School of Social and Political Science

Dr Reuben Message

Job Title

Research Fellow

Picture of Reuben Message

Building (Address)

Chisholm House

Street (Address)

1 Surgeons Square

City (Address)


Post code (Address)


Research interests

Research interests

My research covers a range of issues: (1) The social study of mammalian synthetic biology, with a focus on research cultures; (2) The social and ethical relations of animal research, particularly how human-animal relations influence the making and performance of regulations; (3) Aquaculture in context, including it's historical, social, technological, economic and historical dimensions, especially in Scotland.

Current and recent projects

  • Engineering Biology for Cell and Gene Therapy (Responsible Research and Innovation) [2022 - , EPSRC/UKRI Transition Award]
  • Time pressures in academic-industry collaborations in mammalian engineering biology  [2023 - BBSRC/UKRI Transition Award Flexible Funding]
  • Survey of resources: History of Aquaculture [2023 - SRSF/University of Edinburgh] 
  • The Animal Research Nexus [2017 - 2022, Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award]
  • 'Suffer the Little Fishes?' Exploring UK biologists perceptions of the controversy about fish pain [2019 - 2020, Fell Fund Award, University of Oxford]

    See my Orcid and Pure profiles for more.


I studied Sociology at the Universities of Cape Town and Literature at the University of York, before completing an MSc in Biomedicine, Bioscience and Society at the London School of Economics. I then worked for two years at the research and advisory group Counterpoint in London, before beginning PhD studies, again at the LSE. I followed this up with a postdoctoral position at the Department of Geography, University of Oxford. I began at Edinburgh in September 2022.

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Friese C, Holmes T, Message R. Introduction to national cultures of animals, care and science. BioSocieties. 2023 Oct 12. Epub 2023 Oct 12. doi: 10.1057/s41292-023-00314-x
Palmer A, Greenhough B, Hobson-West P, Davies G, Message R. What do scientists mean when they talk about research animals ‘volunteering'? Society & Animals: Journal of Human-Animal Studies. 2023 Aug 11;1-22. Epub 2023 Aug 11. doi: 10.1163/15685306-bja10139
Message R. The Good Aquarist: Morality, emotions and expectations of care in zebrafish aquariums. In Davies G, Greenhough B, Hobson-West P, Kirk RGW, Palmer A, Roe E, editors, Researching Animal Research: What the humanities and social sciences can contribute to laboratory animal science and welfare. Manchester University Press. 2023
Message R. Animal welfare chauvinism in Brexit Britain: A genealogy of care and control. BioSocieties. 2022 Sept 10. Epub 2022 Sept 10. doi: 10.1057/s41292-022-00282-8
Palmer A, Message R, Greenhough B. Edge cases in animal research law: Constituting the regulatory borderlands of the UK's animals (scientific procedures) act. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. 2021 Dec;90:122-130. Epub 2021 Oct 5. doi: 10.1016/j.shpsa.2021.09.012
Message R (Author). Poster critters of animal research? Representations of fish in public engagement with animal research Animal Research Nexus. 2021.
Davies G, Gorman R, Greenhough B, Hobson-West P, Kirk RGW, Message R et al. Animal research nexus: A new approach to the connections between science, health and animal welfare. Medical Humanities. 2020 Dec 4;46(4):499-511. Epub 2020 Feb 19. doi: 10.1136/medhum-2019-011778
Palmer A, Greenhough B, Hobson‐west P, Message R, Aegerter JN, Belshaw Z et al. Animal research beyond the laboratory: Report from a workshop on places other than licensed establishments (POLEs) in the UK. Animals. 2020 Oct 13;10(10):1-14. 1868. doi: 10.3390/ani10101868
Message R, Greenhough B. ‘But It’s Just a Fish’: Understanding the challenges of applying the 3Rs in laboratory aquariums in the UK. Animals. 2019 Dec 3;9(12):1-25. 1075. doi: 10.3390/ani9121075
Message R. [Review of] Model behavior: animal experiments, complexity and the genetics of psychiatric disorders. New Genetics and Society. 2019;38(2):243-246. Epub 2018 Aug 31. doi: 10.1080/14636778.2018.1515622
Message R (Author). Policy-based evidence making Index of Evidence. 2019.
Message R. “The disadvantages of a defective education”: Identity, experiment and persuasion in the natural history of the salmon and parr controversy, c. 1825–1850. Science in Context. 2019;32(3):261–284. Epub 2019 Dec 12. doi: 10.1017/S0269889719000255
Message R (Author). Becoming Legal Animals: Larval forms under ASPA Animal Research Nexus. 2018.
Message R. Newcomers to the farm? [Review of] Marianne E. Lien, Becoming Salmon: Aquaculture and the Domestication of a Fish. Humanimalia. 2017 Mar 20;8(2):177-185. doi: 10.52537/humanimalia.9636
Message R. Reading, deconstruction and technological excess: Thoughts on JM Coetzee’s ‘Hero and bad Mother in Epic, a poem'. Synthesis/Sintezis. 2011;83-100.