Allen P (2001) Knowledge, ignorance and the evolution of complex systems. In: Frontiers of Evolutionary Economics: Competition, Self-Organization and Innovation Policy. Foster J, Metcalfe S (ed.), Edward Elgar.
  • Allen P (2000) Evolutionary Complex Systems: An Introduction. In: Complexity Theory Applied to Management. Sharifi S, Button W (ed.).
  • Allen P, Lemon N & Seaton R (1999) Sustainable Water Use in the Argolid. In: Mediterranean Desertification, European Commission DGXII.
  • Allen P (1998) Evolving Complexity in Social Science. In: Systems - New Paradigms for the Human Sciences. Altman, Koch (ed.), Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
  • Allen P (1998) Evolutionary Complex Systems and Sustainable Development. In: Theory and Implementation of Economic Models for Sustainable Development. van den Bergh, Hofkes M (ed.), Dordrecht: Kluwer.
  • Allen P (1998) Cities as Self-organising Complex systems. In: The City and its Sciences. Bertuglia C, Bianchi G, Mela A (ed.), Heidelberg: Springer.
  • Allen P (1998) Modelling Complex Economic Evolution. In: Selbstorganisation. Scheiter F, Silverberg G (ed.), Berlin: Duncker and Humblot.
  • Allen P (1997) Cities and Regions as Self-Organizing Systems: Models of Complexity. Gordon and Breach.
  • Allen P (1997) The Evolution of Communities: Social Self-Organization. In: In Complexity and Self Organization in Social and Economic Systems. Fang F, Sanglier M (ed.), Berlin: Springer.
  • Allen P (1997) Economics and the Science of Evolutionary Complex Systems. In: Complexity & Social Sciences. Dopfer K (ed.), Cambridge University Press.
  • Allen P (1997) Models of Creativity: Towards a New Science of History. In: Time, Process and Structured Transformation in Archaeology. van der Leeuw S, McGlade J (ed.), London: Routledge.