UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


RSA Forum for Technology, Citizens & the Market (2002 - 2005)

This collaborative project with the Royal Society of Arts and STS (Gregory, Lock and Agar), and members of science-based businesses from the RSA’s Fellowship, began by disseminating research into science communication and public engagement already undertaken by UCL. It continued with a series of topic-based meetings of Forum members, science communication and public engagement practitioners, policy-makers and academics, exploring topics including the media, risk, the public, regulation and transparency. These led to the creation of the RSA Forum for Technology, Citizens and the Market. Its Steering Group was chaired by Professor Malcolm Grant, UCL Provost.

The Forum brought together UK based companies (e.g. Nirex, Pfizer, AEA Technology, Qinetiq) associated with potentially controversial science/technology to discuss the social problems of introducing new technologies. The only such study with a business focus, the Forum held lectures, seminars and open working groups. The Forum developed a web-based tool that enables businesses to develop skills to build public engagement, and feed its outputs into business practice.

Outputs and Impact

RSA Forum for Science, Citizenship and the Market (2004) ‘What’s there to Talk About?: public engagement in science-based businesses’.  (London: RSA). 

This paper had a significant policy impact being cited in:

  • Food Ethics Council, Just knowledge? Governing research on food and farming, 1 December 2004
  • Demos – See through science: Why public engagement has to move upstream, Sept 2004
  • AEBC, What shapes the research agenda? 2005
  • People, Science and Policy, Reward and Recognition of Public Engagement, Report for the DIUS Science for All Expert Group, 11 November 2009)

Jane Gregory, Jon Agar, Simon Lock and Susie Harries (2008) ‘Public engagement in the private sector: a new form of Public Relations?’ Science Communication for the 21st Century, edited by Martin W. Bauer and Massimiamo Bucchi (London: Routledge).

Jane Gregory and Simon Jay Lock (2008), ‘The evolution of ‘Public Understanding of Science’: Public engagement as a policy tool in the UK’, Sociology Compass, 2/4, 1252 – 1265.