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Dr Christopher Groves

Dr Christopher Groves

Research Fellow

School of Social Sciences

+44(0) 29 2087 0466
8.04, Tower Building, 70 Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a sociologist and social philosopher, specialising in the understanding of risk and uncertainty, the ethics and social impact of technological change (most recently, focusing on decarbonisation), and the relationship between science and society. I am also very interested in environmental issues, and their significance for theories of well-being and accounts of ethical relationships with future generations. I have published widely on these themes in journals such as Science, Technology and Human Values, Futures, Environmental Politics and Energy Research and Social Science, and also on technology-connected topics in normative ethics. I am enthusiastic about academics engaging with audiences outside the university, and have a strong track record of organising and participating in such activities.

Many of my research interests are brought together in my most recent book Care, Uncertainty and Intergenerational Ethics (publ. date 10/12/2014, with Palgrave). I am currently working on a monograph for PCCS Books examining the nature of collective harm.

I'm comfortable with being a TV or radio guest, and have appeared on television programmes such as ITV Wales This Week.


I studied philosophy and sociology, first at the University of York, UK (BA, 1993) and then at the University of Warwick, UK (MA, 1995).

I received my PhD in Philosophy, with a thesis focusing on knowledge, subjectivity and time in German Idealism and contemporary French philosopy, in 2000.

I worked as a Research Associate at Cardiff with Prof. Barbara Adam on her professorial fellowship, In Pursuit of the Future, from 2005-2007.

I then joined the ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) in 2008, before moving to the Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen) in 2011, where I worked until 2013, when I joined the Understanding Risk Group.

Honours and awards

International Award for Excellence in the Humanities 2006, awarded by New Directions in the Humanities.

Professional memberships

  • Member of Editorial Board, Futures (Elsevier)
  • Member of Advisory Board, Nanotherapeutics for Antibiotic Resistant Emerging Bacterial pathogens (NAREB)
  • FP7 project, Prof Brigitte Gicquel, institut Pasteur, France, February 2014 – January 2018

Academic positions

Previous positions at Cardiff University:
  • April 2011 – July 2013 Research Associate at Cesagen (Centre for Ethics and Social Aspects of Genomics and Epigenetics)
  • March 2008 – March 2011 Research Associate, BRASS, (ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society)
  • August 2007 – March 2008 Research Associate, School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies
  • July 2005 – July 2007 Research Associate, School of Social Sciences

Speaking engagements

(2021) invited talk 'Power to the People – decarbonisation of energy for industry and society', Wales Climate Week, 23 November 2021

(2021), invited discussant on panel ‘Do We Expect Scientists to Care?’, convened by Stephen Hughes, Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) annual conference, 6-9 October 2021.

 (2021), ‘What are futures made of?’, Panelist at ‘Politics of the Future: Theoretical Approaches in STS’, chaired by Jeroen van Oomen, Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) annual conference, 6-9 October 2021.

(2021), ‘Towards a Sociology of Stolen Futures’, Panelist at President’s Special Session ‘Whose Futures? Perspectives on Future Sociologies’, chaired by Susan Halford, BSA 2021, 14 April.

(2019) 'Flourishing for the Future: Anticipation as Meta-Capability', CREA Seminar, 25 April , Orebro University, Sweden

(2017) ‘Care Ethics and Uncertain Futures', UEA Philosophy Research Seminar, 2 March.

C. Groves (2014), “Delegating the future: ethics, uncertainty and algorithms”, Risk Futures: Advances in Understanding, Calculating and Managing Risk, 20-21 November 2014, University of Durham, UK

(2014), "Delegating the future: ethics, uncertainty and algorithms", Risk Futures: Advances in Understanding, Calculating and Managing Risk, 20-21 November 2014, University of Durham, UK

(2014), ''I've decided it's best to be confused': the co-evolution of technological infrastructures & future imaginaries in a West Wales low-impact community', 6th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies (SNET), 21-14 September, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany.

(2014), "'Care for the future' and re-embedding technological innovation", 6th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies (SNET), 21-14 September, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany.(2014), "Energy Biographies: Researching sustainable energy, inventing sustainable futures?", Futures in Question: Austerity Futures, 11-12 September, Goldsmiths College, London, UK

(2014), "Transformation and the psychosocial: biographies of attachment & energy practices", Lifecourse Transitions: Opportunities for Sustainable Lifestyles?, 15-16 July, University of Surrey, UK.

(2014), "Risk, Uncertainty, and Concern for Future People", Department of Philosophy Research Seminar, Cardiff University, 12 February.

(2014), "The place of care in an experimental society", New Technologies as Social Experiments workshop, 3TU: Centre of Excellence for Ethics and Technology, TU-Delft, 23-24 January 2014.

(2013), 'Personal Genomics: standardization as making a space for innovation', Standardization as space(s) for innovation, IFRIS/DIM International Workshop, 12-13 December 2013, Champs-sur-Marne, France

(2013), "Futures in the making", Hay Festival 2013, 24 May.

(2013) "Robot and Frank: Attachment and Identity", Cardiff sciSCREEN, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, 20 March 2013.

(2012), "Is it all about risk? Learning the right lessons from GM for nanofoods", Ne3LS Research Network 1st Annual Conference, HEC Montréal, Montréal, Canada, 1-2 November (invitation from British High Commission, Canada).

(2012) "Horizons of care: from future imaginaries to responsible innovation", 4th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies (SNET), 22-25 October, University of Twente, Netherlands

(2012), 'Understanding technological convergence: lessons from personal genomics', Challenges to Researching, Engaging & Governing the Messiness of Convergence - ESRC Genomics Network workshop, Edinburgh, 27-28 Sep 2012.

(2011), 'Promises-Prophecy-Prediction', From Bench to Brain,  BayArt, Cardiff, 31 October – 4 November,

(2011), "Nanotechnology in the UK: future scenarios and adaptive governance", FoodDrinkEurope Fourth Nanotechnology Stakeholder Dialogue Day, Hotel Silken Berlaymont, Brussels, 5 October 2011.

(2011), "Regulating Nanotechnology in the UK: An Overview and Prospects", Products, Privacy and People: Regulating on the Nanoscale, Biocentre Symposium, House of Lords, 28 February 2011.

(2010), "Der Golem and Vitalism", Cardiff sciSCREEN, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, 31 October 2010.

(2010), "The Political Imaginary of Care", Thinking (With)Out Borders II: The St Andrews International Political Theory Conference, 1-2 July, University of St Andrews.

(2010), "The public perception of nanotechnology: is it all about risk?", Nanomaterials 2010, Hotel Russell, London, 9-10 June 2010.

(2008). "Future Conflicts: On The Politics of Uncertainty", Transformation and the Dynamics of (Radical) Change: Insights from Political Theory and Philosophy, School of Politics, International Studies & Philosophy, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, 28-29 November.

(2008), "Narratives, Uncertainty and Nanoethics", Cardiff University NanoNet Meeting 2008, Julian Hodge Lecture Theatre, Cardiff University, 13 November.

(2008), "Living with Uncertainty: the Limits of 'Risk Thinking'", Future Ethics Workshop 2: What Price Security?, Lincoln Theological Institute, University of Manchester, 19 September.

(2008) "Environmental Futures and Value Conflicts", Understanding Conflicts, Aarhus University, Denmark, 19-22 August.

(2008) "Care, Fear and Precaution: Learning to Live with Uncertainty", The New Sciences of Protection - Designing Safe Living, Lancaster University, 8-9 May.

(2007) "The Humanities and the Shaping of Social Futures", International Humanities Conference, American University of Paris, Paris, 18 July 2007,

(2006), "Taking Responsibility for the Future: Care and Value Conflicts", Conflict and Identity: On Conflict Resolution, Department of Philosophy, Aarhus University, Denmark, 23-24 November 2006.

Committees and reviewing

Grant proposal reviewer

  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • Wellcome Trust
  • Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Belgium)
  • Swiss National Science Foundation
  • OSF (Poland)

Journal article reviewer

  • Bioethics
  • British Journal of Sociology
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Environmental Science & Technology
  • Futures
  • Geoforum
  • Hypatia
  • International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society
  • Journal of Consumer Culture
  • Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning
  • Journal of Responsible Innovation
  • Journal of Risk Research
  • Nanoethics
  • Nature and Culture

Book manuscript reviewer

  • Palgrave Macmillan
  • Polity Press
  • Springer

















Since 2016 I have worked on the Flexible Integrated Energy Systems (FLEXIS) project, working with colleagues from the School of Engineering ant Cardiff and other colleagues from the Universities of Swansea and South Wales (, looking at the social impact of new energy technologies (a work package led by Professors Nick Pidgeon and Karen Henwood. Previously I worked on the linked Energy Biographies project ( The Flexis work is developing a Responsible Innovation framework for the UK transition to a more sustainable energy system and exploring how best to enable communities within Wales and elsewhere to participate in planning and decision making for this transition.

Responsible Innovation has been a central research interest of mine in this post and in previous posts at Cesagen, BRASS and in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff. I have contributed significantly to its development as a research area in the UK, and continue to publish work on Responsible Innovation more generally as a thematic area in social science and also in the philosophy of technology.

A further strand of work deals with the consequences for people's well-being of experiences of uncertainty arising from socio-environmental disruption. I am interested in how such experiences have implications for traditional understandings of harm, a theme to be addressed in a new book to be published by PCCS Books in 2023, provisionally entitled How we suffer: towards an understanding of collective injury.


I am interested in supervising PhD students and Masters dissertation students in the broad areas of:

  • Science and technology studies
  • Sociology of the environment
  • Ethics of technology
  • Sociology of risk and uncertainty

Past projects