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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


James Mittra

James Mittra
Dr James Mittra
Senior Lecturer and Head of Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies
Science Technology and Innovation Studies School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
Room G.39 Old Surgeons' Hall High School Yards Edinburgh UK EH1 1LZ
+44 (0)131 650 2453
Research Interests
Innovation, translational medicine, agrobiotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, risk governance, regulation, stratified medicine, genomics, Regenerative Medicine, Value, Public-private partnerships, collaboration, interdiciplinarity

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • My guidance and feedback hours during semester time are Wednesdays from 10:00-12:00. You are also welcome to make an appointment at any other time.


With a background in sociology and philosophy, I have developed interdiciplinary research interests around innovation in life sciences, with a specific focus on translational research, regulation, and governance. I have been contributing to the development of new interdisciplinary methods and theories to better understand how ‘new biology’ is affecting the nature and process of health innovation and contributing to the global bioeconomy.

Through a series of related projects following my doctoral work on the impact of genetic knowledge on the life assurance industry, I explored the nature and practical implications of translational medicine and the changing organisation and management of health R&D . With colleagues in the Innogen Institute, I developed novel methods for studying business models and value systems for new technologies that do not have a conventional route to market, particularly in the field of regenerative medicine and stratified medicine.

More recently I have been exploring the concept of value (economic and non-economic aspects) in health-related innovation; particularly in the context of interdisciplinary and translational research where the distinction between public and commercial, and relationship between laboratory and clinic, has become blurred. This was all written up in my first monograph: The New Health Bioeconomy: R&D Policy and Innovation for the Twenty-first century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

In April 2016, I was honoured to spend a week visiting the College of the Environment and Life Sciences at the University of Rhode Island as part of its Distinguished Visiting International Scholar programme.

My full CV can be viewed here


I am currently Head of the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies Subject Group.  Previously I have been Deputy Director (Research) of the Graduate School of Social and Political Science (2015-2017); Director of the MSc in Management of Bioeconomy, Innovation and Goverance (BIG) (2014-2017) Deputy Director of the Innogen Institute (2014-2017); and Postgraduate Research Advisor (admissions) for STIS (2014-2015), when I also convened the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies Pathway for the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science.


BA (Hons) Sociology and Philosophy (MMU 1997)

MA Sociology (University of Leeds 1998)

PhD Sociology (University of Warwick 2004)


Research Interests

Innovation, translational medicine, agrobiotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, risk governance, regulation, stratified medicine, genomics, Regenerative Medicine, Value, Public-private partnerships, collaboration, interdiciplinarity

Research Overview

My interests include:

  • - Impact of the life science and new biology on the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries;
  • - New business models and value systems in the bioeconomy
  • - New approaches to value and pricing in healthcare
  • - Translational research and collaborative approaches to R&D;
  • - Risk governance and regulation of advanced therapies;
  • - Genetic risk, probability and insurance
  • - Stakeholder engagement with science and technology; 
  • I am happy to supervise doctoral students wishing to explore these and related topics.

Current Projects

Completed Projects

Other Research Activities

Conference/Seminar Talks

  1. Mittra, J. (2016) ‘What is the Bioeconomy and How should we Value it?’, Invited Public Lecture, Distinguished Visiting International Scholar Programme, Ryan Family Auditorium, Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences, University of Rhode Island, April 26th, 2016.
  2. Mittra, J. (2016) ‘Challenges and Opportunities in Collaboration between the Natural and Social Sciences:  Case studies from Regenerative Medicine and Agricultural Biotechnology’, Seminar talk to the  Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, the Coastal Institute Building, University of Rhode Island, April 29, 2016.
  3. Mittra, J. (2016) ‘Preparing Students for Work in the Global Bioeconomy: The Need for Interdisciplinary Knowledge and Systems Thinking’, University of Rhode Island seminar talk to undergraduate scientists, April, 27th, 2016.
  4. Mittra, J. (2015) ‘MSc in Management of Bioeconomy, Innovation and Governance: An Interdisciplinary Programme to Meet the Needs of the Bioeconomy’, 5th ICA Rectors and Deans Forum 2015, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza, Italy, October 23rd, 2015
  5. Mittra, J (2015) ‘Innovative Health and Scientific Research: Scotland within the UK: together or apart?’, Invited talk to Morningside Justice and Peace Group, The Open Door Café, Edinburgh, Feb 11, 2015
  6. Mittra, J (2014) ‘Innovation/Regulation Interactions and Business Models for Antimicrobial Drug Development’, MRC workshop ‘Small molecule approaches to antibiotics – how can we enhance, develop and target’, May 25th, London
  7. Mittra, J (2014) 'Innogen and the STRATIS Method: A Case Study of Cultured Red Blood Cells', Scottish Government Seminar, October 28, Edinburgh
  8. Mittra, J, E. Barlow & M. Mastroeni (2014) ‘Is Scottish Independence Bad for your Health?’, Edinburgh International Fringe Festival, Beltane Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, August 9th
  9. Mittra, J (2014) ‘Scottish Independence and the Clinical Research System’, Scottish Independence and Health Workshop, Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, March 21
  10. Mittra, J. (2014) ‘Business Models, Funding Gaps and New Value Systems for Regenerative Medicine’, Horizons in Human Cells International Conference, Edinburgh, May 28
  11. Mittra, J (2013) ‘Identifying and Measuring Value(s) in Regenerative Medicine and Translational Research’, 'Dimensions of Value and Values Science, Technology and Innovation Studies: A Two Day Symposium and Advanced Training for Postgraduate Research Students’, University of Edinburgh, 17 and 18th April, 2013
  12. Mittra, J (2012) ‘Repairing the Broken Middle of the Health Innovation Pathway: The Emergence of ‘Translational Medicine and its Impact on Organisational Practice’, Invited Keynote Lecture, International Conference on Translational Research in Biomedicine: Challenges and Good Practice’, November 19th, Berlin
  13. Mittra, J., H. Lowrie., J. Tait & M. Maestroeni (2011) ‘Overcoming the Translational Gap in Commercialisation of Stem Cell Therapy’, Remedie Closing Conference: Bringing Regenerative Medicine to the Clinic: Trials and Tribulations in Europe and Beyond, April 18/19, Bilbao, Spain
  14. Mittra, J & J. Tait (2012) ‘New Business Models and Value Systems in Regenerative Medicine’, Invited panel talk at MHRA Joint Workshop on the Regulation of UK Regenerative Medicine, October 30th, 2012
  15. Mittra, J. (2010) Invited respondent at EGN Health Technologies and Health Systems Workstream, Workshop 3, Genomic subpopulations and health systems responses, November 11, University of Exeter
  16. Mittra, J. (2008) ‘Interviewing Elite Groups in Biomedicine: Experiences from the Field’, PFGS Regional Meeting, Genomics Forum, University of Edinburgh, 14 April, 2008
  17. Mittra, J. (2008) ‘Risk Governance of Stem Cells as Therapeutic Products and Broader Implications for Innovation’, PEALS Spring Symposium (The Identification, Regulation and Implications of Risk Within Stem Cell Research), 10-11 April, 2008, Durham Castle
  18. Mittra, J. (2007) ‘’Risk Governance and Regulation of Stem Cells as Therapeutic Products’, Stem Cells: European Business Summit, Edinburgh, 12th October 2007 (paper also delivered at ESRC Genomics Network Conference, London, 25th October, 2007)
  19. Mittra, J (2007) ‘Insurance and Healthcare in the Molecular Age’, invited discussant for Biodata, Health and Security Research Workshop, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Lancaster, June 29th 2007
  20. Mittra, J & J. Tait (2006) ‘Public-Private Partnerships in Translational Medicine: Scotland’s Translational Medicine Research Collaboration (TMRC)’, Paper presented at OECD Expert Workshop, ‘Emerging Research models for the Delivery of Health Innovation’, Paris, November 20-21 2006
  21. Tait, J., and J. Mittra (2006) ‘Singing from the Same Hymn Sheet: Can Genomics Harmonise with Chemistry?’, SCIpharm, Wednesday 17 May 2006, Edinburgh International Conference Centre
  22. Mittra, J (2005) 'Regulation of Human Reproductive Technologies in the UK:  Libertarian Values Versus Communitarian Fears' – Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, 16th September 2005 – Workshop organised by the Seminar in Science Studies, University of Oslo


Guidance and Feedback Hours

My guidance and feedback hours during semester time are Wednesdays from 10:00-12:00. You are also welcome to make an appointment at any other time.

Postgraduate Teaching

I currently organise and teach the online course Regulation and Governance of New Therapies. This is an interdisciplinary, online course that equips students with in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of the regulation and governance of drug innovation, including both early stage R&D and translation of new science/technology to the clinic for public health benefit and the needs of the growing health bioeconomy.

PhD Supervision

PhD Topics

I am interested in supervising students on a broad range of topics in health-related innovation, policy and regulation, including new empirical and theoretical approaches to the health-related bioeconomy and translational medicine; risk governance and regulation of new therapies; value(s) and valuation practices in health innovation; understanding new business models and commercialisation strategies in life science industries, and emergence of new R&D practices and stakeholder relations within life sciences. I am also interested in supervising projects in related sectors, where appropriate, such as agro-biotechnology.

Find out more about the programmes that I am involved with:

PhD in Science and Technology Studies; MSc (R) Science and Technology Studies

Current PhD Students

Anna Couturier (2017-) 'Mapping the Impact of Algorithms on Digital Biocitizenship: A Case Study on Mesenchymal Stromal Cell-Derived Therapies'

Rosalind Attenborough (2015-) ‘Open Science as an Identity and Epistemic Virtue’ (ESRC funded)

Completed PhD Students

Sara Valencia-Cadavid (2018) ‘Knowledge Management in the Outsourcing of Clinical Trials to Produce Vaccines in Global Alliances. Case study of Dengue Vaccine in Latin America’

David Johnson (2016) ‘Regenerative Medicine Venturing: Entrepreneurial Behaviour and New Venture Development Under High Levels of Perceived Environmental Uncertainty’ (Supervised with the Business School)

Emma King (2013):Innovation and regulation interactions in the development of clinical stem cell therapies’ (ESRC Case Student)

Donna Messner (2008): ‘Fast Track: The Transformation of Drug Approval and the Clinical Trial System for Drug Evaluation in the United States’ 


My ORCID idenitfier is: 0000-0002-0185-6770


Mittra, J. (2016) The New Health Bioeconomy: R&D Policy and Innovation for the Twenty-first Century(New York: Palgrave Macmillan)

This book provides original insights into how "new biology" and "translational" policies to drive a health bioeconomy are reshaping innovation ecosystems, and disrupting R&D practices, institutional and professional boundaries, and notions of "value" in healthcare. Drawing on rich empirical data, the author argues for a definition of value beyond the economic to better understand these transformative changes and reflect on the bioeconomy's future.

Chapter 1 available here

Review in New Genetics and Society here

Mittra, J & C. Milne (eds) (2013) Translational Medicine: The Future of Therapy?, (Singapore: Pan-Stanford)

This book brings together a range of academic, industry and practitioner perspectives on translational medicine (TM). It enhances conceptual and practical understanding of the emergence and progress of the field and its potential impact on basic research, therapeutic development, and institutional infrastructure. In recognition of the various implications TM has for public health policy and commercial innovation, the book addresses the major systemic aspects of the field.

Peer Reviewed Articles

Banda, G;, Tait, J;, and Mittra, J. (2018) 'Evolution of Business Models in Regenerative Medicine: Effects of a Disruptive Innovation on the Innovation Ecosystem', Clinical Therapeutics, 40 (7): 1084-1094

Wield, D., Tait., J., Chataway, J., Mittra, J., and Mastroeni, M. (2017) ‘Conceptualising and practising multiple knowledge interactions in the life sciences’, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 116, pp. 308-315

Milne, C-P., Mittra, J., Kojima, N., Sugiyama, D., Awatin, J., and Simmons, G. (2016) 'Prospects for Harmonizing Regulatory Science Programs in Europe, Japan, and the United States to Advance Regenerative Medicine', Therapeutic Innovation and Regulatory Science, 50 (6): 724-733

Mittra. J., J. Tait., M. Mastroeni., M. Turner., J. Mountford., K. Bruce. (2015) ‘Identifying Viable Regulatory and Innovation Pathways for Regenerative Medicine: A Case Study of Cultured Red Blood Cells'New Biotechnology, 32 (1): 180-190

Mittra, J. (2013) ‘Repairing the ‘Broken Middle’ of the Health Innovation Pathway: Exploring Diverse Practitioner Perspectives on the Emergence and Role of ‘Translational Medicine’, Science and Technology Studies, 26 (3)

Wield, D., R. Hanlin, J. Mittra & J. Smith (2013) ‘Twenty-First Century Bioeconomy: Global Challenges of Biological Knowledge for Health and Agriculture’, Science and Public Policy, 40, pp. 17-24

Mittra, J & J. Tait (2012) ‘Analysing Stratified Medicine Business Models and Value Systems: Innovation-Regulation Interactions’, New Biotechnology, 29 (6), pp. 709-719

Mittra, J., J. Tait & D. Wield (2011) ‘From Maturity to High Value-Added Innovation : Lessons from the Pharmaceutical and Agro-Biotechnology Industries’, Trends in Biotechnology, 29 (3), pp. 105-109

Mittra, J., J. Tait & D. Wield (2011) ‘The Future of Pharmaceutical Innovation: New Challenges and Opportunities’, Innovations in Pharmaceutical Technology, March 2011, pp. 32-34

Mittra, J. (2008) ‘Impact of the Life Sciences on Organisation and Management of R&D in Large Pharmaceutical Firms’, Int. J. Biotechnology, 10 (5), pp. 416-440

Mittra, J. (2007) ‘Predictive Genetic Information and Access to Life Assurance: The Poverty of Genetic Exceptionalism’, Biosocieties, 2 (3), pp. 349-373

Mittra, J. (2007) ‘Marginalising Eugenic Anxiety through a Rhetoric of Liberal Choice: A Critique of the House of Commons Select Committee Report on Reproductive Technologies’, New Genetics and Society, 26 (2), pp. 159-179

Mittra, J. (2007) ‘Life Science Innovation and the Re-structuring of the Pharmaceutical Industry: Merger, Acquisitions and Strategic Alliance Behaviour of Large Firms', Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 19 (3), pp. 279-301

Mittra, J. & R. Williams (2007) ‘Evolution of the Life Science Industries’, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, Special Issue, 19 (3), pp. 251-255

Mittra, J. (2006) ‘The Socio-Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Mergers: A Case study of Sanofi and Aventis', Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 18 (5), pp. 473-496

Mittra, J. (2006) ‘Genetic Exceptionalism and Precautionary Politics: Regulating for Uncertainty in Britain's Genetics and Insurance Policy Process', Science and Public Policy, 33 (8) pp. 585-600

Book Chapters

Gardner, J., Webster, A., and Mittra, J. (2017) ‘ The ‘Entrepreneurial State’ and the Leveraging of Life in the Field of Regenerative Medicine’, forthcoming in Pavone, P., and Goven. J (eds) Bioeconomies: Life, Technology and Capital in the 21st Century, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan)

Milne, C.P, & J. Mittra. (2015) ‘Is Translational Medicine the Future of Therapy?’, in R. Bawa (Editor), G. F. Audette and B. E. Reese. (Assistant Editors): Handbook of Clinical Nanomedicine: Law, Business, Regulation, Safety and Risk, Pan Stanford Publishing, Singapore, pp. 997-1012

Mittra, J (2013) ‘Exploiting Translational Medicine through Public-Private Partnerships: a Case Study of Scotland’s Translational Medicine Research Collaboration (TMRC)’, In Mittra & Milne (eds) Translational Medicine: The Future of Therapy? 2013, Pan-Stanford: Singapore, pp. 213-229

Mittra, J. & C. Milne (2013) ‘Introduction to Translational Medicine’, in Mittra & Milne (eds) Translational Medicine: The Future of Therapy? 2013, Pan-Stanford: Singapore, pp. 3-13

Major Reports

Tait, J., Bruce, A., Mittra, J., Purves, J., and Scannell, J. (2014) Independent Review on Antimicrobial Resistance: Regulation-Innovation Interactions and the Development of Antimicrobial Drugs and Diagnostics for Human and Animal Diseases, Main Report for ESRC Innogen Institute

Mittra, J., M. Mastroeni & J. Tait (2014) Engaging with Uncertainty and Risk in Agricultural Biotechnology Regulation: Delivering Safety and InnovationFinal Report of ESRC/Syngenta Knowledge Exchange Project

Omidvar, O., M. De Grijs., D. Castle, J. Mittra., A. Rosiello and J. Tait (2014) Regenerative Medicine: Business Models, Venture Capital and the Funding Gap, Report on ESRC Project, ‘New Funding Models for Regenerative Medicine’ ESRC Innogen Centre/Innogen Institute

Mastroeni, M., J. Mittra & J. Tait (2012) Methodology for the Analysis of Life Science Innovation Systems (ALSIS) and its Application to Three Case StudiesFinal Report of the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) Project REALISE, May 2012

Mittra, J., & Tait, J. (2009) ‘Stem Cells’, chapter for RiskBridge Report, SAS6-CT-2006-036661, pp. 224-268

Mittra, J (2009) ‘Risk Governance and Policy Learning Within and Between Risk Fields‘, Proceedings of the RiskBridge Final Conference ECFP6 Coordination Action

Refereed Working Papers

Mittra, J., M. Mastroeni., D. Wield., E. Barlow and K. Snowden (2014) ‘The Scottish Institutional Ecology of Health and Clinical/Medical Research and Key Issues for Scottish Independence’, Innogen Working Paper Number 109,

Haddow, G., J. Mittra., K. Snowden., E. Barlow and D. Wield (2014) ‘From “Sick Man” to “Living Lab”: The Narrative of Scottish Health Since Devolution’, Innogen Working Paper, Number 108, Series ESRC Future of the UK and Scotland.

Mastroeni, M., E. Barlow., J. Mittra., and D. Wield (2014) ‘The Imagined Health Community: Narratives of Scottish Health and Independence’, Innogen Working Paper, Number 112,

Yoruk, D. and Mittra, J. (2009) 'Mid Pharma: How Big is it and Where is it Going?, Innogen Working paper 81

Mittra, J (2003) ‘Innovation Processes in Genomics Industry Sectors’, Innogen Working Paper 548

Policy Briefs/Consultation Responses

Mittra. J., E. Barlow., M. Mastroeni., D. Wield., G. Haddow (2014) ‘The Implications of Scottish Independence for Healthcare and Medical Research’, Innogen Briefing Number 2, August 2014, Series ESRC Future of the UK and Scotland.

Mittra., J (2009) Innogen Response to Human Genetics Commission Enquiry into Direct to Consumer Genetic TestsOctober 2009:

Mittra, J. (2009) Response to Nuffield Council Consultation Paper: Medical Profiling and Online Medicine: the ethics of healthcare in the molecular age, July 2009,

Mittra, J (2007) ‘Appropriate Governance of the Life Sciences: Regulation and Risk Governance of Stem Cell Therapies’, Innogen policy brief

Mittra, J. (2007) ‘Changing Strategies of Big Pharma’, Innogen Policy Brief

Tait, J, Mittra, J (2004) ‘Complexity and Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry’, Innogen policy brief

Other Publications

Mittra, J., G. Haddow and M. Mastroeni (2014) ‘Is Scottish Independence Bad for your Health?’ The Conversation, 12 August, 2014,

Mittra, J. (2009) ‘Translating Translational Medicine’, The Gen: The Newsletter of the ESRC Genomics Network, issue 10, p16-17.

Mittra, J. (2007) ‘GlaxoSmithKline and the Reorganization of R&D’, Innogen Case Study Prepared for Executive Development Programme, 25-27 April 2007

Mittra, J. (2007) ‘Herceptin and the Politics of Drug Regulation’, Innogen Case Study Prepared for Executive Development Programme, 25-27 April 2007

Tait, J., and Mittra, J. (2006) ‘Singing from the same Hymn Sheet: Can Genomics Harmonise with Chemistry?’ CHEManager, August, 2006, p. 14

Mittra, J. (2005) ‘Pharmaceutical Industries: Do They Prefer Treatment to Cure?’ The Biochemist 27 (3): 32-34

Tait, J. & Mittra. J. (2005) ‘Big Pharma: Coping with Complexity’, ESRC Genomics Network Newsletter, Issue 2, June 2005

Tait, J. & Mittra, J. (2004) ’Industry Challenges’, Chemistry and Industry, 6 December, 2004, No. 23, p. 24

Mittra, J. & J. Sulston (2004) ‘Genetics and Insurance: Should We Legislate?’ Genomics Network Newsletter, Issue 1, September 2004: 9-12