AsSIST-UK PhD Prize 2021 Award Announced

The AsSIST-UK Executive Committee is delighted to announce that this year’s award goes to Dr Mat Vidmar of the University of Edinburgh.

Mat’s thesis is on Scottish Space Sector and Innovation; A PERIpatetic study of an emerging innovation system and the roles of innovation intermediaries

The Committee commended him for his work noting:

The thesis’ objective was to determine how and where STS and IS can be brought together. It does so through building its conceptual argument over a series of chapters focused around the Scottish space sector. The thesis offers a novel problem-driven strategy for doing this based on the concept of the ‘PERIpatetic Approach’and a multi-level perspective from macro to micro levels, and the role of innovation intermediaries/networks therein. The thesis has led to a number of published papers and a book. The thesis has involved close engagement with those scientists/technologists in the field itself not simply as data sources but as co-producers of some of the ideas and their application not least through the ongoing Social Dimensions of Outer Space Network. The policy impact is very strong at University, regional, and national levels.

Mat also published most of his doctoral work in a series of papers – Dr Matjaz Vidmar at Google Scholar

He also recently published a book: Innovation Intermediaries and (Final) Frontiers of High-tech: Supporting the New Space Sector in Scotland

More information on the AsSIST-UK PhD Prizes can be found here.

4S President-Elect, Alondra Nelson, appointed to Biden’s Cabinet

Joe Biden has announced that Professor Alondra Nelson will join the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as deputy director for science and society: see ‘Inspired choice’: Biden appoints sociologist Alondra Nelson to top science post ( She is the president-elect for 4S, the Society for the Social Studies of Science. See the report on the 4S website: President’s Message, January 2021 – Society for Social Studies of Science (

STEPS Centre at Sussex completes its fifteen year programme of work

The STEPS centre which has made a major contribution towards our understanding of pathways to sustainability comes to an end in 2021 after fifteen years of ESRC core funding along with significant income from other agencies. Its co-Directors, Andy Stirling (AsSIST-UK member) and Ian Scoones, have prepared a very informative reflection on the centre’s work and its legacy for the future. The role of both the IDS and SPRU at Sussex has been key to its success. The Centre’s 2010 ‘Manifesto’ has had a major impact on policies for sustainability. You can read more at: The STEPS Centre’s final year: reflections on a 15-year journey – STEPS Centre (

POST’s Sept/October Newsletter and Programme

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology has just published its latest Newsletter and planned programme of work. Some of the themes in the programme map on to A-UK members’ areas of expertise, so worth having a look through.


STS and Public/Policy engagement

Maggie Mort, Vicky Singleton and Alison Lloyd-Williams at the Department of Sociology and Centre for Science Studies at Lancaster University have just launched a VR film they have created based on the account of those caught in the floods earlier this year, work undertaken for the ESRC-funded project Children, Young People and Flooding. This offers a novel approach to STS and public/policy engagement.

Further details are available at