Martin received his BSc (Hons) in Liberal Studies in Science at the University of Manchester in 1978, and gained a PhD in International Development at the Institute for International Development Policy and Management (IDPM) at the University of Manchester in 1998. In the interim he taught Science at senior secondary schools in London and in Botswana. In 1999 Martin worked with Gerald Midgley on a postdoctoral research project at Hull University exploring the use of systems thinking for environmental management.
Martin joined the Open University in December 2000. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Systems Thinking and Qualifications Lead for the postgraduate programme in Systems Thinking in Practice (STiP).
Martin is a co-founding member of, and lead academic liaison for, the Applied Systems Thinking in Practice (ASTiP) Group at the Open University.
Research and scholarship activities are primarily focused on developing and applying ideas from the tradition of critical systems thinking (CST) to evaluation, environmental management, organisational management, health practice, and international development.
Current and past activities include involvement with: supporting competency framing for systems thinking and capabilitiy-enhancement for systems thinking in practice at the workplace (originally funded by eSTEeM -the OU Centre for Pedagogy in STEM subjects); Systems Thinking Africa - a network of practitioners from different sectors in different countries, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, responsible for supporting systems thinking in practice at the workplace; the Silwood Park Group - an international grouping of experts in the fields of conservation biology, evaluation, and systems thinking, in a purposeful systems design of innovative evaluation for conservation interventions, coordinated by the Imperial College London and the United States Environmental Protection Agency; World Bank evaluation of the Climate Investment Fund, as part of Consortium led by Community Science from USA and Emerald Network from UK; US AID support for collaboration with partners in southern Africa to explore cooperative wetland management in Limpopo Basin; European funding to support Parliamentary involvement with developmental evaluation; ESRC – supported work in using critical systems heuristics for community wetland management in Guyana; EPSRC - supported work on critical systems thinking for energy security; and EU funding for supporting Social Learning in Water Management (SLIM).
Martin promotes continual professional development with Systems thinking and evaluation - designing and facilitating a series of workshops through auspices of Systems Thinking Africa, the American Evaluation Association and European Evaluation Association, including work with GIZ (in Germany) SDC (in Switzerland) and SLeVA (in Sri Lanka) and UKES (in UK).
Martin is Module Team Chair and lead author/designer of TU811 Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change, and previously Chair and lead author/designer of TD866 Environmental Responsibility: ethics, policy and action. He is module team member and contributing author for BB847 Management Beyond the Mainstream (elective for MBA programme) and T891 Making Environmental Decisions (which replaced T863 Environmental Decision Making: A systems approach). He was previously Chair for T306 Managing Complexity: A systems approach, and module team member and author for TU872 Institutional Development: conflicts, values and meanings.