Will McDowall's research activities cover several related areas of interest.
First, his work on energy innovation applies 'innovation systems' approaches to understanding the development and deployment of new technologies, and has examined the role of expectations, visions and foresight processes in guiding and shaping technological change.
Second, he has an interest in developing scenarios -- using both qualitative, participatory approaches and formal quantitative models -- to explore possible futures of the energy system, and provide insights for policymakers. Much of this work has focused on hydrogen energy.
His research on scenarios and modelling includes work that takes a critical perspective on energy modelling, exploring how models are used and communicated in practice. Finally, he has wider interests in environmental policy, particularly related to resources and the circular economy.