Emerging technologies: dynamics and governance

This research theme addresses the strategic intelligence, governance, and responsible research and innovation aspects of new and emerging technologies.

An imagined representation of nanotechnology with a small nanobot repairing a cell.

We are particularly engaged with those that are likely to have significant transformational economic, societal, and sustainability implications. Examples include nanotechnology, graphene and other novel two-dimensional materials, quantum technologies, additive manufacturing, and synthetic biology. 

Our work on the innovation, management and policy aspects of emerging technologies draws on the powerful research strengths of the University of Manchester in science, technology, innovation, and humanities. 

Our work looks at the following key areas:  

  • Understanding the dynamics of new and emerging technologies
    We probe the dynamics of the emergence of new scientific knowledge; patterns of technological development; and its applications, commercialisation and diffusion. This is crucial both for a social science understanding of the significance of new and emerging scientific fields and their applied context in the form of products and services; and to support science, technology and innovation and responsible innovation policy. 
  • Emerging technologies, governance and responsible innovation
    Emerging sciences and technologies, in domains such as synthetic biology, novel materials, information technology, medicine and energy, present solutions to pressing economic and societal needs, including interrelated challenges of growth, health, and sustainability. Investment in key technologies has been at the heart of government science and industrial strategies. Yet, developments in these emerging sciences and technologies are increasingly expected to consider societal concerns related to ethics, safety, environment, and equity. 
  • Responsible innovation and responsible management of organisations
    This line of research intersects our work on responsible innovation in the governance and emergence of new technologies with research on the principles of responsible management and responsible organisations. This includes issues of institutional change, leadership, institutional entrepreneurialism, and organisational re-design. 

Associated staff