Initial nominations invited for the Andrew Webster Ph.D. Prize for 2023.

AsSIST-UK awards an annual prize for a PhD thesis that demonstrates outstanding quality in the STS/Innovation Studies field. The Prize is dedicated to the memory of AsSIST-UK co-founder, Prof. Andrew Webster. The 2022 prize of £250 was awarded to Daniel Robins of the University of York. The Prize is awarded in September.

Outline nominations are invited from members of Assist-UK, to be submitted via a web form.

Click here for more information and to make a nomination

ECR Spring Writing Retreat, 21-28 April 2023, Scottish Borders (Melrose)

The AsSIST-UK ECR Group is pleased to announce a week-long writing retreat in Melrose in the Scottish Borders. We’ll be staying at Harmony House, a beautiful venue owned by the National Trust of Scotland and we have space for 12 early career academics and scholars. We hope that the house and lovely gardens will provide the perfect space for some productive writing on a project of your choosing.

The retreat combines solo writing sessions, facilitated STS sessions designed for ECRs, and collaborative activities.

Apply below – deadline 15th March 2023!

Solo sessions give participants time to work or write on projects of their choosing. STS sessions provide opportunities to learn about and discuss topics, methods or skills with a senior member and will cover current European STS research group activities, collaboration skills, publishing and public engagement tools. Collaborative activities include practical and recreational activities like large-scale cooking or guided nature walks, to give participants time to network, identify collaborative possibilities, talk about their work in a new context, and relax.

This year we have the venue for longer than we have done previously, as we recognised that we often only just get stuck into a writing project when it is time to leave!

The event is kindly being funded jointly by the University of Edinburgh and EASST. As a result, we are able to cover the costs of accommodation and most of the food provided. Travel bursaries for domestic travel within the UK are also available for those without access to other external funding.

How to apply

To apply for a space, please complete our online form by 15th March:

You must have a writing project to work on and be a Masters or PhD student, or within 5 years of receiving your PhD, engaging in research in a topic relating the broad fields of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Innovation Studies.

AsSIST-UK ECR Group: 2023 Quarterly ECR Sessions

AsSIST-UK’s ECR Group have organising a series of events particularly designed with the early career scholar in mind. These sessions are being held throughout the year and are nearly all online so they can be as accessible as possible. They engage with topics or skills which are likely to be of interest to academics, scholars and researchers working in Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Innovation Studies and who are looking to explore new methods or concepts or to position themselves as researchers in new surroundings.

Here is the full calendar of events:

Use the links above to sign up to the events – we look forward to seeing you there!

Andrew Webster Lecture & ECR Summer School 2022

Guildhall, York | 7th Septmeber 2022

The Univerity of York is hosting Andrew Webster Annual Lecture in celebration of the life and contribution of AsSIST-UK’s co-founder, Professor Andrew Webster (1951-2021). 

The lecture will be given by Professor Klaus Hoeyer, University of Copenhagen on the topic of Health in space: Making sense of the experience of data-intensive cross-border healthcare

Klaus is Professor of Medical Science and Technology Studies at the Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies (MeST), University of Copenhagen. He has worked with a range of topics in medical STS, including biobanks, ethics regulation, stem cell research, organ and tissue transplantation. More recently he has focused on data politics and what he calls ‘intensified data sourcing’ in everyday healthcare.

In addition to the lecture, the format for this first event will include a small panel of invited participants offering their reflections on Andrew and his intellectual contributions. We will also use the occasion to award the Andrew Webster Prize made by AsSIST-UK for an outstanding PhD in STS/innovation studies.


On the same day – 7th September, we invite Early Care Researchers (ECRs) to join a day of activity at The Guildhall in York with and for ECRs as part of a programme of activities organised by AsSIST-UK (the UK Association for Studies of Innovation, Science and Technology) to support ECRs in the post-pandemic period.

Planned plenary and small group sessions include developing your post-doc career; publication strategy, funding application workshop and “rent-a-mentor”. Refreshments and lunch will be provided. Thanks to generous support from the University of York, Science and Technology Studies Unit/Sociology, there is no charge for participation.


We hope that participants will be able to secure funding for travel and accommodation costs. There is a modest bursary for those unable to secure support. Please email:

In Memoriam

Prof Andrew Webster (1951-2021)

We have learned with the greatest sadness of the passing of our dear colleague and friend, Professor Andrew Webster.

Andrew played a key role in establishing the UK Association for Studies of Innovation, Science and Technology (AsSIST-UK) after a long career devoted to supporting the scholarly community at the University of York and beyond.

These few words cannot express how much he has given to all of us – academically and personally – and how much he will be missed.

Our hearts go out to his family and many close friends and colleagues.

In sorrow and with deep affection,

Robin, Barbara, Rachel, Anne Marie, Katerina, Julia and Matjaz
AsSIST-UK Executive Committee

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 (