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University of Exeter Business School

Professor Sarah Hartley

Professor Sarah Hartley



 +44 (0) 1392 723515

 Streatham Court 0.60


Streatham Court, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU, UK


I joined the Business school in 2016 as Senior Lecturer in Management. I’m an interdisciplinary social scientist working closely with natural scientists, engineers, regulators and policy-makers. My research and teaching revolves around the responsible governance of science, technology and innovation. I employ qualitative methods to understand the governance of cutting edge emerging technologies, particularly the biotechnologies including GM insects, gene drive, and genome-editing. Much of my focus in recent years has been on risk assessment and responsible research and innovation at a policy and institutional level. I have advised the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology on GM insects, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics on genome-editing, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council on stakeholder engagement.

I have a PhD in Politics and Environmental Studies with a specialisation in Public Policy from the University of Toronto (20050, an MSc (distinction) in European Social Policy Analysis and a BSc (first class) in Environmental Management and Policy. After my PhD, I took up a professional position at Genome British Columbia, a Canadian funding agency where I established an interdisciplinary social science research programme in genomics and engaged policy-makers, industry and other stakeholders to explore the role of genomics in addressing societal challenges.


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Research interests

I am a social scientist researching gene drive technology and highly published in this research space. I collaborate with many of the molecular biologists, modellers and entomologists at the cutting edge of gene drive technology and advise developers, policy-makers and regulators, provide talks, and convene meetings on gene drive governance internationally.

I am Associate Editor of the Journal of Responsible Innovation.

Research projects

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Nerlich B, Hartley S, Raman S, Smith A (eds)(2018). Science and the Politics of Openness: Here be Monsters. Abstract.
Brunk CG, Hartley S (eds)(2012). Designer Animals Mapping the Issues in Animal Biotechnology., University of Toronto Press. Abstract.

Journal articles

Hartley S, Stelmach A, Delborne JA, Barnhill-Dilling SK (In Press). Moving beyond narrow definitions of gene drive: Diverse perspectives and frames enable substantive dialogue among US and UK science and humanities teachers. Public Understanding of Science
Ledingham K, Opesen C, Hartley S, Neema S (In Press). Situating the social sciences in responsible innovation in the Global South: the case of gene drive mosquitoes. Journal of Responsible Innovation
Pinyol Alberich J, Hartley S (In Press). The Circular Economy in EU Policy: Explaining an idea’s success through policy learning. Environmental Policy and Governance
de Graeff N, Jongsma KR, Johnston J, Hartley S, Bredenoord AL (2023). Correction to: 'The ethics of genome editing in non-human animals: a systematic review of reasons reported in the academic literature' (2019) by de Graeff et al. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 378(1886). Author URL.
Hartley S, Kokotovich A, Devos Y, Mumford J (2023). Engagement on risk assessment for gene drive mosquitoes by EFSA and Target Malaria. Environmental Science and Policy, 142, 183-193. Abstract.
Hartley S, Stelmach A, Delborne JA, Barnhill-Dilling SK (2023). Moving beyond narrow definitions of gene drive: Diverse perspectives and frames enable substantive dialogue among science and humanities teachers in the United States and United Kingdom. Public Underst Sci, 32(6), 727-744. Abstract.  Author URL.
Hartley S, Kokotovich A, McCalman C (2023). Prescribing engagement in environmental risk assessment for gene drive technology. Regulation and Governance, 17(2), 411-424. Abstract.
Pinyol Alberich J, Pansera M, Hartley S (2023). Understanding the EU's circular economy policies through futures of circularity. Journal of Cleaner Production, 385, 135723-135723.
Stelmach A, Nerlich B, Hartley S (2022). Gene Drives in the U.K. U.S. and Australian Press (2015–2019): How a New Focus on Responsibility is Shaping Science Communication. Science Communication, 44(2), 143-168. Abstract.
Russell AW, Stelmach A, Hartley S, Carter L, Raman S (2022). Opening up, closing down, or leaving ajar? How applications are used in engaging with publics about gene drive. Journal of Responsible Innovation, 9(2), 151-172. Abstract.
Devine-Wright P, Whitmarsh L, Gatersleben B, O’Neill S, Hartley S, Burningham K, Sovacool B, Barr S, Anable J (2022). Placing people at the heart of climate action. PLOS Climate, 1 Abstract.  Full text.
Connolly JB, Mumford JD, Glandorf DCM, Hartley S, Lewis OT, Evans SW, Turner G, Beech C, Sykes N, Coulibaly MB, et al (2022). Recommendations for environmental risk assessment of gene drive applications for malaria vector control. Malaria Journal, 21(1). Abstract.
Hartley S, Taitingfong R, Fidelman P (2022). The principles driving gene drives for conservation. Environmental Science and Policy, 135, 36-45. Abstract.  Full text.
Hartley S, Ledingham K, Owen R, Leonelli S, Diarra S, Diop S (2021). Experimenting with co-development: a qualitative study of gene drive research for malaria control in Mali. Social Science and Medicine, 276
Smith RDJ, Hartley S, Middleton P, Jewitt T (2021). Knowing when to talk? Plant genome editing as a site for pre-engagement institutional reflexivity. Public Understanding of Science
Kjeldaas S, Antonsen T, Hartley S, Myhr AI (2021). Public consultation on proposed revisions to norway’s gene technology act: an analysis of the consultation framing, stakeholder concerns and the integration of non-safety considerations. Sustainability (Switzerland), 13(14). Abstract.
Hartley S, Smith RDJ, Kokotovich A, Opesen C, Habtewold T, Ledingham K, Raymond B, Rwabukwali CB (2021). Ugandan stakeholder hopes and concerns about gene drive mosquitoes for malaria control: new directions for gene drive risk governance. Malaria Journal, 20
Long KC, Alphey L, Annas GJ, Bloss CS, Campbell KJ, Champer J, Chen C-H, Choudhary A, Church GM, Collins JP, et al (2020). Core commitments for field trials of gene drive organisms. Science, 370(6523), 1417-1419. Abstract.
Hadley Kershaw E, Hartley S, McLeod C, Polson P (2020). The Sustainable Path to a Circular Bioeconomy. Trends in Biotechnology, 39(6), 542-545.
Ledingham K, Hartley S (2020). Transformation and slippage in co-production ambitions for global technology development: the case of gene drive. Environmental Science and Policy
Welsh C, Pike L, Elliott J, Bailey J, Quintin-Baxendale R, Billington J, Matousek A, Matthews C, Dumitrescu D, Murphy JF, et al (2020). Why is it so hard to enact responsible change?: Scientists need to work more closely with other social groups to implement sustainable innovation. EMBO Rep, 21(4). Abstract.  Author URL.
Hartley S, McLeod C, Clifford M, Jewitt S, Ray C (2019). A retrospective analysis of responsible innovation for low-technology innovation in the Global South. Journal of Responsible Innovation, 6(2), 143-162. Abstract.
Thizy D, Emerson C, Gibbs J, Hartley S, Kapiriri L, Lavery J, Lunshof J, Ramsey J, Shapiro J, Singh J, et al (2019). Guidance on stakeholder engagement practices to inform the development of area-wide vector control methods. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Rosemann A, Balen A, Nerlich B, Hauskeller C, Sleeboom‐Faulkner M, Hartley S, Zhang X, Lee N (2019). Heritable Genome Editing in a Global Context: National and International Policy Challenges. Hastings Center Report, 49(3)
Hartley S, Thizy D, Ledingham K, Coulibaly M, Diabaté A, Dicko D, Diop S, Kayondo J, Namukwaya A, Nourou B, et al (2019). Knowledge engagement in gene drive research for malaria control. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Helliwell R, Hartley S, Pearce W (2019). NGO perspectives on the social and ethical dimensions of plant genome-editing. Agriculture and Human Values, 36(4), 779-791. Abstract.
De Graeff N, Jongsma KR, Johnston J, Hartley S, Bredenoord AL (2019). The ethics of genome editing in non-human animals: a systematic review of reasons reported in the academic literature. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 374(1772). Abstract.
Ribeiro B, Hartley S, Nerlich B, Jaspal R (2018). Media coverage of the Zika crisis in Brazil: the construction of a ‘war’ frame that masked social and gender inequalities. Social Science & Medicine, 200, 137-144.
Pearce W, Hartley S, Helliwell R, O'Neill L (2018). Reply to Tagliabue. EMBO reports, 19(4).
Wickson F, Preston C, Binimelis R, Herrero A, Hartley S, Wynberg R, Wynne B (2017). Addressing Socio-Economic and Ethical Considerations in Biotechnology Governance: the Potential of a New Politics of Care. Food Ethics, 1(2), 193-199.
Hartley S, Pearce W, Taylor A (2017). Against the tide of depoliticisation: the politics of research governance. Policy & Politics, 45(3), 361-377. Abstract.
Hyde R, Hartley S, Millar K (2017). European novel foods policy at a critical juncture: Drawing lessons for future Novel Food Regulation through a retrospective examination of Regulation EC 258/97. Food and Drug Law Journal, 72 (3), 472-505.
McLeod C, Hartley S (2017). Responsibility and Laboratory Animal Research Governance. Science, Technology, and Human Values
de Campos A, Hartley S, de Koning C, Lezaun J, Velho L (2017). Responsible innovation and political accountability: genetically modified mosquitoes in Brazil. Journal of Responsible Innovation, 4 (1), 5-23.
Helliwell R, Hartley S, Pearce W, O'Neill L (2017). Why are. <scp>NGO</scp>. s sceptical of genome editing?. EMBO reports, 18(12), 2090-2093.
Hartley S, Gillund F, van Hove L, Wickson F (2016). Essential Features of Responsible Governance of Agricultural Biotechnology. PLOS Biology, 14(5), e1002453-e1002453.
Pearce W, Hartley S, Nerlich B (2016). Transparency: issues are not that simple. Nature, 531(7592), 35-35.
Macnaghten P, Owen R, Stilgoe J, Wynne B, Azevedo A, Campo ALSD, Chilvers J, Dagnino R, Giulio GD, Frow E, et al (2015). Inovação responsável através de fronteiras: tensões, paradoxos e possibilidades. Teoria e Pesquisa, 24(2), 18-24.
Hartley S (2015). Policy masquerading as science: an examination of non-state actor involvement in European risk assessment policy for genetically modified animals. Journal of European Public Policy, 23(2), 276-295.
Macnaghten PM, Owen RJ, Stilgoe J, Wynne B (2014). Responsible innovation across borders: tensions, paradoxes and possibilities. Journal of Responsible Innovation, 1(2), 191-199.
Hartley S, Millar KM (2014). The Challenges of Consulting the Public on Science Policy: Examining the Development of European Risk Assessment Policy for Genetically Modified Animals. Review of Policy Research, 31(6), 481-502. Abstract.
Hartley S, Scott DN (2006). Out-of-bounds? Resisting discursive limits in the debate over food biotechnology. Canadian Review of Social Policy
Hartley S, skogstad G (2005). Regulating genetically modified crops and foods in Canada and the United Kingdom: Democratizing risk regulation. Canadian Public Administration/Administration publique du Canada, 48(3), 305-327.


Hartley S, Kokotovich A (2023). 10 Disentangling risk assessment. In  (Ed) Science and the politics of openness, Manchester University Press, 176-194.
Helliwell R, Hartley S, Pearce W (2022). NGO Perspectives on the Social and Ethical Dimensions of Plant Genome-Editing. In  (Ed) Rethinking Food System Transformation, Springer Nature, 129-141.
Hartley S, Kokotovich A (2018). Disentangling risk assessment: New roles for experts and publics. In  (Ed) Science and the politics of openness, 176-194.
Nerlich B, Raman S, Hartley S, Smith ATT (2018). Introduction. In  (Ed) Science and the politics of openness, 1-20.
Hartley S (2016). The treatment of social and ethical concerns in policy responses to agricultural biotechnology: an historical analysis. In  (Ed) The intellectual property–regulatory complex: Overcoming barriers to innovation in agricultural genomics.
Brunk CG, Hartley S, Rodgers LC (2012). Focusing on the values in debates about animal biotechnology. In  (Ed) Designer animals: Mapping the issues in animal biotechnology.
Brunk C, Hartley S (2012). Issues of governance in animal biotechnology. In  (Ed) Designer animals: Mapping the issues in animal biotechnology.
Skogstad G, Hartley S (2007). Science and policy-making: the legitimation conundrum. In  (Ed) Public science in liberal democracy: the challenge to science and democracy.


Aebischer P, Hartley S, O'Keeffe E, Tischler V (2022). The Pandemic and Beyond: the Arts and Humanities Contribution to Covid Research and Recovery. AHRC.  37 pages.  Abstract.

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External Engagement and Impact

External positions

  • Member, International Advisory Panel, Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform, CSIRO, Australia
  • Member, UK BBSRC Working Group on Gene Drive
  • Chair, Maximising Impact Science Advisory Sub-Committee, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s federal agency responsible for scientific research

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University of Exeter, Research-Inspired Teaching Award for BEM3055 Ethics and Responsible Innovation, 2018

I lead, teach and support responsible innovation for the School of Biosciences’ Exeter iGEM Teams.

iGEM is an International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition held in Boston, USA for undergraduates where teams build and test biological systems in living cells and are evaluated on the societal impact of their work.

Visiting lecturer at the University of Oslo’s Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies. Taught: : Responsible Research and Innovation, 2017


Principle Investigator, University of Nottingham Science, Technology and Society Priority Group Award (2015) RRI tools for teaching responsible research and innovation



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