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Pru Hobson-West

Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

Dr Pru Hobson-West is Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham. She is also an Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, and previously held an Honorary Appointment in the School of Biosciences. Pru's research work is based in Centre for Applied Bioethics (CAB) and the Institute for Science and Society (ISS). From January 2019, Pru will also work as a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick.

Pru holds an MA Hons (Politics, First Class) from the University of Edinburgh, and a PhD and PGCHE from the University of Nottingham. In 2006 she was a Visiting Fellow at the JFK School of Government, Harvard.

Expertise Summary

Dr Pru Hobson-West is a social scientist with expertise in the fields of science and technology studies, medical sociology, and animals and society.

She has published on fields including vaccination (of humans and animals), the use of animals as laboratory models, and questions of consent in veterinary practice. Her vision is to encourage social scientists to engage with animal medicine, and to encourage practitioners including natural scientists and clinicians to engage with social scientific methods and theories.

Teaching Summary

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

Research Summary

I currently have two interrelated areas of research: Animals as consumers, and producers of, contemporary biomedical science. I investigate these empirical areas using concepts and methods from… read more

Recent Publications

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 other PGCHE candidates at Nottingham.

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. She is currently working to develop new teaching in animals and society.

Pru has significant experience of postgraduate research supervision (of social scientists, scientists and clinicians) and would welcome approaches from interested students.

Current Research

I currently have two interrelated areas of research: Animals as consumers, and producers of, contemporary biomedical science. I investigate these empirical areas using concepts and methods from science and technology studies, medical sociology and animals and society.

ANIMALS AS CONSUMERS OF MEDICINE

The first research area studies the veterinary clinic as a key site of animal and veterinary ethics, and, in particular, seeks to understand the role of the veterinary professional. I was lead supervisor for Vanessa Ashall (Wellcome funded) who was awarded a clinical fellowship to explore the social and ethical issues raised by companion animal blood donation. For an example of an output, please see the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iw9xqaw7rdU I also co-supervise two further PhD projects under this theme: the role of the vet in Antimicrobial Resistance (Leverhulme funded) and the question of informed consent in veterinary medicine (ESRC funded, Birmingham). I am also developing work which focuses on the use of vaccines in veterinary medicine.

ANIMALS AS PRODUCERS OF MEDICINE

The second stream of my work seeks to understand debates around animal experimentation.This began through a personal fellowship (Wellcome Trust funded) to explore how stakeholders, including laboratory animal scientists, draw boundaries between ethics and science. This work then expanded through PhD supervision of Michelle Hudson-Shore (FRAME funded) who looked at the feasibility of phasing out primate use, and Kath Job (Wellcome Trust funded) who focused on the use of ethical review committees and lay members in UK animal research governance. From 2012 until 2017 I worked on the relationship between animal research governance and public participation. This was part of the wider Leverhulme programme (2012- 2017) led by the University of Nottingham entitled 'Making Science Public' -http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/sociology/research/projects/making-science-public/index.aspx.

In 2017 Pru was awarded a Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award. This is a 5 year programme of work on 'The Animal Research Nexus: Changing Constitutions of Science, Health and Welfare'. This major grant is led by Professor Gail Davies (University of Exeter), with Dr Pru Hobson-West (Nottingham), Dr Beth Greenhough (Oxford University), Dr Rob Kirk (University of Manchester) and Dr Emma Roe (University of Southampton). Please see the following website for more details www.animalresearchnexus.org. Work at Nottingham is led by Dr Hobson-West and focuses on questions of professionals in the lab, and the role of publics.

METHODS AND CONTACT

In terms of methods I have a reputation for the use of in-depth interviews on sensitive topics. Overall I have experience in the use of qualitative methods to analyse documents, websites, focus group and interview data. I also have experience in the use of the Ethical Matrix, a novel tool developed for ethical engagement. http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/bioethics/ethical-matrix.html

Please email me for more information about any of these streams of work. I am particularly keen in contributing to projects/ publications at the interface of science and technology studies, medical sociology and ethics.

Future Research

I am 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.

School of Veterinary Medicine and Science

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Leicestershire, LE12 5RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 951 6116
fax: +44 (0)115 951 6415
email: veterinary-enquiries@nottingham.ac.uk