Professor Brian Wynne awarded prestigious Bernal Prize

Date: 31 August 2010

Professor Brian Wynne

Professor Brian Wynne Associate Director of Cesagen, Lancaster University awarded prestigious Bernal Prize.

The prestigious J D Bernal Prize has been awarded to Brian Wynne, Professor of Science Studies at the ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen) and the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change (CSEC) at Lancaster University, for his distinguished contribution to the social studies of science.

The Bernal Prize is the highest honour given by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), and is awarded annually. Previous recipients have included Donna Haraway, Karin Knorr Cetina, Sheila Jasanoff, Joseph Needham, Robert Merton, Thomas Kuhn, and Mary Douglas.

Professor Wynne was awarded the prize by Bernal Committee Chairman, Professor Alan Irwin at a banquet during the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) Annual Meeting in Tokyo on Friday 27th August.

On learning that he would be receiving the award, Professor Wynne said:

"It is humbling to realise the stellar company in which this award places me. The insights which the field nurtured by 4S has struggled to develop and communicate over the last forty years are central to a much larger work which needs to be done. This is to imbue the new global relations between East and West, North and South, global and local, and the anxious instrumental frenzy of innovation which this fuels, with a genuinely cosmopolitan, adventurous, grounded humility in the knowledge which we claim gives us licence. The only proper response to this award is now to begin to try to earn it."


For interviews or further information please contact:

Flo Ticehurst, Cesagen Communications Officer on +44 (0)29 2087 0024,

Notes to editors:

  1. Professor Wynne's education includes MA (Natural Sciences, Cambridge 1968), PhD (Materials Science, Cambridge 1971), MPhil (Sociology of Science, Edinburgh 1977). His work has covered technology and risk assessment, public risk perceptions, and public understanding of science, focusing on the relations between expert and lay knowledge and policy decision-making.
  2. Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) Bernal Prize
  3. Cesagen is a research centre funded as part of the UK's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Genomics Network. The Centre is based at the universities of Lancaster and Cardiff. The main objective of Cesagen is to investigate the economic, ethical and social factors that shape natural knowledge in genomics and other life sciences. Cesagen is directed by Professor Ruth Chadwick with Professor Brian Wynne and Professor Adam Hedgecoe as Associate Directors.Further information:
  4. Lancaster University, founded in 1964, has won international recognition for the quality of its teaching and research and is currently ranked in the top ten group of universities by the Times, the Guardian and the Independent. Some key areas of research are ranked top in the UK according to the latest Research Assessment Exercise.
  5. The ESRC Genomics Network Launched in 2002 to examine the social andeconomic consequences surrounding the development and use of genomics, theEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Genomics Network is one of theESRC's largest social science investments. The Network.consists of: Cesagen(Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics) a Cardiff-Lancastercollaboration led by Professor Ruth Chadwick; Egenis (ESRC Centre forGenomics in Society) headed by Professor John Dupré at Exeter; and Innogen(ESRC Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics) -collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and the Open University,directed by Professor David Wield; and the ESRC Genomics Policy and ResearchForum, led by Professor Steve Yearley, Professor of the Sociology ofScientific Knowledge at University of Edinburgh.
  6. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largestfunding agency for research and postgraduate training relating to social andeconomic issues. It supports independent, high quality research whichimpacts on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC'splanned total expenditure in 2008/09 is £203 million. At any one time theESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academicinstitutions and research policy institutes. More at


Further information

Associated staff: Brian Wynne

Associated departments and research centres: Sociology