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School of Social and Political Science: About


50 years of Science Studies

The Science Studies Unit, one of the foundational units that formed our STIS subject area, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

A programme of events has been organised, running throughout the year, to reflect on the group’s achievements and to consider what the future holds for the field.

Centre of Excellence

The Science Studies Unit was founded by the late researcher David Edge in 1966, who recruited a team of experts from a range of disciplines to form the centre. The SSU became known worldwide as a centre of excellence for the study of the sociology of scientific knowledge and the history of science and medicine. One of its main aims was to investigate the ways in which science and technology shape society, and – in turn – how society influences scientific developments.

These questions are still being explored today, as academics study scientific knowledge and practices – related to issues such as climate change, IT and social media, and advances in medical technologies – placing them in a wider social context and examining their financial, political and ethical implications.

The 50th anniversary of the Science Studies Unit poses an exciting opportunity to review the history of our field and meet up with many of the key players involved in establishing our new discipline. The celebrations will offer a fantastic chance to not only reflect upon the past, but also to look forward and consider the future of the field.

Professor Catherine Lyall - Head of Science, Technology and Innovation Studies

Responsible Researcher Course

The Science, Technology and Innovation Studies group has developed a new undergraduate course, continuing the Science Studies Unit’s tradition of providing science and engineering students with a well-rounded perspective as part of their university education.

The Responsible Researcher course explores the idea that every scientist needs to engage with broader issues surrounding their research. The programme encourages students to consider why scientific research focuses on answering certain questions over others, the possible risks involved and the real-life applications of research.

For further information please visit the SSU 50th anniversary website or the Science Technology and Innovation Studies website.

SSU 50