Jane Calvert

Jane Calvert
Name
Dr Jane Calvert
Title
Reader
Science Technology and Innovation StudiesSchool of Social and Political ScienceUniversity of Edinburgh
Address
Old Surgeons' Hall High School Yards Edinburgh UK EH1 1LZ
Telephone
+44 (0)131 650 2843
Email
URL
http://www.stis.ed.ac.uk/people/academic_staff/calvert_jane

Biography

I work in the area of the sociology of the life sciences, and my current research focuses on attempts to engineer living things in the emerging field of synthetic biology. I have a long-standing interest in interdisciplinary collaborations of all sorts. I draw on the sociology and anthropology of science, the philosophy of biology, and science policy in my work.

I have an undergraduate degree in Human Sciences from Sussex and an MSc in the History and Philosophy of Science from the LSE. I did my doctoral work at SPRU, University of Sussex, on the idea of 'basic research'. From 2002-2007 I worked as a research fellow at the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society (Egenis) at the University of Exeter. I started at the University of Edinburgh in July 2007.

Selected research grants

  • Principle Investigator (UK) on ‘Synthetic Aesthetics’, which explores collaborations between synthetic biologists and artists and designers (EPSRC and NSF)
  • Principle Investigator on ‘ESRC seminar series on synthetic biology and the social sciences’ (ESRC)
  • Co-Investigator on ‘An infrastructure for platform technology in synthetic biology’ (EPSRC)
  • Principle Investigator on ‘Engineering life: ideas, practices and promises’ (ERC Consolidator grant, commencing Sept 2014)

Research interests

  • The engineering of living things
    • the uptake of engineering ideas and practices in the life sciences
    • design, evolution and values in the engineering of biology
    • sociological/philosophical analysis of engineering 'life'
  • Interdisciplinary collaborations
    • between scientists and engineers
    • between scientists, engineers and social scientists 
    • between scientists, engineers, social scientists and artists and designers
  • STS and science policy
    • ontology and intellectual property in the life sciences
    • the governance of emerging technologies
    • the 'normative turn' and policy engagement in STS

Policy engagement

I was a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Working Party on Synthetic Biology, the UK Synthetic Biology Roadmap Coordination Group, the Hastings Center Working Group on Ethical Issues in Synthetic Biology and the Nuffield Council of Bioethics Working Party on Emerging Biotechnologies. I am currently a member of the BBSRC’s BioScience and Society Strategy Panel.

Publications

Ginsberg, D, Calvert, J, Schyfter, P, Elfick, A and Endy, D (2014) Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology's Designs on Nature Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Calvert, J (2013) 'Collaboration as a research method? Navigating social scientific involvement in synthetic biology' in Doorn, N, Schuurbiers, D, van de Poel, I, Gorman, M (eds) Early engagement and new technologies: Opening up the laboratory Dordrecht: Springer

Calvert, J (2013) 'Systems biology, big science and grand challenges' BioSocieties 8 (4): 466-479

Calvert, J and Frow, E (2013) 'Social Dimensions of Microbial Synthetic Biology' in Harwood, C and Wipat, N (eds) Microbial Synthetic Biology (Methods in Microbiology Series, Volume 40) Burlington: Elsevier Academic Press, 69-86

Frow, E and Calvert, J (2013) 'Opening up the future(s) of synthetic biology' Futures 48: 32-43

Schyfter, P, Frow E and Calvert, J (2013) ‘Synthetic biology: Making Biology into an Engineering Discipline’ Guest editorial for special edition of Engineering Studies 5 (1): 1-5

Frow, E and Calvert, J (2013) '"Can simple biological systems be built from standardized interchangeable parts?" negotiating biology and engineering in a synthetic biology competition' Engineering Studies 5 (1): 42-58

Calvert, J (2012) 'Ownership and sharing in synthetic biology: a 'diverse ecology' of the open and the proprietary?' BioSocieties 7 (2): 169-187

Wiek, A, Guston, D, Frow, E and Calvert, J (2012) 'Sustainability and anticipatory governance in synthetic biology' International Journal of Social Ecology and Sustainable Development 3 (2): 25-38 

Calvert, J (2012) 'Systems biology, synthetic biology and data-driven research: a commentary on Krohs, Callebaut, and O’Malley and Soyer' Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1): 81–84

Bostanci. A, Calvert, J and Joly, PB (2012) 'Regulating gene regulation: Patenting small RNAs' Intellectual Property and Emerging Technologies: The New Biology Rimmer, M and McLennan, A (eds) Cheltenham: Edward Elgar

Calvert, J and Fujmura, J (2011) 'Calculating life? Duelling discourses in interdisciplinary systems biology' Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 42 (2): 155-163

Bonaccorsi, A, Calvert J, and Joly, PB (2011) 'From protecting texts to protecting objects in biotechnology and software. A tale of changes of ontological assumptions in intellectual property protection' Economy and Society, 40 (4): 611-639

Calvert, J and Joly, PB (2011) 'How did the gene become a chemical compound? Shifting ontologies of the gene and the patenting of DNA' Social Science Information, 50 (2): 157-177

Calvert, J (2010) 'Systems biology, interdisciplinarity and disciplinary identity' in Parker, J.N., Vermeulen, N & Penders, B. (eds.) Collaboration in the New Life Sciences Aldershot: Ashgate

Calvert, J (2010) 'Synthetic biology: constructing nature?' Sociological Review, 58 (s1): 95-112

Haddow, G, Bruce, A, Calvert, J, Harmon, SHE and Marsden, W (2010) 'Not "human" enough to be human but not "animal" enough to be animal - the case of the HFEA, cybrids and xenotransplantation in the UK', New Genetics and Society, 29 (1): 3-17

Calvert, J and Fujimura, J (2009) 'Calculating life? A sociological perspective on systems biology' EMBO reports, 10 (S1): S46-S49

Calvert, J and Martin, P (2009) 'The role of social scientists in synthetic biology' EMBO reports, 10 (3): 201-204

Calvert, J (2008) 'The commodification of emergence: systems biology, synthetic biology and intellectual property' BioSocieties, Vol. 3, Issue 4, pp.385-400 

O'Malley, M, Powell, A, Davies, J and Calvert, J (2008) 'Knowledge-making distinctions in synthetic biology' BioEssays, Vol. 30 No.1 pp.57-65

Bostanci, A and Calvert, J (2008) 'Invisible genomes: the genomics revolution and patenting practice' Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Vol. 39, pp.109-119

Calvert, J (2007) 'Patenting genomic objects: genes, genomes, function and information' Science as Culture, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp.207-223

Powel, A, O'Malley, M, Müller-Wille, S, Calvert, J and Dupré, J (2007) 'Disciplinary Baptisms: A comparison of the naming stories of genetics, molecular biology, genomics and systems biology' History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, Vol. 29, pp.5-32

O'Malley, MA, Calvert, J, and Dupre J (2007) 'The study of socioethical issues in systems biology' American Journal of Bioethics, Vol.7 No.4 pp.67-78

Calvert, J (2007) Goodbye blue skies? The concept of 'basic research' and its role in a changing funding environment Chinese translation, Wuhan University of Technology Publishing House: Wuhan, China

Calvert, J (2006) 'What's special about basic research?' Science, Technology and Human Values, Vol.31, Issue 2, pp.199-220

O'Malley, M, Bostanci, A and Calvert, J (2005) 'Whole Genome Patenting' Nature Reviews Genetics, Vol.6, Issue 6, pp.502-506

Hauskeller, C and Calvert, J (2004) ‘The meanings of genomics’ Guest editorial for special edition of New Genetics and Society Vol.23, No.3, pp.251-254

Calvert, J (2004) 'Genomic patenting and the utility requirement' New Genetics and Society, Vol.23, Issue3, pp.301-312

Calvert, J and Senker, J (2004) 'Biotechnology innovation systems in two small countries: a comparison of Portugal and Ireland' Science and Public Policy, Vol.31, Issue 5, pp.359-370

Calvert, J (2004) 'The idea of 'basic research' in language and practice' Minerva, Vol.42, Issue 3, pp.251-268

Calvert, J and Patel, P (2003) 'University-Industry Research Collaborations in the UK : bibliometric trends' Science and Public Policy, Vol. 30, Issue 2, pp.85-96

Hinze, S, Calvert, J, Reiss, T, Senker, J, Patel, P (2003) 'International benchmarking of biotech research centres' Research Evaluation, Vol.12, Issue 2, pp.85-89

Calvert, J (2001) 'Is there a role for 'basic research' in Mode 2?' in VEST Swedish Journal for Science and Technology Studies, Vol. 13, Issues 3-4, pp.35-51

Calvert, J and Martin, B (2001) 'Science funding: Europe' in International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioural Sciences, Elsevier, Jasanoff, S (Section Editor, Science and Technology Studies), Smelser, NJ and Baltes, PB (Editors in chief), Vol. 20, pp.13676-80 

Selected invited presentations

‘A place for STS? Experiences of collaborating with synthetic biologists’ Workshop on ‘Collaboration between Social Sciences and Engineering: How and Why?’ KAIST, Daejeon, South Korea, 19th February 2014 

‘Interdisciplinary experimentation in synthetic biology: what can STS learn from art and design?’ From Model Organisms to Synthetic Biology: STS Perspectives on Experimentation in the Life Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore, 13th January 2014

'Synthetic biology, technology choice and the public good' Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany, 26th-28th September 2013

'Biology as engineering: A tentative agenda for the social and philosophical study of synthetic biology' New Methods and Concepts for a More Robust Synthetic Biology, University of Exeter, 13th-14th December 2012

'Responsible Research and Innovation and the UK's Synthetic Biology Roadmap' Ethical Issues in Synthetic Biology, Hastings Centre, New York, 27th-28th November 2012

'Ownership and sharing in synthetic biology: a 'diverse ecology' of the open and the proprietary?' BioProperty Seminar Series, Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford, 28th February 2012

'Science and technology policy education in emerging technologies: the case of synthetic biology' Gordon Conference on Science & Technology Policy, Waterville Valley NH, USA, 8th-13th August 2010

Topics interested in supervising

I have enjoyed supervising postgraduate students from a range of different backgrounds including the social sciences, the biological sciences and philosophy. I'd be very happy to discuss potential research projects with prospective postgraduate students. Topics I'd be interested in supervising include (but are not limited to): the engineering of living things (including questions about design, evolution and 'life'); interdisciplinary collaborations (between scientists, engineers, social scientists and artists and designers); and STS and policy (particularly the governance of emerging technologies and the 'normative turn' in STS).

If you are interested in being supervised by Jane Calvert, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Science and Technology Studies