I am a scientist-turned-social scientist based at the University of Salford, where I research the social, political and cultural dimensions of science festivals within the UK. This is a shift from my PhD at the University of Warwick, where I researched the molecular and cellular causes of conditions such as Down’s syndrome and miscarriage using yeast cells as a model organism.
My unique research experience in both the sciences and social sciences has provided me with solid experience of both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies – and my Visiting Research Fellowship at the African Centre for Technology Studies in Kenya combined these for a mixed-methods approach.
My teaching is diverse in its focus. Within the University of Salford, I teach on a number of life sciences modules with strong focus on helping students develop practical laboratory skills for careers as clinical biomedical scientists. I hold a Visiting Lectureship at the University of Warwick, where I teach science communication; and I previously held a Visiting Lectureship at the University of Glasgow, where I lectured on the MSc Medical Genetics programme on the subjects of public health screening programmes and the politics of genetic medicine. I have authored a report for the Scottish Parliament on public health screening programmes and genetics healthcare in Scotland (Kerr, 2012).
I am also a freelance skills trainer, and I provide bespoke training sessions for a number of diverse clients on subjects such as presenting skills; effective networking; communicating complex research to lay audiences; science communication; and mindfulness.
In addition to my academic research, teaching and specialist training portfolio, I have a wealth of experience of working in science festivals across the UK and in the Middle East on a freelance basis in roles as diverse as creating content for festivals, to project managing festivals and managing the delivery of festivals.
I have a keen interest in science policy, having previously held a Science Policy Fellowship at the Scottish Parliament. I serve as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Science Policy and Governance, where I chair a board of 13 editors. In 2013, I was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts.