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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Graham Spinardi

Graham Spinardi
Dr Graham Spinardi
Senior Research Fellow - Integrating Technical and Social Aspects of Fire Safety
Science Technology and Innovation Studies School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
Old Surgeons' Hall High School Yards Edinburgh UK
+44 (0)131 650 6394


Graham Spinardi graduated in Ecological Science at the University of Edinburgh, before doing a PhD in the sociology of technology at the Science Studies Unit. After many years carrying out research on military and aerospace technologies, he is now investigating social aspects of fire safety in an interdisciplinary research programme supported by the Ove Arup Foundation and the Royal Academy of Engineering. His latest research project (with Rush, Bisby, Hadden and Walls) is 'Improving the Resilience of Informal Settlements to Fire', funded by the EPSRC.


Undergraduate Teaching

I am currently devoted almost full-time to research, though contributing a few lectures to core STS courses at both UG and PG levels, and teaching Fire Safety Engineering & Society to engineering students.


(with Luke Bisby and Jose Torero) "A Review of Sociological Issues in Fire Safety Regulation", Fire Technology, Vol 53, Issue 3 (2017), 1011-1037.

"Fire Safety Regulation: Prescription, Performance, and Professionalism", Fire Safety Journal, Vol. 80 (2016), 83-88.

(with Rebecca Slayton) "Radical Innovation in Scaling Up: Boeing's Dreamliner and the Challenge of Socio-Technical Transitions", Technovation, Vo. 47 (2016), 47-58.

“Up in the Air: Barriers to Greener Air Traffic Control and Infrastructure lock-in in a Complex Socio-Technical System: ”, Energy Research & Social Science, Vol. 6 (2015), 41-49.

“UK Radar (Dis)Integration in the 1960s: Linesman/Mediator Radar Development and the Calculus of Nuclear Deterrence”, in Geography, Technology and Instruments of Exploration (Ashgate, 2015).

(with Rebecca Slayton) “Greener Aviation Take-off (Delayed): Analysing Environmental Transitions with the Multi-Level Perspective”, Science and Technology Studies, Vol 28, No. 1 (2015), 28-51.

“Technical Controversy and Ballistic Missile Defence: Disputing Epistemic Authority in the Development of Hit-to-Kill Technology”, Science as Culture, Vol. 23, Issue 1 (2014), 1-26.

 “Roadmapping, Disruptive Technology, and Semiconductor Innovation: the Case of Gallium Arsenide Development in the UK”, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management Vol. 24, No. 3 (March 2012), 239-51.

“The Limits to ‘Spin-off’: UK Defence R&D and the Development of Gallium Arsenide Technology”, British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 45, Issue 1 (March 2012), 97-121.

“Weapons” entry in Helmut Anheier, Mark Juergensmeyer and Victor Faessel, Encyclopedia of Global Studies (Sage), (Sage, 2012), 1779-82.

“The Rise and Fall of Safeguard: Anti-Ballistic Missile Technology and the Nixon Administration,” History and Technology, Vol. 26, Issue 4 (December 2010), 313-334.

“Technological Controversy and US Ballistic Missile Defence: Star Warriors versus the Huntsville Mafia”, Defence Studies Vol. 9, No. 3 (September 2009), 354-384.

“Ballistic Missile Defence and the Politics of Testing: the Case of the US Ground-Based Midcourse Defence”, Science and Public Policy, Vol. 35, No. 10 (December 2008), 703-715.

“Golfballs on the Moor: Building the Fylingdales Ballistic Missile Early Warning System”, Contemporary British History, Vol. 21, No. 1 (March 2007), 87-110.

“Science, Technology, and the Cold War: The Military Uses of the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope”, Cold War History (August 2006), Vol. 6, No 3, 279-300.

(with M. Mort) “Defence and the Decline of UK Mechanical Engineering – the Case of Vickers at Barrow”, Business History (January 2004), Vol. 46, No. 1, 1-22.

“Industrial Exploitation of Carbon Fibre in the UK, USA and Japan”, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, Vol. 14, No. 4 (2002), 381-398.

“Prospects for the Defence Diversification Agency: Technology Transfer and the UK Defence Research Establishments”, Science and Public Policy, Vol. 27, No. 2 (April 2000), 123-135.

“Civil Spin-off from the Defence Research Establishments”, in Robert Bud and Philip Gummett (eds), Cold War, Hot Science: Applied Research in the UK's Defence Research Laboratories, 1945-90 (Harwood: 1999), 371-392.

(with A. Clayton & R. Williams) Policies for Cleaner Technology: A New Agenda for Government and Industry (Earthscan, 1999).

“Aldermaston and British Nuclear Weapons Development: Testing the ‘Zuckerman thesis’”, Social Studies of Science, Vol. 27, No. 4 (1997), 547-582.

(with D. MacKenzie) “Tacit Knowledge, Weapons Design, and the Uninvention of Nuclear Weapons”,  American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 101, No. 1 (July 1995), 44-99.

 (with I. Graham & R. Williams) “Technical Data Exchange in the Eurofighter Project”, Science and Public Policy, Vol. 22, No. 1 (February 1995), 29-38.

 (with I. Graham, R. Williams & J. Webster) “The Dynamics of EDI Standards Development”, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, Vol. 7, No. 1 (1995).

 “Nuclear Weapons and the New World Order”, Scottish Affairs, No. 7 (Spring 1994), 58-67.

From Polaris to Trident: The Development of US Fleet Ballistic Missile Technology, (Cambridge University Press, 1994).

(with D. MacKenzie) “The Technological Impact of a Defence Research Establishment”, in R.Coopey, G. Spinardi and M. Uttley (eds.), Defence Science and Technology (Harwood, 1993), 85-124.

 “Defence Technology Enterprises: A Case Study in Technology Transfer”, Science and Public Policy (August 1992), 198-206.

“Why the U.S. Navy went for hard-target Counterforce in Trident II (and why it didn’t get there sooner)”, International Security Vol. 15, No. 2 (Fall 1990), 147-190.

(with D. MacKenzie) “The Shaping of Nuclear Weapon System Technology: US Fleet Ballistic Missile Guidance and Navigation”, Social Studies of Science, Vol. 18 (1988) in two parts: “I: From Polaris to Poseidon”, 419-63; “II: ‘Going for Broke’—The Path to Trident II”, 581-624. 

(with R. Bulkeley) Space Weapons: Deterrence or Delusion (Polity Press, 1986).