UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


Smallman, Melanie

Melanie is currently a Fellow in the Science, Technology and Society Programme at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and is a deputy director of the Responsible Research and Innovation hub at UCL.

Melanie's research looks at how the public form views around new and emerging science and technology, the impact of these views on public policy and how expert advice is conceived and used in policymaking. Her Phd thesis examined the impact on policy of ten years of public dialogue on science and technology. 

Melanie is also founder and Director of the UK's first science communication consultancy, Think-Lab and has led a number of innovative science communication and science policy projects. For 8 years she provided communications advice to Defra's chief scientific adviser, where she led and managed a small team of communication professionals who developed and implemented a communications strategy that aimed to change the media backdrop against which Defra crises took place, to improve the way in which crises were dealt with and to communicate those changes more widely Melanie was also Project Director of SmallTalk, organising a series of public dialogue events on nanotechnology and was a Dialogue and engagement specialist for ScienceWise, specialising in using mainstream and digital media to encourage debate. She was a member of the Nanotechnology engagement group which provided advice to the UK government and has also advised the OECD and the European commission on nanotechnology policy.

Melanie is also Chair of SERA, the environment campaign and has worked closely with politicians on environmental policy development both in government and opposition. She has co-written a book on community energy with former shadow energy minister Caroline Flint MP and is a member of Labour's National Policy Forum. She was a Councillor in London for 10 years and a parliamentary candidate in 2005.

Publications and presentations
Peer reviewed papers

Smallman(2014) Public Understanding of Science in turbulent times III: Deficit to dialogue, champions to critics

Simon J. Lock, , Melanie Smallman, Maria Lee, Yvonne Rydin (2014) “Nuclear energy sounded wonderful 40 years ago”: UK citizen views on CCS. Energy Policy Volume 66, March 2014, Pages 428–435.

Enscot (2003) The European Network of Science Communication Teachers. Public Understanding of Science 12: 161-183.

Other publications
Lincoln, P., Jöborn, A., Smallman M., Thornber, K. and Westberg L.(Alphabetical author list). (2010). An Assessment of the Lessons learned in the communication and dissemination of emerging scientific issues to environmental policymakers. Environment Agency, UK.

Smallman, M (2009). Getting Heard - A Writing Guide for Scientists and Engineers in Government. Government Office of Science, Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

Smallman, M (2009). Working with the Media. Sciencewise Expert Resource Centre, Department of Business Innovation and Skills.

Smallman, M., Nieman, A. (2006) SmallTalk, Lessons in discussing nanotechnologies.

Conference papers

Smallman, M. Magnusson, KS. (2012) The problem with symmetry of learning in public dialogue about nanotechnology. Science in Public Conference. London, UK.

Smallman M. (2010) Lessons learned in the communication and dissemination of emerging scientific issues to environmental policymakers. PCST 2010, Delhi, India.

Smallman M. ( 2008) Smalltalk: Discussions between scientists and the public
OECD Conference on Nanotechnology and the Public, Delft October 2008.

Smallman M. (2008) Communicating environmental science in digital media. Communicate Conference, Bristol. October 2008.

Smallman, M., Wilson R. Influencing policy. (2005) British Science Association Science Communicators Conference 2005.


Can science be part of the solution if it is part of the problem? Guardian, February 2015

We need a Science Fit for the Challenges of Our Future Guardian 2 August 2013.

Let's be Clear about Science Education and Engagement (with Simon Lock). Guardian 8 July 2013.

Beyond the ringfence Research Fortnight 28 March 2013.

View from the top: In Mammon we trust. Could banker bonuses benefit research? Research fortnight 15 February 2012

View of the budget: The ‘safeguarded’ science budget provides no safety at all. Research fortnight 16 March 2011

Greens bury their heads in sands of technology. Research fortnight, October 2011.

Melanie Smallman