Lancaster University

This is archived news from Lancaster University. You can find up-to-date stories in our current news section.

Think tank leader appointed to IAS

06/06/2006 10:45:10

A senior figure from one of the UK’s most influential think tanks has taken up a post at Lancaster University’s Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS).

James Wilsdon
James Wilsdon

James Wilsdon, Head of Science and Innovation at Demos, has recently been appointed as a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute. He will divide his time between Demos and the University.

IAS was opened by Frances Cairncross CBE, Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council and Rector of Exeter College, Oxford, on November 29, 2005. It takes its inspiration from the famous Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

The £3.5 million building was designed to create communal research areas, offices and conference facilities for academics giving them much needed time and space for new ideas and interdisciplinary research.

At IAS, James will be responsible for developing research on science and innovation policy. He will also establish new projects on the governance of emerging technologies – addressing in particular some of the social and ethical questions raised by advances in nanotechnologies and neuroscience. He will be a keynote speaker at the IAS International Conference on the Knowledge Based Economy in August 2006.

He said: “The IAS is exciting because it wants to bridge the gaps between different disciplines, and between academia and other sectors. Lancaster University has an outstanding track record of research into the social dimensions of science and technology. It also has a reputation for creative engagement with government and public policy. I want to build on these strengths by helping the IAS to develop as a hub for policy-engaged social science.”

James is a respected commentator on science policy and has authored or co-authored a range of publications, including: See-through Science: why public engagement needs to move upstream (Demos, 2004); The Public Value of Science (Demos, 2005); Better Humans: the politics of human enhancement and life extension (Demos/Wellcome Trust 2006); and Digital Futures: living in a networked world (Earthscan 2001).

He regularly advises government, and has undertaken projects for the Cabinet Office, Defra, DTI, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Office of Science and Innovation, Foresight, the Environment Agency and the European Space Agency.

He has a first class degree in philosophy and theology from Oxford University and a PhD in sustainable technologies from Middlesex University.

Professor Bob Jessop, Director of the IAS, said: “We are delighted to welcome James as a core member of the IAS research community. He brings proven ability to link cutting-edge and innovative research with the concerns of policy-makers and key stakeholders and to communicate his findings to many different forces for change. He will not only strengthen our existing capabilities but also enable us to consolidate our research on emerging technologies and science.”

- IAS International Conference website
- IAS website