I am a social scientist trained at the Universities of Coimbra (Portugal) and York (UK). My research interests are located in the fields of environmental sociology, and science and technology studies with a focus on environmental monitoring, public engagement and the use of ICTs in environmental assessments, and citizen science.
I joined the University of Edinburgh in 2010 as Research Fellow at the ESRC Genomics Forum. When I started at the Forum I was a partner in the EU FP7 funded project “EU ZOOS XXI: engaging the public in nature conservation”.
My PhD, from the University of York (UK), examined the nature and role of lay engagement in environmental monitoring, establishing a framework for the analysis of public involvement in monitoring activities and contributing to the development of a sociology of monitoring. This project constituted the basis of my current interest in monitoring as a central aspect of policy making and knowledge production in contemporary societies.
Prior to my research activities in the UK, I held a lectureship in sociology at the University of Minho (Braga, Portugal), where I taught, among others, Technoscience and the Environment; Technology, Science and Innovation; Identity and Social Movements; and Sociology of Development.
Since April 2015, I'm developing a IAD funded network – the Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing of Data and Evidence Network (CSCS Network).
Together with a number of colleagues from across the University of Edinburgh (Biology, Law, Information Services, Health Sciences, Geosciences among others), I am developing a network based on a shared interest or involvement in Citizen Science (CS), the Crowdsourcing of Evidence, and public participation in scientific, medical, humanities and policy research. This project follows on the work I started with the Beltane Fellowship and the CHSS-KE grant (below). For regular updates on activities and resources on CS see http://citsci.ed.ac.uk/.
I'm a founding member of SKAPE, the Centre for Science, Knowledge and Policy. SKAPE brings together colleagues from Politics, Sociology, STS, Law and Business, to critically explore the relationship between knowledge and governance.
Since January 2015, I have been research staff representative on the Research & Research Ethics and Integrity Committee, School of Social and Political Science.
Environment monitoring surveillance new technologies new social media public engagement citizen science
The Politics of Monitoring: Information, Indicators and Targets in Climate Change, Defence and Immigration Policy (ESRC funded)
Co-investigator together with other colleagues from the School of Social and Political Science.
This is a 3-year project examining both the determinants and the implications of monitoring policies across three key policy areas: climate change, immigration control and defence procurement over a 20 year period (1994-2014). You can read more about the project and its progress here. I'm leading the case study on monitoring climate change.
From Anxiety to Happiness: linking the digital self to the public good
Joint lead-applicant and co-investigator
This project (in its pilot-phase) was the outcome of a sand-pit-style event organised by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Edinburgh in June 2015 to encourage interdisciplinary and ‘transformational’ research. With colleagues from Politics and Clinical Psychology, I'm investigating ways in which self-quantifying behaviours and practices, together with a non-clinical level of anxiety, can be a stimulus to engagement with wider causes, including those that would be classed as public goods.
CHSS – Knowledge Exchange Grant on “Citizen Science ‘unplugged’: knowledge exchange with participants in and users of ‘citizen science’” (2014)
Beltane Public Engagement Fellowship on Users’ Experiences of Citizen Science (2014)
This project developed a new approach to ‘Citizen Science’ (CS) initiatives in an effort to improve experiences of all CS ‘users’. It gathered participants (citizens), academics, practitioners and officials with a link to activities defined as CS. Through focused discussions it was possible to obtain a better insight into and understanding of what the actors involved see as the benefits of taking part in or organising CS. The central objective was to contribute to an improved CS practice as well as a widened awareness of the advantages (and pitfalls) of involving ‘citizen scientists’ in the production of scientific knowledge.
EU ZOOS XXI: engaging the public in nature conservation (March 2010 / September 2012)
A EU FP7 funded project on public engagement and biodiversity, examining the role of European zoos in promoting public engagement with biodiversity conservation. In this project I worked on strategies for public engagement with biodiversity and conservation issues in European zoos and marine parks. In large part this was a practical project aimed at developing new forms of interaction with the public; most of these have been established in the partner zoos.
Other Research Activities
16 May 2017: I was a speaker at the ‘Pint of Science’ events on “How citizens are transforming Science as we (used to) know it".
24 November 2015: I organised a Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing 'Show & Tell', in partnership with the National Museum of Scotland and as part of the CSCS Network activities. Participants originated from the UoE, other Edinburgh universities and a number of organisations and charities either representing practitioners, funders or NGOs. As part of the event, Erinma Ochu (University of Manchester and Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Fellow), delivered a public lecture on Citizen Science for Community Engagement.
16 October 2015: Round-table in collaboration with IPPR (the Institute for Public Policy Research, London) on the ‘Road to Paris: The role of targets in climate and energy policy’, ahead of the Paris UNFCCC meeting (Nov-Dec, 2015) within the remit of the ESRC project on ‘The politics of monitoring’. With the participation of policy officials, senior politicians, members of NGOs, and charities.
2014: I took part in the 2014 Scotland’s Researchers’ Night with the topic: “Behind the scenes at the Zoo: social-science collaboration in biodiversity programmes”, the main objective of which was to highlight the role of the social sciences in biodiversity initiatives. September 26, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh.
2014: I was invited to take part in the ‘Beltane Gathering 2014’, speaking in the ‘Beltane Masterclass’. Organised around the call “Citizens, Research!”, I had the chance to present and discuss some of the results of the Citizen Science Discussion Forum held under the remit of the CHSS KE grant and the Beltane Public Engagement Fellowship. June 12, Edinburgh’s Grassmarket Community Project.
March 2013: I co-organised the SCRR (Scottish Consortium for Rural Research) meeting on “Researching Scotland’s Ruralities: Social Science perspectives on current Issues in Rural Scotland” that took place in March 2013, in Perth. A report of the meeting can be found here.
Guidance and Feedback Hours
Tuesdays, 14.00-16.00 (2nd semester and term time only) or email for appointment
(KEP) Knowledge, Expertise and Policy: science and politics in contemporary governance (STIS 10010); 1st semester (honours).
This course aims to understand how experts relate to political power and policy-making in today’s societies. It bridges political science, social policy and STS (science & technology studies) by using case studies to investigate how science, expertise and policy are linked (or fail to connect) in such areas as climate policy, life- science innovations, and migration.
This is an empirically-based course centred on cases that illustrate how sustainable development is being interpreted and practised in a number of settings and contexts in Scotland. Apart from lecture-type classes, the course provides students with field trips with the objective of helping them reflect upon and operationalise key theoretical and conceptual approaches to sustainable development.
Research Skills in the Social Sciences: Data Collection (PGSP 11016); 1st semester.
Data Collection is concerned with the techniques and practices for doing good, ethically sound empirical research. It is about acquiring and demonstrating competence in identifying and gathering data. That means, for example, selecting or sampling sources of data, including people and documents; recruiting and negotiating access to research participants or respondents; formulating questions, conducting interviews and designing surveys; recording and transcribing information. Although this course refers to the collection of data, students will soon discover this is also about the creation of such data.
My interests are located in the broad areas of environmental sociology and science and technology studies and I would especially welcome proposals that refer to topics where these two fields meet. In particular, I would be interested in supervising research students on themes such as: monitoring and surveillance, environmental monitoring, new forms of lay participation mediated through new technologies and new social media, public engagement with and in science and technology notably within so-called citizen science initiatives.
Find out more about the programmes that I am involved with:
Current PhD Students
Stuart Dunbar (Education): Evaluating the evaluation process within science engagement projects aimed at children and young people
Daniel Thorpe (Science, Technology and Innovation Studies): Unbundling ‘Indigenous’ Space Capability - Actors, Policy Positions and Agency in Space-based Earth Observation Research in Nigeria
Antonio Ballesteros Figueroa (Science, Technology and Innovation Studies): Opening the black box of the construction of indicators: An STS approach to the construction of environmental knowledge
Boswell, C and Rodrigues, E (2015) 'Policies, Politics and Organizational Problems: Multiple Streams and the Implementation of Targets in UK Government', Policy & Politics. http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/030557315X14477577990650.
Wienroth, M and Rodrigues, E (2015) (eds) Knowing New Biotechnologies. Social Aspects of Technological Convergence. Oxford: Routledge.
Boswell, C, Yearley, S, Fleming, C, Rodrigues, E, Spinardi, G (2015) “The Effects of Targets and Indicators on Policy Formulation: Narrowing Down, Crowding Out and Locking In” in Andrew J. Jordan and John R. Turnpenny (eds) The Tools of Policy Formulation: Actors, Capacities ,Venues and Effects. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, UK.
Rodrigues, E (2009) “Ambiente, sustentabilidade e cidade” (Environment, Sustainability and the Urban), in Carlos Fortuna e Rogério Proença (eds), Plural de Cidade: Novos Léxicos Urbanos. Coimbra: Almedina.
Rodrigues, E (2007) “Monitorização da qualidade ambiental e dinâmicas de participação pública: potencialidades e práticas da monitorização leiga” (Environmental monitoring and public participation: the potential for lay monitoring), in Borrego et al (eds), Actas da 9ª Conferência Nacional do Ambiente. Aveiro: Departamento do Ambiente da Universidade de Aveiro.
Rodrigues, E and Machado, H. (2005) (eds) Scientific Proofs and International Justice: the future for scientific standards in global environmental protection and international trade. Braga: Universidade do Minho/NES.
Rodrigues, E (2002) “Ciência, Públicos e Ambiente: o ‘discurso científico’ dos movimentos de protesto ambiental” (Science, publics and the environment: the scientific discourse of environmental movements), Sociedade e Cultura 4, Cadernos do Noroeste, Série Sociologia, vol.18 (1-2) pp 32-48. Braga: Centro de Ciências Históricas e Sociais da Universidade do Minho.
2017 (with Steve Yearley) ““Citizen science” as a new strategy in the social relations of science: what roles does citizen science offer to members of the public?”, National Open University in New Taipei City, 10 April, Taipei, Taiwan.
2017 (with Steve Yearley) “Education in a global society: what do citizens in global society need to know about science, and does “citizen science” help them to understand it?”, Shih Hsin University in Taipei City, 12 April, Taipei, Taiwan.
2016, “Scrutinising citizenship in citizen science”, 1st International Conference of the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA), 19-21 May, Berlin, Germany.
2015, “Conceptualising and enacting the citizen in citizen science”, 10th International Conference in Interpretative Policy Analysis – IPA, 8-10 July, Lille, France.
2015 (with Steve Yearley) “Monitoring, numbers and empirical governance: lessons from climate and migration monitoring in the UK”, 10th International Conference in Interpretative Policy Analysis – IPA, 8-10 July, Lille, France.
2015, Panel on “The brave new world of citizen science: reflecting critically on notions of citizenship in citizen science” (co-organised with Erinma Ochu, University of Manchester), Conference of the Citizen Science Association, February 11-12, San Jose, California.
2015, "What kind of citizen is the citizen in citizen science?", Conference of the Citizen Science Association, February 11-12, San Jose, California.
2014, “A new citizen science? A cartography of public participation and democratisation in science today”, October 31, University of Lisbon.
2013 (with Steve Yearley), “Public participation in environmental conservation in zoos and marine parks: a case-study analysis”, ESA Conference, 28-31 August, Torino, Italy.
2013 (with Steve Yearley), “Ensuring and evaluating compliance with policy: politics and the monitoring of climate emissions and climate change in the UK”, ISSTI Retreat 2013 (Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation), 3-4 June, Edinburgh.
2013, “An interpretation of nature: creating resources in a local woodland area”, 12th IAS-STS Annual Conference, 6-7 May, Graz, Austria.
2012, “Lay Participation in Environmental Monitoring – Enhancing Citizen Engagement Through Visualization Technologies” in SESYNC’s (National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center) workshop on Visualization Technologies to Support Research on Human – Environment Interaction, July 23-24, Annapolis, Maryland.
2009, “Nature re-enacted: exploring the dynamics of public participation in environmental monitoring”, Conference of the European Sociological Association, September 2-5, Lisbon.
2008, “Ambiente e Cidade: enfrentar os desafios da sustentabilidade urbana” (Environment and the Urban: addressing the challenges of urban sustainability), III Seminário da Rede Brasil-Portugal de Estudos Urbanos - Cidades e Novos Léxicos Urbanos, June 16-18, CES e FEUC, Coimbra.
2008, “Open Source Monitoring”, ISA Forum of Sociology, September 5-8, Barcelona, Spain.