Welcome to an open Pufendorf IAS Guest Researcher Seminar with Eleanor Hadley Kershaw (Synthetic Biology Research Centre , University of Nottingham)

The seminar is part of an open seminar series with guest researchers working with Themes at the Pufendorf IAS.

Every year, the Institute welcomes interdisciplinary Themes with members from across all faculties at Lund University. The Themes invite international researchers to work with them on site, in Lund. In 2022, the Theme Synthetic Biology has been joined by Elenor Hadley Kershaw, who will be working closely with the Theme troughout September. In this seminar, she presents her work to a wider audience in a 40 - minute talk, followed by an open discussion. Coffee and tea will be served, and all are welcome!


Eleanor Hadley Kershaw is a Senior Research Fellow in the Synthetic Biology Research Centre at the University of Nottingham, where she leads the Interdisciplinary Responsible Research and Innovation Group, conducting a programme of social science research across several interdisciplinary UK- and EU-funded projects. She works at the intersection of science and technology studies and environmental humanities, with current research interests in science and innovation governance, sustainability and circular bioeconomy, and multispecies relations in the Anthropocene. She will contribute to the Synthetic Biology Theme with expertise in interdisciplinarity and responsible innovation in synthetic biology for carbon recycling.


"In the face of climate change, environmental pollution, and global health challenges, microorganisms are increasingly deployed to repair damaged ecologies at a range of scales, from bioremediation of oil spills to ‘living medicines’ for the treatment of infection and disease. In the multidisciplinary field of synthetic biology, the development of engineered ‘microbial factories’ for the conversion of biomass, solid waste, and greenhouse gases into materials, chemicals, fuels and food is heralded as a means of addressing industrial carbon emissions, reducing societal reliance on fossil resources, and creating sustainable, circular bioeconomies. Researchers and companies aim to engineer bacteria, fungi, archaea, and algae to (more efficiently) use feedstocks such as carbon dioxide to produce commercially valuable chemicals, plastics and other products that would otherwise be made using non-renewable petrochemical resources.

While these emerging biotechnologies offer potential solutions to urgent problems, they also prompt a range of social, political, ethical and cultural questions, such as whether there are other ways of framing the issue and the solution; what it means to engineer living organisms or to replace existing production chains; whether there could be unintended consequences; who (or what) might benefit or be harmed; who has the power to decide which technologies are (or are not) developed; and who is able to use them.

‘Responsible innovation’ is an approach to the governance and practice of research and innovation that aims to explore these questions and more closely align science and technology with societal needs and values. This talk reflects on four years of interdisciplinary social scientific engagement with synthetic biology; an experiment in putting responsible innovation into practice".
Period2022 Oct 22
Event typeSeminar
LocationLund, SwedenShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational