Melanie Smallman is an academic, communications specialist, campaigner and policy adviser, interested in the relationship between science, technology and society. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at UCL, where she Co-Directs UCL’s hub for Responsible Research and Innovation.
Melanie’s research looks at public attitudes to science and technology, how these views influence policy, and how evidence is understood and used in policymaking. In particular, she is interested in the role of technologies in growing economic inequality, and how these economic effects in turn influence perceptions of science and technology.
Training initially in life-sciences, Melanie’s professional experience combines entrepreneurship and business leadership, with communications and academic research. She has a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from UCL, an MSc in Science Communication from Imperial College and has completed a Visiting Fellowship in Science, Technology and Society, at the Harvard Kennedy School, working with Professor Sheila Jasanoff. Since 1999 she has been Director of Think-Lab, a science and environmental policy and communications consultancy, working with a variety of leading European science and environmental organisations. For eight years, until 2011, she was a communications adviser to the Chief Scientist in Defra, tasked with rebuilding public confidence in Defra’s use of science.
Melanie is also a passionate environmental campaigner. Currently co-Chair of environment campaign SERA, she works closely with senior politicians at a National and Local level to help develop more sustainable and inclusive environmental policies and regularly writes and commentates in the media on issues including air pollution and renewable and community energy. She was also a local councillor from 1996-2006, where she was Cabinet Member for Education.