Claire Marris
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Personal profile

Biographical details

Dr Claire Marris Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King’s College London. She is Deputy leader of the SSHM Research Group Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals and Public Policy(BPPP) and leads SSHM’s programme of research on the social dimensions of synthetic biology. This research is conducted within the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation (CSynBI), which is a joint centre between SHHM at King’s and synthetic biologists at Imperial College London, founded in 2009 with funding from EPSRC.

Link to publications

Her research is in the area of social scientific study of bioscience, with a particular focus on the nature, role and translational possibilities of advanced biosciences and biotechnology, in particular genetic modification and synthetic biology. She is interested in the ways in which a field of bioscience, such as synthetic biology, comes to be defined and problematized in different scientific, regulatory, political and public arenas, through for example risk regulation, R&D policy, public engagement activities, and organized opposition by social groups. Her most influential research has focused on understandings of science, risk and uncertainty among publics, scientists, and risk regulators.

Claire’s expertise is regularly sought after in policy circles. Recent examples include her appointment as a member of the Forum on Synthetic Biology of the US National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Science, Technology (on-going since April 2013) and of the expert group Observatoire de la Biologie de Synthèse convened by the French Ministry for Higher Education and Research (on-going since January 2012). She was a member of the coordination group that produced the UK Synthetic Biology Roadmap in 2012, convened by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Claire was also commissioned to write a report for the Royal Society on the transnational governance of synthetic biology, and on public dialogue for synthetic biology by the French Ministry for Higher Education and Research, both in 2011.

Claire previously held academic positions at the London School of Economics (2009-2011), the French National Research Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA, 2000-2009), the Université de Versailles-Saint Quentin en Yvelines (1998-2000), the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (1996-1998), the University of East Anglia (1992-1996) and Rothamsted Research (1985-1990). She has lived and worked in France as well as the UK and is an affiliate member of the Science en Societé Research Unit of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research and of the Institut Francilien Recherche Innovation Société.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Science, Science and Technology Policy. Thesis: "Aid-funded plant biotechnology research in the UK", University of Sussex

Award Date: 1 Jan 1992

Doctor of Philosophy, Plant Molecular Biology. Thesis: "Regulation of the Expression of a Seed Protein Gene from Barley in Transgenic Tobacco Plants", Open University

Award Date: 1 Jan 1990

Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry, University of Bristol

Award Date: 1 Jan 1984


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Science and Technology Studies


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