Dr. Adrian Ely
Aside from teaching responsibilities (see Teaching tab), I also act as Deputy Director and Head of Impact and Engagement at the STEPS Centre (a collaboration between SPRU and IDS), and co-investigator in the Centre for Bioneworking, which looks at responsible innovation in the Life Sciences. From December 2013 I am also co-investigator on the STEPS-affiliate project Low Carbon Innovation in China – Prospects, Politics and Practice. This new project, led from Lancaster University, is an international collaboration between researchers in the UK and leading institutions in China to investigate different models of innovation and their role in low carbon transitions. I will be leading a case study examining high-tech (GM) and agro-ecological agriculture, which builds on several aspects of my earlier work, described below. I sit on the external advisory board of York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI). I am on the Steering Committee of the Sussex Asia Centre, and in academic year 2014-15, I organised the Sussex China seminars. In the first phase of the STEPS Centre, I was involved in two projects. I convened Innovation, Sustainability, Development: A New Manifesto, a project that drew upon the expertise of colleagues at SPRU and IDS and also involved our partner institutions across the world. The project commemorated the fortieth anniversary of the Sussex Manifesto by putting together a new and forward-looking vision for science, technology and development in 2010. The ideas and networks from the Manifesto project are being taken forward through the impact and engagement work in the STEPS Centre’s second phase (2011-2016). I also worked on the “Rethinking Regulation” project. With Chinese partners, we investigated the regulation of seeds and drugs at international, national and sub-national levels, and talked to farmers and patients in order to better understand how these regulatory frameworks and their associated assumptions translated to the rural realities where the technologies are actually being used. My interest in biotechnology regulation and governance, and the research methods used in the Rethinking Regulation project (including backward-mapping) are being taken forward in my work on bionetworking. Prior to STEPS, I was involved in the European Commission FP6-funded integrated project “Safe Foods”. Working with colleagues from SPRU (Andy Stirling), Dialogik (Ortwin Renn and Marion Dreyer) and the University of Maastricht (Ellen Vos and Frank Wendler), the research centred on addressing the challenges of uncertainty and public engagement in European food safety governance. In 2006 I finished writing up my doctoral research, which since 2001 had been supported by an ESRC-NERC interdisciplinary studentship. My DPhil project was concerned with the use of scientific evidence in the regulatory appraisal of genetically modified insect resistant crops. I focussed on specific ecological issues associated with the deliberate release of Bt maize (corn) in four case-study countries; the US, UK, France and Austria. By drawing on the theoretical approaches of critical science and social constructivism, and the wider literature around risk and uncertainty, my study examined the role that science does, can and should play in decision-making over Bt maize and new technologies more generally.