photo of Catherine Will

Dr Catherine Will

Post:Reader in the Sociology of Science and Technology (Sociology)
Other posts:Senior Lecturer in Sociology (Sussex European Institute)

Telephone numbers
UK:01273 678449
International:+44 1273 678449

Research expertise:
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My research examines social and health care organisations and technologies, drawing on Science and Technology Studies (STS) and political sociology. I am particularly interested in knowledge production - how people experiment or develop their understanding of their world - and the moments when knowledge claims are linked with the negotiation of standards or policies, but also seeks to explore situations that are more about caring and doing than knowing including political mobilisation and social action.

I have experience in a wide range of methods, and enthusiasm for working with new ideas and in dialogue with medicine and the community and voluntary sector.

In my early research I contributed to debates about medical evidence, exploring tensions between cost effectiveness, epidemiology, pathophysiology and clinical judgement. After completing a PhD at Essex I won an ESRC/MRC postdoctoral fellowship in anthropology and public health at the University of Cambridge, working ethnographically to understand medical research with guidance from Professors Marilyn Strathern and Ann Louise Kinmonth. I subsequently built a rewarding collaboration with Dr Kate Weiner, at the University of Sheffield, researching ‘lay practices’ and products for heart health, including ESRC-funded research on over-the-counter statins and our current Leverhulme funded project on self monitoring for health - see website Tracking Ourselves.

I was a founding editor of the Cost of Living blog on the politics, economics and sociology of health and healthcare. I was on the board of the journal Sociology of Health and Illness since 2015, and since September 2018 have been a member of the editorial team. 

I will be on research leave from January 2019 to September 2022 working a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award with the title 'Marginalisation and the microbe: how can we attend to health inequalities while mobilising against antimicrobial resistance'. 



Reader in the Sociology of Science and Technology

Community and Business

I have been lucky to develop links with a range of organisations in the field of health and wellbeing, including charities, voluntary organisations and partnerships aiming to improve health in different ways both locally and nationally. The ESRC funded New Practices for New Publics project involved sustained collaboration and discussion with a range of community based organisations in Brighton, London and Sheffield including groups active in youth work, fuel poverty and food waste. We published an open access book on this work in 2017, which is available here.

I completed a report for the Brighton and Hove on their work around fuel poverty in 2018 together with Dr Mary Darking at the Univeristy of Brighton, and worked with Dr Nicolette Fox, Southern Water, Brighton and Hove City Council and the national Consumer Council for Water to improve understanding of domestic water use and affordability for people living in social (public) housing. 

Our current Leverhulme project, Tracking Ourselves, is studying self-monitoring practices and involves engagement with health care professionals in primary care, policymakers at NHS England and companies who produce and sell monitoring technologies, and well as extensive fieldwork with ordinary users of technologies to track weight and blood pressure.