Steve Yearley is Director of the Genomics Forum (officially the ESRC Genomics Policy & Research Forum) at the University of Edinburgh. He joined Edinburgh in 2005 as the Professor of the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge. He is primarily interested in social studies of science and in environmental sociology. Steve is particularly concerned with areas where these specialisms overlap: for example in environmental controversies with a pronounced scientific element (such as with recent disputes over the safety or otherwise of GMOs and the emerging concerns around synthetic biology) or, for example, in attempts to foster public engagement in technical decision-making in environmental areas (for instance, through his work on citizen engagement in urban air-quality issues).
Additionally, Steve has been closely involved – initially through the Wellcome Trust – with work on social aspects of human genetics and with social science questions relating to bioethics. When he first arrived in Edinburgh he was appointed Senior Professorial Fellow of the Genomics Forum. In September 2006 Steve took over as the Director of the Forum on full-time secondment from Sociology and he is now involved in a variety of projects dealing with genomics (broadly understood) and contemporary life science.
Steve has PhD students working – or just having completed their work – on a variety of topics including environmental modelling, conservation controversies, nuclear power and the ‘risk society’ in China, and environmental justice. He welcomes applications in all areas of science and technology studies, in environmental social science, and in social aspects of genomics and contemporary life science.
In addition to his work with the Genomics Policy & Research Forum, Steve works closely with colleagues in the STIS, in Sociology as well as in Innogen. He also retains research links with the Stockholm Environment Institute.