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ACCESS - Advancing Capacity for Climate  and Environment Social Science
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Professor Sarah Hartley

Last modified: November 22, 2023
ACCESS Leadership Team

Professor of Technology Governance
University of Exeter


The sector(s) I work in: Academic

Professional qualifications:

PhD, Political Science and Environmental Studies, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, Canada.


website and research film


About the organisation(s) I've worked for

Organisation name:

University of Exeter

About my experience and expertise

Personal statement:

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, and AI and data science applications in the environment. Much of my focus in recent years has been on risk assessment and responsible research and innovation at a policy and institutional level. I am also Co-Director of the CDT Environmental Intelligence.

Key topic areas of research or interest:

Key topic areas include biotechnology and AI. Biotechnology: Gene drive technologies in global health (mosquitoes for malaria control) and environmental conservation (grey squirrels and other invasive species), genome editing in animals (farming and conservation). AI: Digitalisation in animal agriculture, AI and data science in environmental applications.


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.

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.

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. NGO. 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.

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