UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


STS examines science communication and its effectiveness


Dr Simon J Lock


Simon J Lock is a Lecturer in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at University College London. His research focuses on science in public, the governance of science, and the sociology of new technologies. 

His focus is interdisciplinary examining the public dimensions of new science and technology from sociological, historical and policy-related perspectives. Past work has largely focused on the public understanding of science, science communication, public engagement with science and technology. More recent work considers public attitudes to, and the policy dimensions of, new technologies. 

Current projects include the ESRC funded project on public consultation, knowledge and nationally significant infrastructure projects. He has also worked on projects concerned with public engagement with science and technology for the Royal Society, the RSA and the Government Office of Science and has worked for the Wellcome Trust on researcher attitudes to public engagement.

Dr Simon Lock

Dr Simon Lock



  • Lecturer
    Dept of Science & Technology Studies
    Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL


My research interests focus on the governance of science and technology with a particular focus on the historical, sociological and policy-related questions around the public dimensions of science and technology. Currently my research falls into three broad areas:

Public understanding of, and engagement with, science and technology

I have spent a decade studying the history and sociology of the public understanding of science movement in the UK and its impact on science policy, particularly public engagement with science.

My PhD, funded by the ESRC, was a sociological and historical study of the different actors, concepts and discourses of public understanding of science in the UK. Drawing on documentary analysis and interview data, it examined how the concepts of ‘the public’, ‘science’ and the relationship between science and public, have been constructed and contested by different professional groups. It identified four distinct phases of debate since 1985 and related these recent concerns within a broader historical context of debates over the relationship between science and the public. I am currently working on a book which will cover the history of the Public Understanding of Science movement and beyond in the UK from 1985 - present day. It will be published by Ashgate in 2014.

Governance of new technologies

I am part of a multidisciplinary research team working on a UCL Grand Challenges project on the Governance of Climate Change Technologies. The project is exploring the role of governance and public involvement in low-carbon technologies. We are currently conducting further research as part of the ongoing project.

I was also part of a multidisciplinary research team at UCL, who, under the Grand Challenges Research have been conducting research into Carbon Governance. I have been researching public attitudes and behaviour towards wind energy and nuclear energy in the UK, and examining policy initiatives which attempt to change human behaviour towards a low-carbon economy

I have also conducted research into public attitudes to, and involvement in, genomics, as part of the UEL/UCL qualitative survey of public attitudes to genomics (2005), which was part of a wider project hosted by the University of Surrey and funded by the ESRC and more recently t

Representation and display of science

I am currently conducting research with Dr Angela Cassidy (Imperial College) and Dr Georgina Voss (RCA) on the display and representations of sex in the museum setting, with an examination of the Sexual Natures exhibition at the Natural History Museum. 

Science and Sexualities

As a side interest I am also currently conducting research with Dr Angela Cassidy (Imperial College) and Dr Georgina Voss (RCA) on the relationship between scientific research and sexualities, particularly examining the co-construction of both. We are particularly interested in the potential for STS as a discipline to engage with this research area.

Award year Qualification Institution
Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
Institute of Education
2009 PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
Science Communication and Policy
University of London
2001 MSc
Master of Science
Science, Culture and Communication
Birkbeck College
2000 BSc
Bachelor of Science
Human Sciences
University College London