Pru Hobson-West is Professor of Science, Medicine and Society in the School of Sociology and Social Policy, and an Honorary Professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at the University of Nottingham, UK. Pru is Director of the Institute for Science and Society, an interdisciplinary research centre with members from across the University community. Please see https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/iss/
Pru Hobson-West holds a first class MA (Hons) in Politics from the University of Edinburgh, and a PhD and PGCHE from the University of Nottingham. In 2019 Pru was also a Visiting Academic at the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, and was previously a Visiting Fellow at the JFK School of Government at Harvard. Pru is a social scientist with expertise in the sociology of health and illness, and a reputation for work on topics including vaccination and human-animal relations in the lab and in the clinic. In 2017, Pru's leadership in interdisciplinary research was recognised in her appointment to the University of Nottingham's Research Leaders Programme. In 2019, Pru became the academic lead for the University of Nottingham's new Wellcome Academy, designed to improve engagement with the Wellcome Trust.
Professor Hobson-West has significant experience of stakeholder and public engagement. She also has outreach experience including media appearances on BBC Radio 4 (2016), BBC Radio Nottingham (2021), and Notts TV (2023).
Professor Pru Hobson-West is a social scientist with expertise in the fields of science and technology studies, medical sociology, and animals and society. Her work focuses on controversial or sensitive areas of medicine. She has published on fields including vaccination (of humans and animals), the use of animals as laboratory models, and questions of consent in clinical practice. She is interested in applied research which demonstrates the value of qualitative methods, and breaks down barriers between research, engagement and policy change.
Pru has experience of teaching qualitative methods, science and technology studies, social theory, research ethics and veterinary ethics. In January 2015 Pru was awarded Fellow Status of the Higher… read more
Pru Hobson-West's current work focuses on a wide range of topics connected to themes around vaccination and animals and society. She investigates these empirical areas using concepts and methods from… read more
PALMER, ALEXANDRA, GREENHOUGH, BETH, HOBSON-WEST, P., DAVIES, GAIL and MESSAGE, R., 2023. What do scientists mean when they talk about research animals “volunteering”? Society and Animals.
ANDERSON, A. and HOBSON-WEST, P., 2023. Animal research, ethical boundary-work, and the geographies of veterinary expertise Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 491-505
Pru has experience of teaching qualitative methods, science and technology studies, social theory, research ethics and veterinary ethics. In January 2015 Pru was awarded Fellow Status of the Higher Education Academy after successfully completing her PGCHE qualification. Pru now acts as peer assessor for candidates at the University via the Nottingham Recognition Scheme.
From 2010 until 2018, Pru taught veterinary ethics within the Animal Health and Welfare (AHW) and Personal and Professional Skills (PPS) modules at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. She also acted as embedded module convenor for ethics and professionalism, and was previously co-convenor for PPS1 and PPS2 and convenor for PPS Year 3. Pru also established year 5 rotation teaching in ethics.Through her Honorary posts, Pru continues to contribute to teaching in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science and the School of Biosciences.
Pru's current teaching in the School of Sociology and Social Policy is delivered as part of modules entitled 'Controversy: Experts, Post-Truth and Fake News' (year 2) and Society, Health, Tech and Environment (year 1). Professor Hobson-West has significant experience of postgraduate research supervision (of social scientists, scientists and clinicians) and would welcome approaches from interested students. She has an extensive track record of supporting students working on interdisciplinary projects.
Pru Hobson-West's current work focuses on a wide range of topics connected to themes around vaccination and animals and society. She investigates these empirical areas using concepts and methods from science and technology studies, medical sociology and veterinary ethics. A profile page is available at https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/sociology/research/researcher-profile/index.aspx
In terms of methods, Pru has a reputation for the use of in-depth interviews on sensitive topics. She also has experience in the use of the Ethical Matrix, a novel tool developed for ethical engagement. http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/bioethics/ethical-matrix.html For details of a recent engagement project please see https://www.labanimallabels.co.uk/
EU Horizon 2020 (2021-2024) VAX-TRUST: Addressing vaccine hesitancy in Europe. Led by University of Tampere, Finland, and 9 international partners (CI). Website is here https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/groups/vax-trust/index.aspx
ESRC IAA (2020) Labelling medicines as tested on animals? Creative ways of engaging with animal research. Funding to take part in ESRC Festival of Social Sciences 2020 (PI). New mini website now at https://www.labanimallabels.co.uk
Wellcome Trust/University of Nottingham (2020-2022). Controversies in human and animal vaccination. Wellcome Trust Prime Scholarship. (PI)
ESRC (2019-2022) DTP Collaborative Studentship (in collaboration with the RSPCA). Ensuring the social legitimacy of animal research: Comparing public and policy expectations. (PI)
Wellcome Trust (2017-2022) Collaborative Award in Humanities and Social Science: Animal Research as Nexus: Changing Constitutions of Science, Health and Welfare, with Gail Davies (Exeter), Beth Greenhough (Oxford), Rob Kirk (University of Manchester) and Emma Roe (University of Southampton). (CI) Please see https://animalresearchnexus.org/
EU Horizon 20/20 (2017-2022). VetBioNet: Veterinary Biocontained Facility Network for Excellence in Animal Infectiology Research and Experimentation. (CI) Awarded to INRA, France (Co-ordinator), Kate Millar (Biosciences, Nottingham PI), Pru Hobson-West and 29 international collaborators (CI) Please see https://www.vetbionet.eu/
Dogs Trust (2017-2019) MRes Studentship: Welfare of homeless people and their dogs: exploring relationships and access to services. Studentship awarded to Louise Scanlon (CI).
ESRC (2015-2018) DTC studentship, awarded to C. Gray (Birmingham). Informed consent in veterinary practice (Second supervisor).
ESRC Impact Accelerator Award (2016-18). Improving UK animal research governance: Delivering effective ethical review. (PI, with Penny Hawkins, RSPCA). Please see https://science.rspca.org.uk/documents/1494935/9042554/AWERB+forum+for+discussion+booklet.pdf/36fdb4db-8819-cbd3-89ec-c9a7e67bf07c?t=1583938525299
Wellcome Trust (2015) Society & Ethics Meeting Fund. Understanding laboratory lives: Developing a collaborative agenda for humanities and social scientific research on laboratory animal welfare (CI),
WellcomeTrust (2013-16) Research Fellowship for Health Professionals, awarded to V. Ashall. Using animals to benefit animals: How should the UK veterinary profession manage the social and ethical implications of the clinical use of donated healthy animal blood and tissue? (Primary supervisor)
Dairy Co (2012-17) Infectious Disease Control in Dairy Cows. Collaborator for workpackage on dairy cattle vaccination (PhD secondary supervisor).
Leverhulme Trust (2012-17) Making Science Public: Challenges and Opportunities (CI) Project - Animals and the Making of Scientific Knowledge. Please see https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/sociology/research/projects/making-science-public/
Wellcome Trust (2007-2011) PhD Studentship in Biomedical Ethics, awarded to K Job for Ethical Review Processes in Biomedical Research Using Animals (CI, then PI).
Masterfoods (2007) People Park and Pets: Exploring…Canine obesity (CI).
Wellcome Trust (2006-2009) Personal Fellowship in Biomedical Ethics, for Ethics and Extremism: The use of animals in biomedical research. (PI).
Pru is currently involved with several grant applications on animal ethics/ animals and society/vaccination and would welcome approaches from prospective PhD students or researchers on potential research topics under these headings. She is particularly keen in contributing to projects/ publications at the interface of science and technology studies, medical sociology and ethics. Pru has significant experience of supporting staff and students working on highly interdisciplinary projects, and those wishing to transition into social science.