SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

photo of Andrew Stirling

Prof Andrew Stirling

Post:Professor of Science & Technology Policy (SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School, The Sussex Energy Group)

Telephone numbers
UK:01273 877118
International:+44 1273 877118

Research expertise:
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Growing up around southwest England and in Singapore in the 60s and 70s, my undergraduate studies at Edinburgh started out in astronomy, then shifted thro' 'science studies' to a masters in archaeology and social anthropology. I then worked as a field archaeologist and ecology and peace activist in the 80's, going on to co-ordinate the nuclear, disarmament and energy campaigns for Greenpeace International, then later serving on national and international Greenpeace boards. I’ve also worked variously as a building labourer, laboratory technician, hospital porter and factory, farm and mental health care worker. Returning to academia, my doctorate at SPRU was in science and technology policy, where I've worked since 1995 as an interdisciplinary "policy-engaged" researcher, trying to wrestle with challenges of empowerment, environment and human wellbeing in the politics of knowledge and innovation. The 'research' tab here gives key research questions, but the general idea is to assist in efforts to 'democratise progress'. 



Formerly Research Director for SPRU (2006-13) and the University of Sussex Business School (2009-2012), my current work here involves research and postgraduate teaching on democracy and sustainability in science and technology. Among many projects, I co-direct the ESRC-funded joint IDS-SPRU STEPS Centre, am Deputy Director for the DEFRA-funded joint Surrey-Sussex Research Group on Sustainable Lifestyles, and the Director of a spin-off University Enterprise on Multicriteria Mapping. A longstanding member of the Sussex Energy Group, I'm SPRU PI for collaborative initiatives on governance of climate geoengineering and the discontinuing of technological systems. I'm also involved in projects on reframing general concepts of security, understanding energy security, mapping science systems and exploring 'responsible innovation'.  I serve on the Research Committee of the ESRC and on editorial boards for the Journal of Risk Research, Minerva, Nature EMBO Reports, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management and Environmental Innovation and Societal Transition.


Community and Business

Over the years, I've collaborated with a variety of public, business and civil society organisations, serving on several governmental advisory bodies. Internationally, these include the UN IHDP Integrated Risk Governance Initiative, the EU Energy Consultative Committee, Science in Society Advisory Committee and Expert Groups on 'Science and Governance', 'co-operative research' and the Future of Science in Society. In the UK, I've served on the statutory Advisory Committee on Toxic Substances, the DEFRA Science Advisory Council, the GM Science Review Panel, the Royal Society 'Brainwaves' project and the Nuffield Council Emerging Biotechnologies Working Group. I'm presently on the steering group for the UK BIS Sciencewise Programme. Work with civil society organisations includes memberships of Boards for Greenpeace International, Greenpeace UK and the Global Energy Observatory. I'm presently seeking to build a non-profit, public interest enterprise to develop and establish a novel tool for 'opening up' strategic appraisal, called multicriteria mapping.