The future of science governance: Publics, policies, practices

Phil Macnaghten, Jason Chilvers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we develop new insights on science governance at a time when an emphasis on public engagement in responding to questions of trust in science is giving way to a more systemic and networked perspective. In a meta-analysis across seventeen UK public dialogue processes we identify five spheres of public concern about the governance of science and technology relating to: the purposes of science; trust; inclusion; speed and direction of innovation; and equity. Forty in-depth interviews with senior UK sciencepolicy actors reveal highly partial institutional responses to these concerns and help explain the underlying processes that close down, and at times open up, reflection and response on public values. Finally, we consider the implications of this analysis for the future of science governance, prospects for more anticipatory, reflexive, and inclusive forms of governing, and the roles for critical social science inquiry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-548
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Government and Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014


  • science governance
  • public dialogue
  • public concerns
  • models of engagement
  • institutional responses
  • reflexivity

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