Dr Richard Milne

Brain art by Ars Electronica (Flickr)I am a research associate in the Institute of Public Health at the University of Cambridge, seconded to the PHG Foundation. My research focusses on:

  • Translational research in biomedicine. Drawing on perspectives from STS and geographical work on science and technology, my work follows the circuitous movement of research from ‘bench to bedside’, focussing on the development of new pharmaceutical technologies, currently in the neurosciences.
  • Sociological perspectives on the production, identification and understanding of risk. My current work focusses on issues associated with establishing and communicating risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease and the creation of new ‘pre-disease’ categories and ‘patients in waiting’. Previous work has explored public, scientific and regulatory understandings of the risks associated with the development of new biotechnologies, and scientific and public approaches to food risk.
  • The implications of ‘big data’, with a particular interest in changes in knowledge production, data gathering and the social structures of research and research participation associated with the recombination and reuse of existing studies and the development of new platforms for recruitment.

Bioreactor at Sanofi Pasteur (picture from Flickr)My PhD research, completed in 2009, was conducted at University College London. Focussing on the case of biopharming – the production of pharmaceuticals in genetically modified crops – it explored the geographies of scientific futures, bringing together work in the ‘sociology of expectations’ with the geographies of food and technoscience. It examined the problematic relationship between biopharming and standardised conventional biopharmaceutical production, and the discursive, material and spatial strategies through which researchers repositioned the technology. My thesis is available to read and download here.


From 2010 to 2012 I was a Research Associate on the ERC-funded CONANX project in the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield. This research had two specific areas of focus, united through an analysis of the UK’s date labelling system and its emergence since the 1970s. Through focus group work with older people in Sheffield, I explored the role of safety information in older people’s use of food, with a particular emphasis on their place in routine practice, and the significance of disruptions to these routines. I also conducted research on the capture and reproduction of taste in taste testing, prompted by an interest in ‘best-before’ labels as standardised predictions of food quality. Much of this research has been published and can be accessed through the ‘Publications’ page.

I can be contacted at rjm231 [at] cam.ac.uk