The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Matthias Wienroth

Research & Innovation Fund Research Associate

Background

Introduction

I am a Science and Technology Studies (STS) scholar, engaging with scientific practitioners, publics & policy-makers.

My first foray into STS was as part of my Ph.D. study on research practices and identities in the research and innovation field of nanotechnology. Continuing this particular strand of work on new and emerging science and technology, I subsequently joined a research project at Durham University, which attended to the governance of nanoscale research via UK science policy. As part of this work I was awarded a Robert W. Gore Materials Innovation Project Scholarship (Chemical Heritage Foundation).

In 2011, I moved to Newcastle University to work on medical technology governance issues; and to Edinburgh University to attend to aspects of genomics in society, where, at the ESRC Genomics Policy & Research Forum, I was principal investigator on a pilot project bringing together artists and scientists, work funded by Creative Scotland and Edinburgh University. This fuelled my interest in art-science as an area of cross-boundary knowledge production, an aspect of my work I have also expanded into public and practitioner engagement since.

From the second half of 2012 onwards, until the end of 2016, I was part of the Framework Programme 7-funded Network of Excellence EUROFORGEN, exploring with colleagues the social and ethical aspects of innovations in forensic genetics. One outcome of this work has been the publicly available guide "Making Sense of Forensic Genetics."

Since 2015, I have been coordinating my collaborative Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) "Seminar Series on genetics, technology, security and justice: Crossing, contesting and comparing boundaries” with colleagues from Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham Universities.

Before starting my current post at PEALS, I was Research Fellow at King's College London, studying epistemic aspects of integrating health research and care in the UK national health system on the case of patient recruitment practices into clinical research.

Qualifications

Ph.D. in Sociology, Newcastle University, UK, 2005-08

Mag.A. in Political Science, and in Adult Education, Leipzig University, Germany, 2002-05

Membership

European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST)

Languages

English, German

Research

Research Interests

My research focuses on epistemic and ontological questions of science and technology as social practices - that is, I explore the role of science and technology in social and societal contexts. I am particularly interested in studying disciplinary, cross-disciplinary and cross-boundary knowledge production and organisation, their social & ethical aspects, and issues of governance here.

In my current work I focus on innovations in genetics and genomics, e.g. on forensic technologies utilising DNA to make inferences about unknown persons. As part of this work I engage in debates about social compatibility and ethical deliberation with scientific practitioners and decision-makers, in the UK, Germany, and internationally.

I also work on exploring technology identities, public perceptions of science and technology fields, governance issues, and the organisation of research in healthcare contexts (e.g. on the idea of the Learning Health System, understanding the ambitions of integrating health care and research, and on patient experiences with and perceptions of health technologies).

For access to my publications please see eprint.ncl.ac.uk.

I also use Twitter to talk about my research and related issues via @photomao.


Funding

2017 - GPS School Small Research Grants: 'Baseline mapping of UK key stakeholders in genome editing and their views on ethical and social aspects of research and application for this field.' £975 (2017/18) (PI)

2015 - ESRC Research Seminars and Strategic Networks Competition: 'Seminar series on genetics, technology, security and justice. Crossing, contesting and comparing boundaries.' £30,284 (2015-2017) (PI)

2014 - HEIF Public Engagement and Impact Fund, Northumbria University. £2,250 (Co-I)

2014 - Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies e.V. Speaker Grant. €450

2013 - FP7 EUROFORGEN Network of Excellence Travel Fellowship. €1,000

2012 - Creative Scotland grant: 'Art-science, creativity & promotion of public understanding of the life sciences in Scotland.' £5,840 (Co-I)

2011 - College of Humanities and Social Sciences Knowledge Exchange grant, Edinburgh University: 'Knowing post/genomics through photo-poetry.' £3,184.50 (PI)

2011 - EPSRC Impact Acceleration Fund: 'Metalhip. Using patient experiences to improve medical engineering design.' £25,000 (2011-2012) (PI TJ Joyce)

2009 - Robert W. Gore Materials Innovation Project Scholarship, Chemical Heritage Foundation. US$5,000

2007 - FP6 Nano-2-Life Network of Excellence Mobility Programme. £1,973

Teaching

Teaching experiences

Since 2015, I have provided fora for scientific practitioners to learn more about social and ethical aspects of forensic genetics, aiming to enhance practitioners’ capacity for ethical deliberation in their scientific work.

I have taught on social, ethical & regulatory aspects of forensic technologies uses in the criminal justice system on B.Sc. and M.Sc. programmes in Forensic Science.

Previously, I had taught on various modules as part of the B.A. in Sociology.

Publications