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Science and society: A career and professional development course
Science and society: A career and professional development course

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5 Contributors to the course

Giskin Day lectures on the Humanities undergraduate programme on the course ‘Communicating Science: the media and the public’ at Imperial College London. She also co-ordinates and lectures on the Medical Humanities taught option for fourth-year medical students. She originally trained as a botanist in South Africa and worked at Blackwell Science as a copy editor on medical journals before joining the Science Museum where she was publications officer. She has an MSc in Science Communication from Imperial College London. She also teaches on the Birkbeck Diploma in Science Communication and has contributed to the Open University's postgraduate science courses, Science and the public and Communication science in the information age.

Richard Holliman is Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at the Open University (OU), UK and production course team chair of Communicating science in the information age. After completing a PhD investigating the representation of contemporary scientific research in television and newspapers in the Department of Sociology at the OU, in 2000 he moved across the campus to the Faculty of Science. Since that time he has worked on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate course teams, producing mixed media materials that address the interface between science and society. He edited (with Eileen Scanlon) Mediating science learning through ICT (2004, Routledge) and, more recently (with Jeff Thomas) a special issue of the Curriculum Journal (17: 3) on science learning and citizenship. He is a member of the OU’s Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology and is leading (with colleagues) the Informing Science Outreach and Public Engagement ( and (In)visible Witnesses ( research project teams.

Matthew Harvey manages the Science in Society programme at the Royal Society. Part of the Society’s Policy Section, the programme explores social and ethical dimensions of science, and works with policy-makers, scientists, industry, stakeholders and members of the public in taking account of these dimensions in science decision-making. Matthew came to the Royal Society following a two-year stint as a Research Fellow at the ESRC Genomics Research and Policy Forum, University of Edinburgh, leading a work package on social and ethical aspects of animal genomics. Before that, he completed a PhD at Cardiff University investigating the nature and role of expertise in public debate and policy on genetically modified crops.

Alan Irwin is Dean of Research at Copenhagen Business School. His PhD is from the University of Manchester and he has held previous appointments at Manchester, Liverpool and at Brunel University. Alan currently chairs the UK BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) Strategy Panel on ‘Bioscience for Society’. Alan Irwin has published widely on issues of science and technology policy, risk, and science-public relations. His books include Risk and the Control of Technology (Manchester University Press,1985), Citizen Science (Routledge, 1995), Sociology and the Environment (Polity, 2001), and (with Mike Michael) Science, Social Theory and Public Knowledge (Open University Press, 2003). He was also co-editor (with Brian Wynne) of Misunderstanding Science? (Cambridge University Press, 1996), and co-author of The Received Wisdom (Demos, 2006). His most recent research has been on the governance of science – including work with the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on ‘lay’ advice in the policy process.

Richard Jones, FRS, is Professor of Physics at the University of Sheffield. He is an experimental polymer physicist concentrating on the properties of polymers at surfaces and interfaces. His interests in nanotechnology include its potential impact on society, which has involved collaboration with social scientists, and involvement in ‘upstream public engagement’ activities.

Jeff Thomas is a senior lecturer within the Department of Life Sciences at the Open University. He has worked at the OU all his professional life, contributing to a wide range of teaching initiatives in biology and in health sciences, and more recently to a range of projects concerned with contemporary science issues and on the relationships between science and different publics, at both undergraduate and Masters level. He co-edited Science Today; problem or crisis (with Ralph Levinson) and The Science Good Study Guide, and (with Richard Holliman) co-edited a special issue of the Curriculum Journal (17: 3). His research interests are concerned with the influence of contemporary science controversies on public attitude, on conceptual problems of learning biological science, and in public involvement in science-based policy-making. He also teaches part-time for Birkbeck College, University of London on its Diploma in Science Communication.

Bob Ward is Director of Global Science Networks at Risk Management Solutions Ltd. He previously worked for the Royal Society where he led the media relations team. He has published a number of articles examining news media reporting of climate change, including: ‘The Royal Society and the debate on climate change’, in Bauer, M. and Bucchi, M. (eds) (2007), Journalism, science and society, Routledge.

Stephen Webster studied zoology at Bristol University before taking an MPhil in the philosophy of science at Cambridge. He trained as a science teacher and worked for many years in London schools. During that time he also freelanced as a science writer, concentrating especially on writing for children, and on radio drama. Three of his plays were broadcast by BBC radio, and he won a Glaxo/ABSW science writing prize in 1993. In 1995 he became co-director of the Birkbeck College Diploma in Science Communication. He currently lectures in science communication at Imperial College as a member of the Science Communication Group.