Making Science Public

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RRI at Nottingham: report from public lecture and workshop, January 2015

Joint post with Sarah Hartley and Eleanor Hadley Kershaw. On January 8th, Prof. Richard Owen delivered the MSP lecture “Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI): from nice words to meaningful action”, providing an engaging overview of the topic for over 60 attendees from across the University. Richard drew on classic literature from STS (for example, Collingridge’s …

From recombinant DNA to genome editing: A history of responsible innovation?

In this post I shall report on a recent call for ethical and regulatory reflection by scientists engaged in a new genomic technology. I’ll then put this into a historical context of previous initiatives of that kind, and finally ask whether this can be called ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’. CRISPR Recently, a new controversy has …

The Co-production Confusion

The word co-production is used a lot around me. However, the situation is quite confusing. Upstairs, in the public policy corridor, it is used in one way; downstairs, in the Science and Technology Studies (STS) corridor, it’s used in another way. So I set out to get to the bottom of this confusion. But of …

Genes, microbes, us

Jon Turney has just published a fascinating new book about the microbiome and microbiomics entitled I, Superorganism: Learning to love your inner ecosystem. This blog post is a collection of thoughts provoked by this book; it’s not a book review. Coincidentally, Jon’s 1998 book Frankenstein’s Footsteps was my gateway into the social and cultural study …

Mundane Consequences of the Unintended

This is a GUEST POST by Richard Helliwell, a PhD student at the Institute for Science and Society. How can responsible research and innovation frameworks deal with mundane consequences, consequences that although minor add perhaps imperceptibly to the load of daily frustrations and annoyances that emerge through our interactions with various technologies and services. The …

Making sociology public

This is a GUEST POST by MARK CARRIGAN. He is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Ontology at the University of Warwick and a Digital Fellow at the Sociological Review. You can find more information about him at the end of this post. Ever since I began to study Sociology, I’ve been fascinated …

Basic science and climate politics: A flashback to 1989

We were trying to empty a room for refurbishment. So we rummaged through some old papers which included amongst many others: an inaugural lecture transcript from 1991 (Robert Dingwall, former Director of our Institute for Science and Society), Karl Popper’s last paper entitled “Towards an evolutionary theory of knowledge” (with the enigmatic scribble: ‘Popper’s last …

A cut too far? The ritual slaughter debate in Britain

The World Food Summit, in 1996, agreed a definition of food security that included the requirement that food met the food preferences of communities. Indeed, it is evident that food preferences reflect aspects of culture including religious identity. Where food preferences include the consumption of animals, debates about animal welfare also arise which can come …

Science, politics and science communication

I sometimes get asked why I write blog posts about science communication and even sometimes practice science communication, given that science communication is not really the focus of our ‘Making Science Public’ programme of research (which was drafted in response to a Leverhulme Trust call for proposals on ‘science and politics’). Despite its title, the …

Science communication and ‘vulgarisation scientifique’: Do words matter?

A Spanish colleague and friend recently sent me a Portuguese caricature about ‘science communication’ with the following title: “Como a maioria do jornais divulga ciência” (How the majority of newspapers disseminate science). I’ll only translate the first two panels, as the third one is a bit coarse: Scientist: We have destroyed 10% of cancerous cells …