The Matter of Facts: Skepticism, Persuasion, and Evidence in Science Gareth Leng and Rhodri Ivor Leng MIT Press (2020)

This new book is worth a look – written by STS scholar Rhodri Leng and his father, an experimental physiologist – and there’s a useful summary in today’s Nature (good to see the journal happy to publish this sort of reflexive, critical text). Read the review here

AsSIST-UK PhD Prize for 2020

The Executive Committee of AsSIST-UK is delighted to announce that the winner of this years AsSIST-UK PhD Prize is Dr Aaron Amankwaa, from the Department of Applied Sciences at Northumbria University.

The thesis was seen to contribute towards our understanding of the dynamics of technology governance and theoretically interrogates the overlapping areas of the social embedding of technology in both STS and innovation studies. It also makes clear links with legal studies. The mix of qualitative methods used was strong and includes a participatory angle from both expert and lay perspectives. The thesis has implications for the international discourse over appropriate management of sensitive technical data, and therefore raises significant questions about the relationship between human rights and innovation.

Aaron has published various papers from the thesis, as follows:

  1. Amankwaa, A., & McCartney, C. (2020). Gaughran vs the UK and public acceptability of forensic biometrics retention. Science & Justice, 60(3), 204–205. 
  2. Amankwaa, A. O. (2020). Trends in forensic DNA database: transnational exchange of DNA data. Forensic Sciences Research, 5(1), 8-14. 
  3. Amankwaa, A. O. (2019). Towards a reformed policy for immigrant DNA tests, a commentary. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 66, 117–119. 
  4. Amankwaa, A. O., & McCartney, C. (2019). The effectiveness of the UK national DNA database. Forensic Science International: Synergy, 1, 45–55. 
  5. Amankwaa, A. O., & McCartney, C. (2018). The UK National DNA Database: Implementation of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Forensic Science International, 284, 117–128.  
  6. Amankwaa, A. O. (2018). Forensic DNA retention: Public perspective studies in the United Kingdom and around the world. Science & Justice, 58(6), 455–464.  

More details about Aaron’s work can be found on his personal website

AsSIST-UK Virtual Workshop June 2020

STIS in a post-COVID-19 world

We have decided to postpone the national AsSIST-UK meeting until next Easter. We are instead organising a virtual workshop in mid-June around the theme of how STIS can contribute towards recent debates around COVID-19. 

The workshop will invite STIS scholars to explore how STIS approaches can provide insight and especially a forward look on the transition into a post-Covid19 world.

Speakers will focus on topics such as transitional dynamics and the socio-technical uncertainties seen during the pandemic and how these have already been explored by members of AsSIST-UK

Details of the meeting will be circulated soon. We plan to run it as a panel of around three speakers, and a follow-up Q&A session via Zoom. The whole event would last about 90mins.

A provisional date has been set for June 18th. Please hold this date in your diary and await further details.

Latest POST work programme

New POST Work Programme published

A-UK members are invited to review the latest Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology’s Work programme. You will see that there are a number of themes that are close to Members’ expertise. Apart from the four agreed POST Notes, there are many areas in development to which Members may wish to contribute. See the Work Programme at:

Book Launch: Can Markets Solve Problems?

From education to health and from climate change to privacy, attempts have been made to solve numerous public problems through markets. A pervasive response from scholars has been offered through critiques of neoliberalism and its relative degree of coherence as a political programme of action. In ‘Can Markets Solve Problems?’ Daniel Neyland, Sveta Milyaeva and Véra Ehrenstein propose a different route forward.

See more details about the event to mark the publication of this STS-based book. One of the authors, Daniel Neyland, is a member of AsSIST-UK.

Responsible Innovation in Health

In Fieri, a research programme, coordinated by Professor Pascale Lehoux at the Department of Health Management, Evaluation and Policy, University of Montreal, which is focused on developing a new approach to RRI called Responsible Innovation in Health, has just published its latest newsletter, available at:

Andrew Webster is a member of the programme’s international advisory board.

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology: socio-technical challenges ahead

The House of Commons/Lords Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology has just published a set of commentaries on policy areas that pose challenges for the future. There are a number (such as in health, energy etc) that relate to the Association’s work in STIS. In addition, POST has announced its topics for future work to which Members’ can contribute. Contact details for POST staff working on each area are provided.

The report can be found at file://userfs/ajw25/w2k/Downloads/POST-PB-0033.pdf and the scheduled work ahead here: