Director of IASH, the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities 2017 - 2022
Professor of the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge
MA (Cantab & Oxon), PhD (York), FRSE
Steve Yearley was the Director of IASH from 2017 to 2022, and holds the Chair in the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge in STIS, the subject area of “Science, Technology and Innovation Studies”.
Steve is well known for his work in social studies of science and in environmental sociology. He 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).
Having moved to Edinburgh in 2005 with an appointment in Sociology, Steve soon took over the role of Director of the ESRC Genomics Policy & Research Forum. He then moved to STIS in 2013, before being offered the IASH post in summer 2017.
Steve has supervised PhD students working on a variety of topics including environmental modelling, on-line expertise, 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 in IASH and STIS, Steve is also the Executive Secretary to SCRR (the Scottish Consortium for Rural Research) which links the principal institutions concerned with environmental and agricultural research in Scotland (website). He also co-founded SKAPE, the centre for the study of Science, Knowledge and Policy which links science studies with political science and social policy at the University of Edinburgh (website).