Fiona Coyle's profile

Fiona Coyle

SPS Department

Science, Technology & Innovation Studies

I hold an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Aberdeen, an MS.c. by Research in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) from the University of Edinburgh, and I am currently studying towards a PhD in this area. Before returning to academia, I worked as an educational administrator for NHS 24, organising the integration of new and emerging telehealth technologies into the service, and as a Research Associate at the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics. My current research aims to explore how the societal and ethical dimensions of biotechnology debates are architected through tools, such as the inclusion and exclusion of actors, rhetorical devices and argumentative patterns.


2016 – MS.c. by Research (with Distinction) in Science and Technology Studies, University of Edinburgh 

2013 – M.A. in Mental Philosophy, University of Aberdeen  

Awards and Funding

2016 – 2019: Economic and Social Research Council Studentship (ESRC +3) 

2016 – 2019: Principal’s Career Development Scholarship, University of Edinburgh 

2016 – 2019: Maclagan Prize PhD Scholarship, The J Kenyon Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and Law 

2015 – 2016:  Master's Awards in Humanities and Social Science, Wellcome Trust 

Further Information

Professional Experience 

2018: Scottish Graduate School of Social Science - Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) Internship, Scottish Parliament 

2017 – 2018: Research Assistant, School of Social and Political Science (Social Work), University of Edinburgh  

2014 – 2015: Research Associate, Scottish Council on Human Bioethics  

2014 – 2015:  Regional Systems Education Administrator (North and East of Scotland), Healthcare Support Worker, NHS 24  

Additional Training  

2017-2018: The Edinburgh Award (Public Engagement Stream)  

2016: School of Biological Sciences Graduate Training Programme, Practical Genetic Engineering and Genome Analysis  

University Involvement   

2017 – 2018: Student Representative (PhD in Science and Technology Studies) 

2015 – 2017: Co-organiser of Institute for the Study of Science Technology and Innovation (ISSTI) PhD Seminar Series 

2015 – 2016: Student Representative (MSc by Research in Science and Technology Studies) 

2015 – 2019: University of Edinburgh Performance Sport Programme (Women's Fencing) 

Research Interests

Science and technology studies Medical sociology Regulation of Medical Devices Genome-editing Mitochondrial Donation NEST Ethics Techno-Moral Change Public health Health policy Assisted Reproductive Technologies Biomedical knowledge(s), practices and technologies

Research Activities

2017-2018 – Research Assistant to Prof. Gary Clapton (University of Edinburgh) and Lesley Reid (NHS Lothian)  

· Project: Waiting Better: Improving the Spaces We Wait in  

2018 – Scottish Graduate School of Social Science - Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) Internship

· Project: The Regulation of Medical Devices in the Scottish Context 

Teaching Experience

· The Sociological Imagination: Individuals and Society (Tutor) - 2016/2017 

· Designing and Doing Social Research (Tutor) - 2016/2017 

PhD Title

Mitigating Modification: Understanding the Societal and Ethical Implications of the Regulation of New and Emerging Biomedical Technologies in the UK Context 2006-2018

PhD Supervisors

PhD Overview

With the advancement of new technologies, humans now have more knowledge and control over the development of their species than ever before. This issue is acutely important concerning the emergence of genome editing technologies. The advancement of this genus of technology raises the question: not only can humans make germ-line interventions to inhibit the transmission of hereditary diseases, but, should they? My research focuses on how debates surrounding the socio-ethical implications of germ-line modification technologies are architected in different agorae, by various actors, over time.  

By exploring conceptual approaches from within science and technology studies (STS), such as new and emerging science and technology (NEST) ethics and techno-moral change, my doctoral project will produce an in-depth exploration of the main focal points in the germ-line modification debates. Furthermore, the project will allow for analysis of how these discussions remain continuous or change over time. Firstly, I explore how stakeholders’ perceptions of perceived ethically controversial new and emerging biotechnologies change over time. Secondly, whether the regulated status of these technologies percolates over time causing a regulatory and moral transition whereby what was once controversial is now considered less controversial because of its regulated status. And thirdly, whether there is a relationship between stakeholder perception of the controversiality of emerging technologies and their regulated status.  

My research aims to explore how biotechnology debates are architected through tools, such as the inclusion and exclusion of actors, rhetorical devices and argumentative patterns. This approach seeks to promote understanding of how and why societal and ethical arguments surrounding these technologies are produced, reproduced and mobilised within the unique regulatory landscape of the UK.  

Journal Articles 

Coyle, F. (2019), R. Dimond and N. Stephen Legalising Mitochondrial Donation: Enacting Ethical Futures in UK Biomedical PoliticsPrintforce, The Netherlands: Palgrave Macmillan. 2018147pp £43.99 (Hardcover) ISBN 978‐3‐319‐74644‐9 £34.99 (eBook) ISBN 978‐3‐319‐74645‐6 . Sociol Health Illn. doi:10.1111/1467-9566.12890

Conference Papers 

Coyle, F (2018) The Social Construction of Genome-Editing Technologies in the Conference Agora. Presented at the EASST conference: Meetings - Making Science, Technology and Science Together, Lancaster, United Kingdom [link]

Parliamentary Briefing Papers 

Coyle, F (2018) SB 18-45 The Regulation and Governance of Medical Devices in Scotland, Edinburgh: Scottish Parliament Information Centre [link]