Dr Claire Marris
Senior Research Fellow
Key words: Governance of emerging science & technology; Responsible Innovation; Ethical Legal and Social Issues; Upstream Public Engagement; Public Participation; Interactive Technology Assessment; Public Understanding of Science; public risk perceptions; public controversies; environmental risk assessment; risk regulation; scientific expertise; biosafety; synthetic biology; genetically modified organisms, GMOs.
Research Interests: My research is in the area of social scientific study of bioscience, with a particular focus on the nature, role and translational possibilities of advanced biosciences and biotechnology, in particular genetic modification and synthetic biology. I am interested in the ways in which a field of bioscience, such as synthetic biology, comes to be defined and problematised in different scientific, regulatory, political and public arenas, through for example risk regulation, R&D policy, public engagement activities, and organised opposition by social groups. My most influential research has focused on understandings of risk and uncertainty among publics, scientists, and risk regulators; and critical assessments of methods for public participation in the governance of emerging biotechnologies.
I joined the BIOS Centre at the London School of Economics in October 2009 and moved to the newly created Department of Social Science, Health & Medicine in January 2012.
I have lived and worked in France and am an affiliate member of the Science en Societé Research Unit of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research and of the Institut Francilien Recherche Innovation Société
I have been asked to provide my expert opinion to a variety of British, French and international bodies, for example: The Royal Society, UK Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission, European Commission, European Science and Technology Observatory, French Ministry for Higher Education and Research; French Parliamentary Office for the Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Choices; French National Food Safety Agency.
I am experienced in the use of a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods (e.g. closed questionnaire surveys, more or less open-ended qualitative interviews, focus groups and participant observation). I am committed to using and developing research methods (such as sensitively run focus groups) that enable research participants to articulate and clarify their views, drawing upon their own frameworks and life experiences; and find that participant observation in scientific and policy-related settings provides me with precious data on expert problematizations of publics, risk, uncertainty, and science that would be difficult to obtain using other methods.
Many of my research activities have involved interdisciplinary collaboration between the social and natural/physical/engineering sciences, and I am engaged in critical reflection on such collaborations (see ESRC seminar series). I also choose to integrate active engagement of a wide range of stakeholder groups (scientists, policy makers, civil society groups, and affected communities) into my research and aim to inform and influence their practice.
MSc Science Policy, SPRU, Sussex University (1992)
PhD Plant Molecular Biology, Open University (1990)
BSc Biochemistry, Univeristy of Bristol (1984)
Pottage, A. and Marris, C. (2012) "The cut that makes the part". Biosocieties, 9(2):103-114
Marris, C. and Rose, N. (2012) "Let's get real on synthetic biology". New Scientist (11 June) No 2868, pages 28-29.
Joly, P.-J., Laurent, B. Marris, C. and Robinson, D. (2011). "Biologie de synthèse : conditions d'un dialogue avec la société". Report for the Science and Society section of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research, November 2011.[link to pdf]
Zhang, J., Marris, C., Rose, N. (2011). "The International Governance of Synthetic Biology: Scientific uncertainty, cross-borderness and the 'art' of governance". Working Paper prepared for the Royal Society Science Policy Centre, May 2011.
Marris, C. and Rose, N. (2010). "Open Engagement: Exploring Public Participation in the Biosciences" (Editorial). PLoS Biology, 8(11): e1000549.
Marris, C., Joly, P.-B., Rip, A. (2008). "Interactive Technology Assessment in the Real World: dual dynamics in an iTA exercise on genetically modified vines". Science, Technology and Human Values, 33:77-100.
Bonneuil, C., Joly, P.-B., Marris, C. (2008)."Disentrenching experiment: the construction of GM-crop field trials as a social problem in France". Special Issue on "Participatory Approaches in Science and Technology: Historical Origins and Current Practices in Critical Perspective", edited by Martin Lengwiler. Science, Technology and Human Values, 33:201-229.
Marris, C. (2001). "Public views on GMOs: deconstructing the myths". EMBO Reports, 2(7): 545-548.[adddoi]
Levidow, L., Marris, C. (2001). "Science and Governance in Europe: lessons from the case of agbiotech". Science and Public Policy, 28(5): 345-60.
Marris, C., Langford, I., O'Riordan, T. (1998). "A quantitative test of the cultural theory of risk perceptions: comparison with the psychometric paradigm". Risk Analysis, 18(5): 635-647. [adddoi]
Full list of publications