Dr Susan Molyneux-Hodgson

Director of Research

Senior Lecturer in Sociology (BSc, MSc, PhD)

Photograph of Susie M Hodgson

Email: s.hodgson@sheffield.ac.uk
Room: Elmfield, G29 | Telephone: 0114 222 7490 (external), 27490 (internal)

Academic Profile

I work within the field of science and technology studies (STS). I joined the Department in October 2001, following 5 years in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Bristol, and a 2-year post-doc at the Institute of Education, University of London. I co-founded and am currently - Director of SATIS (Science and Technology in Society) research group. My sociological work is focused in three substantive areas:

  • The sociology of scientific communities
  • Science and society relations
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration

Within Sheffield I have strong links with a number of research groups in the Science and Engineering Faculties, including: synthetic biology (http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/synbio) and the Immobilisation Science Laboratory.


Funded Research Projects (selected)
Date Sponsor Details
2015 ESRC Nuclear Futures Seminar Series
2014-2019 BBSRC Crossing Membranes: a Network in Industrial Biotechnology
2012-2013 The British Academy Visualising the Fetus: Exploring the Production and Use of Obstetric Magnetic Resonance Imaging
2009-2011 EPSRC Deploying synthetic biology in the water industry
2008-2011 BBSRC Microbial applications for tissue engineering (MATEs)
2008 ESRC Society, Science and Technology
2007-2011 EPSRC Urban rivers and sustainable living agendas (URSULA)
2006-2007 Higher Education Innovation Fund Assessing 'social benefit' for sustainability assessment
2006-2009 EU Framework 6 Knowledge, institutions and gender: an East-West comparison
2005-2006 Higher Education Innovation Fund Performing science in Victorian and contemporary society
2005-2008 ESRC & NERC Water, environment and society
1998-1999 ESRC Mathematical practices in science
Funded PhD Networks
Date Sponsor Details
2013-2015 ESRC & EPSRC Nuclear Societies
2013-2015 ESRC & BBSRC Biosciences and Society
2012-2015 ESRC White Rose DTC Rethinking the social production, locus and impact of bioscience
2012-2015 TUoS X-Cutting Research & Innovation Fund Synthetic biology for healthcare applications
2009-2012 White Rose Universities Consortium & National Science Learning Centre Engaging young people in science


Between 2001 and 2010 my teaching focused on the provision of research training for Masters students and PhD researchers in the departments of Sociological Studies, Politics, Geography, Law and Journalism Studies. I also developed and taught a Masters module on Science, Technology and Society which, over a few years, had students attend from all 5 of the University Faculties.

In September 2010 I was appointed Faculty Director of Doctoral Programmes and in 2011 also became Academic Director of the White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Centre at Sheffield (http://www.shef.ac.uk/social-sciences-dtc). For 2012 I was PI and Director of the ESRC-funded DTC (http://www.wrdtc.ac.uk).

In autumn 2011 I and other colleagues began a new suite of modules, available to all doctoral students across the 13 Departments in the Faculty of Social Sciences. Core modules on philosophies of social science, qualitative methods and quantitative methods are now team taught by staff from various Departments and research students learn about the application of ideas and methods in a broad social science setting, not only from a single disciplinary perspective. I mostly teach in a ‘Day School’ format to allow students dedicated and concentrated time to focus on their learning. My sessions are a mixture of lecture, small group discussion, and set activities. All the sessions are accompanied by online resources and we regularly use blogs and discussion streams to continue work beyond the confines of the face-to-face setting. This approach also allows our part-time and distance learning community better access to the learning opportunities of the resident doctoral research community.

Postgraduate Supervision

Current Postgraduate Research Students: Kate Bulpin, Muazu Shehu, Rob Meckin, Celso Gomes, Marika Hietala, Guillaumette Haughton.

I am interested in supervising outstanding students with interests in the sociology of techno-sciences; science and society relations, research policy and gender and science.

To find out more about our PhD programmes, go to:
Studying for a PhD in Sociology

To apply for a place and for the scholarship, go to:

Publications since 2005

Balmer, A., Bulpin, K., & Molyneux-Hodgson, S. (2016). Synthetic Biology A Sociology of Changing Practices. Palgrave Macmillan.

Balmer, A. S., Calvert, J., Marris, C., Molyneux-Hodgson, S., Frow, E., Kearnes, M., . . . Martin, P. (2016). Five Rules of Thumb for Post-ELSI Interdisciplinary Collaborations. Journal of Responsible Innovation, 10. doi:10.1080/23299460.2016.1177867

Molyneux-Hodgson S. and Hietala, M. (2016) 'Socio-technical Imaginations of Nuclear Waste Disposal in the UK and Finland' in Hindmarsh & Priestley (eds) The Fukushima Effect: A New Geopolitical Terrain. London: Routledge.

Morgan M. and Molyneux-Hodgson S. (2016) Placing a New Science: Exploring Spatial and Temporal Configurations of Synthetic Biology  in Merz & Sormani (eds) The Local Configuration of New Research Fields: On Regional and National Diversity. Sociology of the Science Yearbook Vol. 29.Springer.

Balmer, A. S., Calvert, J., Marris, C., Molyneux-Hodgson, S., Frow, E., Kearnes, M., . . . Martin, P. (2015). Taking roles in interdisciplinary collaborations: Reflections on working in post-ELSI spaces in the UK synthetic biology community. Science and Technology Studies, 28(3), 3-25.

Shehu M. and Molyneux-Hodgson S. (2014) Faith Communities and Environmental Degradation in Northeast Nigeria. The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, 10 (1): 27 - 40.

Molyneux-Hodgson S. and Balmer A. (2014) Synthetic biology, water industry and the performance of an innovation barrier. Science and Public Policy, 41 (4): 507-519. doi: 10.1093/scipol/sct074

Bulpin K. and Molyneux-Hodgson S. (2013) The disciplining of scientific communities. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 38(2): 91 – 105.

Balmer A. and Molyneux-Hodgson S. (2013) Bacterial Cultures: ontologies of bacteria and engineering expertise at the nexus of synthetic biology and water services. Engineering Studies, 5 (1): 59 – 73. doi: 10.1080/19378629.2013.766198

Newman R., Ashley R., Molyneux-Hodgson S. and Cashman A (2011) ‘Managing water as a socio-technical system: the shift from ‘experts’ to ‘alliances’, Engineering Sustainability. Vol 164, no. 1: 95 –102.

Meyer M. and Molyneux-Hodgson S. (2011) ‘Communautés épistémiques’: une notion utile pour théoriser les collectifs en sciences, Terrains et Travaux, Vol 18 : 141 - 154

Hodgson S.M. and Phillips D. (2011) ‘The Environmental Challenge’, in Fitzpatrick T. (ed.) Understanding the Environment and Social Policy: Understanding Welfare series, Bristol: Policy Press.

Hurley, L., Ashley, R., Molyneux-Hodgson, S., Moug, P., and Schiessel , N. (2010) '‘Measuring’ sustainable living agendas', Management of Environmental Quality, vol. 21, no. 1: 45-57.

Meyer, M. and Molyneux-Hodgson, S. (2010). 'The Dynamics of Epistemic Communities', Sociological Research Online 15(2)14 www.socresonline.org.uk/15/2/14.html

Molyneux-Hodgson S. and Meyer M. (2009) 'Tales of Emergence: synthetic biology as a scientific community in the making', BioSocieties, vol. 4, no. 2/3: 129-145.

Molyneux-Hodgson S (2009) 'The Contexts of Knowing', in Felt (ed.) Knowing and Living in Academic Research: convergence and heterogeneity in research cultures in European context, Prague: Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. pp:3.

Molyneux-Hodgson S (2009) 'Speaking KNOWING to Power', in Felt (ed.) Knowing and Living in Academic Research: convergence and heterogeneity in research cultures in European context, Prague: Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. pp: 3.
[plus contributions to Chapters 3 (p.127-168) and Chapter 4 (p. 169-226) in Felt (ed.)

S.M. Hodgson and Z.M. Irving (2007) Policy Reconsidered: meanings, politics and practices, Bristol: The Policy Press. 250pp

Hodgson S. M. and Z.M. Irving (2007) 'Studying Policy: a way forward', Chapter 11 in S.M. Hodgson and Z.M. Irving, Policy Reconsidered: meanings, politics and practices, The Policy Press. pp 191-207

Hodgson S. M. and Z.M. Irving (2007) 'Policy and its Exploration', Chapter 1 in S.M. Hodgson and Z.M. Irving, Policy Reconsidered: meanings, politics and practices, The Policy Press. pp 1-20

Hodgson S.M. and Smith J.W.N. (2007) 'Understanding water and society relations: designing research for/on water policy', Interdisciplinary Science Reviews., Vol. 32, No. 3: 187-202

Hodgson S.M., Maltby L., Paetzold A. and Phillips D. (2007) 'Getting the measure of nature: ecosystem services as a way to understand environment and society', Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, Vol. 32, No. 3: 249-262

Hodgson S. & Clark T. (2007) Sociological engagements with computing: the advent of e-science and some implications for the qualitative research community, Sociological Research Online http://www.socresonline.org.uk/12/3/9.html

Hodgson S. (2006) 'Narrating Community: history and absence in scientific texts', Interdisciplinary Science Reviews. Vol. 31, No.2 pp: 175-188.

Hodgson S. M. (2005) ‘History of Lasers in Optoelectronics’, in Encyclopaedia of 20th Century Technology, New York: Routledge.

A full list of publications can be downloaded from the "Downloads" section of this page.