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Carmen McLeod

Research Fellow, Responsible Research and Innovation, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences



Dr Carmen McLeod is a social anthropologist with a particular interest in the governance of emerging new technologies. She was awarded her PhD in 2005 from the University of Otago, New Zealand. During and after her doctoral studies, Dr McLeod worked at the Centre for Sustainability (CSAFE) at Otago, and was involved in various projects covering issues such as sustainability of agricultural practices in different farming systems, and public perceptions of the development of GM salmon and other novel biotechnologies. Dr McLeod relocated to the UK at the start of 2007, and has built up experience in policy and research governance through roles at the General Dental Council and the University of Sussex. She moved to the University of Nottingham in February 2013 to take up a 30-month contract role as Research Fellow on the Leverhulme Trust Making Science Public Programme, working on the project: 'Animals and the Making of Scientific Knowledge'. In July 2015, Dr McLeod was appointed as Research Fellow working on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), within the Nottingham Synthetic Biology Research Centre. In this latest post, she has been exploring and mapping the implementation of RRI within a synthetic biology context. In June 2017, Dr McLeod is moving to the University of Oxford to take up the post of Postdoctoral Research Assistant on the social dimensions of the microbiome.

Research Summary

Carmen took up the role of Research Fellow, Responsible Research and Innovation, in the University of Nottingham's Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) at the end of June 2015. Carmen is working… read more

Recent Publications

Current Research

Carmen took up the role of Research Fellow, Responsible Research and Innovation, in the University of Nottingham's Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) at the end of June 2015. Carmen is working closely with Dr Alison Mohr and Emeritus Professor Brigitte Nerlich (School of Sociology and Social Policy), to facilitate the SBRC's commitment to implementing Responsible Research and Innovation within its research programme. The main aims of this research are:

- To map synthetic biology research within the SBRC in order to understand the potential risks and benefits of the research for society. This will form a baseline from which to start engaging the research team, industry stakeholders and wider society in RRI and to anticipate future developments and challenges.

-To use participant-observation, interviews, workshops and focus groups in order to work towards embedding RRI in the distinctive Nottingham SBRC environment, while also observing, recording and mapping the process as it unfolds.

- To discover what are the challenges and stumbling blocks along the way; what are the successes and contributions that an RRI framework can make. We plan to use publications (e.g. research reports; briefing notes and academic articles) for a range of audiences to share findings of this work and get progressive feedback that links back into the project.

- To foster dialogue and reflection between the SBRC's research community, social scientists, outreach experts, industry stakeholders and wider society and foster interdisciplinary collaboration and engagement.

Carmen also has a particular interest in multi-species ethnography as a novel methodology for exploring human-microbial relationships.


Carmen is interested in 'slow travel' and the increasing impact of the 'tyranny of speed' on mobility choices.

She is also still actively researching in the area of governance of animal laboratory research (see Past Research).

Past Research

Carmen was a Research Fellow funded through the Leverhulme Trust Programme: Making Science Public: Challenges and Opportunities from Feb 2013 until end June 2015. She worked on a project with Pru Hobson- West (PI), called, 'Animals and the Making of Scientific Knowledge'. This work focused on several research areas. One looked at the public consultation launched by the Home Office in 2011, which sought to gather views on the UK implementation of the EU Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. This research explored: To what extent does legislative and democratic consultation make animal research science public, and how are definitions of 'science', 'politics' (and ethics) reconfigured in this process? Other key areas of research related to the recent drive for greater transparency and openness in animal research, as well as investigating the growing influence of a new science-society policy discourse 'Responsible Research and Innovation' and how this might impact on debates about animal laboratory use.

School of Life Sciences

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham NG7 2UH

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