Science and Technology Studies


STS offers degrees at each university level: undergraduate, masters, and PhD

Dr Melanie Smallman

Dr Melanie Smallman


Dept of Science & Technology Studies

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Nov 2013

Research summary

Melanie's research focuses on the social impacts of science and technology and how these impacts shape public views around new and emerging technologies and public policy. In particular, Melanie is interested in the role of science and innovation in increasing economic inequality, how this affects public attitudes and how this can be accounted for in ethical frameworks and public policy. 

Melanie is currently a Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute where she is developing a 'Multiscale Ethics' framework that sets out to help account for the sociological effects, such as inequality, of AI developments into ethical evaluations. 

Melanie is also PI and coPI on two Horizon2020 projects (SISCODE and SCALINGS) which look at the potential of co-design to engage wider voices in technology and policy development.

Melanie's Phd thesis examined the impact on policy of ten years of public dialogue on science and technology.

Teaching summary

In 2019-20 Academic year Melanie is teaching "Nanosciences and Society" (Term1), "Investigating Contemporary Science" (Y3 Term 2) and "Science in Government" (Y2 Term 2), as well as convening the MSc "Social Research Methods and Data Analysis" module (Term 1) and contributing to "The Big Problems" Module (Y1 Term1).

Melanie is Chair of the Board of Examiners for the Department of Science and Technology Studies.


University College London
FHEA, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education | 2018
University College London
PhD, Science and Technology | 2015
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
MSc DIC, Science Communication | 1993
University of Warwick
BSc Hons, Virology | 1992


Dr Melanie Smallman is a Lecturer in Science and Technology Studies and Co-Director of UCL's Responsible Research and Innovation Hub.

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 was a communications advisor to Defra's Chief Scientific Adviser, tasked with rebuilding public confidence in Defra's use of science in the aftermath of BSE and foot and mouth disease. At Defra, 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 environmental campaign SERA and is committed to engaging the public in issues around air quality. Through this role, she has worked closely with politicians on environmental policy development both in government and opposition and has written on issues including energy democracy. She was a Councillor in London for 10 years and a parliamentary candidate in 2005.

Melanie has a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from UCL, an MSc in Science Communication from Imperial College London and a BSc(hons) in Microbiology and Virology from the University of Warwick.  She is a former Fellow for the Science, Technology and Society Programme at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) in 2016 and is currently a Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute.