Martyn Pickersgill

Last name

Research Interests

I am a sociologist of science, technology and medicine. To date, my research has focused primarily on the social, legal and ethical dimensions of biomedicine and the health professions. In particular, my work has considered the sociologies of epigenetics, neuroscience, and mental health (supported through a range of funders, including the AHRC, ESRC, Leverhulme Trust, Newby Trust and Wellcome Trust). I am Wellcome Trust Reader in Social Studies of Biomedicine, Edinburgh Medical School.

Current Research Involvement

I hold a Wellcome Trust University Award concerned with the future of diagnosis in psychiatry, and the politics of psychiatric knowledge production. I previously held a Wellcome Trust Fellowship to research the social and ethical dimensions of initiatives to increase patient access to psychological therapy, and have also been supported by the Wellcome Trust to explore issues around epigenetics, ethics and society. I was previously part of the Manchester/Edinburgh Wellcome Trust Strategic Award in Biomedical Ethics, ‘The Human Body, Its Scope, Limits and Future’. I have been Principal Investigator of a Leverhulme Trust project on 'Neuroscience and Family Life: The Brain in Policy and Everyday Practice'. This developed an earlier ESRC project (on which I was Co-Investigator) and a Newby Trust Fellowship (held in Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities), both of which explored issues pertaining to the social life of neuroscience. I have been Co-Investigator on two AHRC projects on science, law and society.

Other Responsibilities/Activities

At Edinburgh, I am a founder member (and Associate Director) of the Centre for Science, Knowledge and Policy (SKAPE), and am also a member of the Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and Law, and the Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation (ISSTI). I am an associate of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (CCACE) and the Innogen Institute, and the Nottinghamshire Health Care NHS Trust/University of Nottingham Institute of Mental Health (IMH). I have been a visiting scholar at a range of institutions, including Harvard University (supported by the ESRC), the University of Groningen (supported by the ESF), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (supported by the RSE), and the US National Institutes of Health (supported by the NIH).

I am an invited member of the Editorial Boards of Current Sociology and Engaging Science, Technology & Society, and Book Reviews Editor for New Genetics & Society. Until 2016, I will be the UK representative for the ALLEA (European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities) Permanent Working Group on Science and Ethics; I am also a member of the BBSRC Bioscience for Society Strategy Panel. I have participated in and co-organised a range of public engagement events, and received funds to support these activities from the ESRC and Wellcome Trust (including as a Wellcome Trust 75th Anniversary Public Engagement Ambassador). I am an inaugural member of the Young Academy of the Royal Sosicety of Edinburgh, and in 2015 was recipient of the RSE Henry Duncan Medal.

Working Groups: Health and Wellbeing; Open Data; Scottish Constitutional Reform  


Areas of Interest
Economics and Social Sciences
University of Edinburgh
Key words
mental health, neuroscience, bioethics, medical humanities

Our Members

Kitty Meeks currently holds a Royal Society of Edinburgh Personal Research Fellowship at the University of Glasgow, where she carries out research at the interface of mathematics and computer science.