School of Social and Political Science

Suggested topics

Below is a list of topics of particular interest among staff linked to the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies subject group. Some are quite specific; others indicate general areas of work in which more specific topics could be formulated. The list is not exhaustive, however, and we welcome proposals for postgraduate research projects in all areas of Science and Technology Studies. Applicants are encouraged to contact individual staff members or the Postgraduate Admissions Advisor (Research) to discuss the possibilities and develop their proposals.

Life sciences and biotechnology >>

Law, ethics and the life sciences >>

Information and communication technologies and new electronic media >>

History and sociology of science and medicine >>

Energy, environment and sustainability >>

Innovation systems and technology transfer >>

Science, technology and publics >>

Gender, science and technology >>

Science, technology and development >>

Sociology of markets >>

Life sciences and biotechnology

  • Translational research: the changing relationship between public and private
  • The social, political and epistemic dimensions of the emerging fields of systems and synthetic biology
  • Life science innovation and health equity
  • Internationalisation of the pharmaceutical and life science industries
  • Mapping global public private partnerships for neglected diseases
  • Biosciences and institutional transformation of global agricultural and health organisations
  • Assessing democratic governance of new life science technologies
  • Multi-level governance and its limitations
  • Risk and life science innovation beyond the precautionary principle
  • Intellectual property and life science innovation
  • Exploration of new interdisciplinary methodologies for exploring the diffusion and impact of genomics innovation
  • Innovation and regulation interactions in the development of clinical stem cell therapies

Law, ethics and the life sciences

Contact AHRC Research Centre for Studies in Intellectual Property and Technology Law

  • Promotion, regulation and protection of biotechnology
  • Intellectual property and the life sciences
  • Patenting life
  • Life sciences regulation and governance
  • Open science
  • Ethics and governance of life sciences research
  • Legal and ethical aspects of synthetic biology
  • Patenting synthetic biology
  • Regulating nanotechnologies

Information and communication technologies and new electronic media

  • Radio Spectrum allocation: economic theory, new technologies and politics of scarcity
  • The integration the 'real' and the 'online' spaces and relationships:mobiles, ubicomp and virtual worlds
  • The governance of the Internet: net neutrality, censorship, and corporate control
  • ICTs and development
  • Social Networking systems and everyday life
  • Roadmaps, scenarios, standards and other intermediary devices in the development complex ICT systems
  • Politics and economics of ICT standardisation
  • ICTs and energy efficiency
  • New modes of innovation in ICT services: co-creation, open innovation and living labs
  • New freedoms and control of personal information and communication activities
  • Electronic Identity in the wired world
  • Digital inclusion, migration and globalisation
  • Convergence in telecommunications: technology and industry visions and conflicts
  • Sociology of the wired world: social capital and social exclusion
  • Bridging the gap between users and developers in ICT systems and services
  • Intellectual Property Rights:evolving policy and practice and technology

History and sociology of science and medicine

  • Sociology of scientific knowledge and the Strong Programme
  • History of medicine: sixteenth to twentieth centuries
  • Development of medical genetics in inter-war Edinburgh
  • Deinstitutionalisation and mental health policy in Scotland 1970-2000
  • History of Science, particularly themes related to science and the British Empire/Commonweatlh
  • History of Science in Africa

Energy, environment and sustainability

  • Understanding and changing domestic energy use practices
  • Innovation, policy and strategy issues in carbon capture and storage
  • Community- and city-based energy initiatives
  • Decarbonisation strategies and transitions towards sustainable energy

Innovation systems and technology transfer

  • Understanding the role of universities in stimulating innovation
  • From invention to innovation: the linear model revisited
  • Conceptualising national innovation systems
  • Cross-national and cross-industry studies of innovation

Science, technology and publics

  • Popular science and the 'public understanding of science'
  • Public engagement in science, technology and medicine

Gender, science and technology

  • 'Co-production' of gender and technology
  • Gender in/of scientific knowledge
  • Gender in/of scientific and engineering practice

Science, technology and development

Contact Centre of African Studies

  • Biofuels in developing countries
  • Information and communication technologies in developing countries

Sociology of markets

Contact Sociology

  • European Union emissions trading scheme: its development and the behaviour of market participants
  • Development of carbon markets in the United States
  • Clean Development Mechanism and abatement projects in the developing world
  • NASDAQ and the development of stock trading in the United States
  • Comparative development of financial derivatives markets in different national contexts


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