Warren Pearce

Senior Lecturer, iHuman, University of Sheffield


My work explores how science is used in public debates about politics and policy, with a current focus on three areas:

- the use of scientific evidence, advice and assessment in policy work

- how digital platforms are changing experts and expertise

- the role of images in online science communication

I have researched these themes extensively through a series of journal articles examining climate science and policy. I have also published research on other prominent cases such as plant genome editing, autism, responsible innovation and the use of randomised controlled trials in policy. I employ interpretive, digital and comparative research methods, collaborating with information designers to rethink approaches to visualisation for interpretive research.

The use of consensus in evidence-based policy

Scientific consensus is central to the production of climate change knowledge (eg IPCC) and climate communication. What lessons can other science-led policy areas learn from this, and are there plausible alternatives to consensus as a basis for policy?

Alternative expertise and the public life of evidence

Covid-19 has seen challenges to official experts from both the blogosphere and accredited scientists (Independent SAGE). What does the emergence of these challenges mean for the public life of evidence-based policy?

Imagining the future through evidence use

Sociotechnical imaginaries are visions of desirable futures publicly articulated through images and text. Do these imaginaries differ between countries and how do they shape the generation, sharing and use of evidence in policymaking?

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