Professor Robert Evans
Director of Teaching and Learning
My academic home is in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS), and my interests are in the nature and use of expertise. This translates into questions about the sorts of knowledge needed to make decisions, who possesses it and how it is shared and acted upon.
Within STS, my work has played a central role in founding what has been called 'Studies of Expertise and Experience' or the 'Third Wave of Science Studies.' The characteristic features of this approach are a more 'realist' approach to expertise that emphasises the role of tacit knowledge and and the development of a more explicitly normative approach through which STS scholars can to contribute to technological decision-making in the public domain.
- Editorial Board Member: Social Studies of Science; Methodological Innovations Online
- Member of Society for Social Studies of Science (4S)
- Referee for journals including SSS, ST&HV, PUS, AJS, ASR, Minerva and BJS; and for grant awarding bodies including ESRC, NSF and Research Council of Norway
- Fellow of Higher Education Academy (formerly ILT) since 2003
Invited speaker at the following conferences and workshops:
- Experimental Social Science Workshop (Helsinki, April 2014),
- Exploring Museum Expertise (Tromso, Nov 2013),
- Why not epistocracy? Political legitimacy and "the fact of expertise" (Oslo, April 2013),
- Experts and Consensus in Economics and the Social Sciences (Bayreuth, May 2012),
- STS and the Social Sciences (Seoul, October 2011),
- Scientific Authority within Democratic Societies (Vancouver, June 2011),
- Capturing Security Expertise (Copenhagen, June 2011),
- Bucharest Dialogue conference on 'Expert Knowledge, Prediction, Forecasting: A Social Sciences Perspective' (Bucharest, November 2010),
- Brazilian STS summer school (Belo Horizonte, August 2009),
Previous projects have included a study of economic forecasters advice to the UK government, the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to develop sustainable energy plans for cities, public debate in the UK (or the lack of it) about the single European currency, the emerging politics of medical genetics and the value of deliberative research methods as way of promoting public engagement with science.
My current research is focussed around two main themes:
- Studies of Expertise and Experience (SEE) with Professor HM Collins. The basis of this work is the typology of expertise set out in the ‘Third Wave of Science Studies’ paper and developed most fully in Rethinking Expertise. This has led to a number of case studies and an on-going project to set out the political implications of the Third Wave. Further details of this work can be found on my expertise page or the ALL @ SEE website;
- The Imitation Game. One of the most productive spin-offs of the work on expertise has been the development of the Imitation Game. Originally conceived as a proof-of-concept test for the idea of interactional expertise, the Imitation Game is now the focus of a €2.26M Advanced Research grant from the ERC and the inspiration for an app called Masquerade. Further details of this work can be found on my Imitation Game page, the ‘Expertise Network’ blog, and the ALL @ SEEwebsite
Previous research that I am still writing and thinking about, mainly in the context of the expertise project, includes:
- deliberative methods and public participation, drawing in particular on the ‘Talking Treatments’ project originally carried out as part of QUALITI, the Cardiff node of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods
- public (non)debate about the single European currency;
- *the nature of interdisciplinarity, particularly in the context of research into sustainablity.