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Cesagen · People

Dr. Neil Stephens

Cesagen Research Fellow


029 2087 5386






6 Museum Place


Dr Neil Stephens is based at Cesagen Cardiff. He has recently completed two ESRC funded projects exploring the practice and regulation of human embryonic stem cell banking: 'Curating and Husbandry In the UK Stem Cell Bank' and the follow-up project 'The UK Stem Cell Bank: An Institutional Ecology'.

He is currently involved in three main Cesagen research projects:

Cancer Biobanking in Practice: This project collects qualitative data on the establishment of cancer biobanks that hold patient’s tissue for distribution to cancer researchers. The project explores the role of agencies looking to produce best practice guidance and standardised - potentially universal - operating procedures for the technical, ethical and legal aspects of the work.

Seeing Stem Cells: Part of a £1.5m EPSRC grant with colleagues in the Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair (CITER) and Swansea University, this project examines the formation of interdisciplinary understanding and shared goals between stem cell scientists, engineers, and a range of other scientists who are jointly producing non-invasive imaging technologies for stem cells.

In Vitro Meat in Context: This research documents the ways in which social, ethical and regulatory issues around stem cell science and tissue engineering are reframed when the targeted application of the research is moved from regenerative medicine to the production of food. By conducting interviews with scientists, entrepreneurs and advocates leading the field internationally the project analyses the challenges and opportunities In Vitro Meat technology poses for scientists, regulators and potential consumers.

Dr Stephens also maintains an active interest in the tissue engineering of blood, the use of human cell lines to reduce, replace and refine animal experiments, and continues to write on international comparative elements of human embryonic stem cell banking.

Before joining Cesagen Dr Stephens completed his PhD at the Centre for the Study of Knowledge, Expertise and Science (KES) with Prof. Harry Collins and Dr Rob Evans at Cardiff University School of Social Sciences. His thesis, 'Why Macroeconomic Orthodoxy Changes So Quickly: The Sociology of Scientific Knowledge and the Phillips Curve', explored the social construction of macroeconomic knowledge and the relationship to wider political influence.

Dr Stephens also works with Dr Sara Delamont of Cardiff University School of Social Sciences on a project exploring the teaching of Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art/dance/game, in the UK.


Stephens, N. Lewis, J. and Atkinson, P. (2013) ‘Closing the Regulatory Regress: GMP Accreditation in Stem Cell Laboratories’ Sociology of Health and Illness vol. 35 issue 3 March Stephens, N. (in press) ‘Space, place and temporality in stem cell and cancer tissue biobanking: mediating between patient-donors and biomedical research’ Social Theory and Health Hammond-Browning, N. and Stephens, N. (in press) ‘Moving human embryonic stem cells internationally: Near-future challenges for the UK Stem Cell Bank and American collaborators’ in Ethics, Law and Society vol. 5 Priaulx, Nicky & Wrigley, Anthony (eds) AshgateStephens, N. and Stacey, G. (2012) ‘Social science in a stem cell laboratory: what happened when social and life sciences met’ Regenerative Medicine Vol. 7, No. 1, p117-126DOI 10.2217/rme.11.107Stephens, N. Atkinson, P. and Glasner, P (2011) ‘Documenting the Doable and Doing the Documented: Bridging Strategies at the UK Stem Cell Bank’ Social Studies of Science vol. 41 no. 6 791-813DOI: 10.1177/0306312711423306

Stephens, N. Atkinson, P. & Glasner, P (2011) ‘Internationaliser des standards, metter en banquet avec confiance: La mise en banquet de cellules souches s trois systèmes nationaux’ Revue D'anthropologie des Connaissances vol. 5 no. 2 p260-286 -- Free to download : http://www.cairn.info/revue-anthropologie-des-connaissances-2011-2-page-260.htm

Stephens, N. (2011) 'onCore UK: The £4m Cancer Tissue Bank that Closed' in The Gen, ESRC Genomic Network Newsletter, March 2011-- Free to download : http://www.genomicsnetwork.ac.uk/media/gen_march11_web.pdf

Stephens, N. & Harrington, J (2010) ‘A social science view on the FRAME symposium: Identities and networks’ Alternatives to Laboratory Animals vol. 38 supplement p101-104 -- Free to download : http://www.frame.org.uk/atla_issue.php?iss_id=117

Stephens, N. (2010) ‘In Vitro Meat: Zombies on the Menu?’ SCRITPed: A Journal of Law, Technology & Society 7 p394-401, DOI: 10.2966/scrip.070210.394, -- Free to download : http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrc/script-ed/vol7-2/stephens.asp

Stephens, N. & Delamont, S. (2010) ‘Vim da Bahia pra lhe ver: Multiple Movement in the Capoeira Batizado’ in Mobile Methodologies, Ben Fincham, Mark McGuinness and Lesley Murray (eds) Palgrave

Campos Rosario, C. Stephens, N. and Delamont, S. (2010) “I’m Your Teacher, I’m Brazilian!” Authenticity and Authority in European Capoeira Sport, Education and Society 15 p103-20, DOI:10.1080/13573320903461061, Reprinted in Delamont (ed) (2012) Ethnographic Methods in Education 4 vols, Sage, London in Vol 3 Educational Contents - Knowledge and Power p357-375 ISBN 978 1 84920 732 4

Stephens, N. & Delamont, S. (2010) Roda Boa, Roda Boa: Legitimate peripheral participation in diasporic Capoeira Teaching and Teacher Education 26 p113-8, doi:10.1016/j.tate.2009.09.003

Stephens, N (2010) ‘Addressing uncertainty in UK Stem Cell Science regulation’ Research Fortnight

Stephens, N. & Delamont, S. (2009) 'They start to get malicia': teaching tacit and technical knowledge British Journal of Sociology of Education 30 p537-48, DOI: 10.1080/01425690903101031

Stephens, N. Chekar, C. K. & Lewis, J. (2009) ‘Global Issues, Regional Engagement: ‘Discussing Stem Cells in Context’ event hosted at the National Assembly for Wales, 19th May 2009’ ESRC Genomics Network Newsletter, -- Free to download : http://www.genomicsnetwork.ac.uk/media/September%20Issue.pdf

Stephens, N. Atkinson, P. and Glasner, P. (2008) The UK Stem Cell Bank as Performative Architecture New Genetics and Society vol. 27 p87-99, DOI: 10.1080/14636770802076977

Eriksson, L. Stephens, N. and Webster, A (2008) Stem Cell Spaces, Places and Flows editors introduction to special edition of New Genetics and Society vol. 27 p83-7, DOI:10.1080/14636770802076936

Stephens, N. Atkinson, P. and Glasner, P. (2008) The UK Stem Cell Bank: Securing the past, validating the present, protecting the future Science as Culture vol. 17 p43-56, DOI : 10.1080/09505430701872970

Delamont, S. and Stephens, N. (2008) Up on the Roof, Cultural Sociology, vol. 2 p57-75, DOI :10.1177/1749975507086274

Stephens, N. (2008) Political interpretative flexibility and the economics of inflation and unemployment Cardiff School of Social Sciences Working Papers paper 114 -- Free to download : http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/socsi/resources/wp114.pdf

Stephens, N. (2008) Internationalising Stem Cell Banking? : Challenges in harmonising the international movement of human embryonic stem cells ESRC Genomics Network Newsletter March 2008 p28-30 -- Free to download : http://www.genomicsnetwork.ac.uk/media/egnfullmin2.pdf

Stephens, N. (2007) Collecting data from elites and ultra elites: telephone and face-to-face interviews with macroeconomists Qualitative Research vol. 7 p203-16, DOI: 10.1177/1468794107076020, Reprinted in SAGE Qualitative Research Methods (SAGE Benchmarks in Social Research Methods series) vol. 2 2010 page 291-306

Delamont, S. & Stephens, N. (2007) Excruciating Elegance: Representing the Embodied Habitus of Capoeira Qualiti Working Paper – Qualiti/WPS/003, -- Free to download : http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/socsi/qualiti/WorkingPapers/Qualiti_WPS_003.pdf

Stephens, N. and Delamont, S. (2006) Balancing the Berimbau, Qualitative Inquiry, vol. 12 p316-39 reprinted in Representing Ethnography vol 4. p89-112, DOI: 10.1177/1077800405284370

Stephens, N. and Delamont, S. (2006) Samba no Mar, in D. Waskul and P. Vannini (eds.) Body/Embodiment, Aldershot: Gower

Research Interests

  • Social Studies of Science and Technology
  • The Regulation of Stem Cell Science
  • In Vitro Meat
  • Cancer Biobanking
  • Capoeira in the UK
  • The Social Construction of Macroeconomic Knowledge
  • Qualitative methodology