This research maps and analyses how new security technologies are developed in practice through inter-disciplinary collaborative research between social scientists and engineers. It will contribute to cross-disciplinary and applied knowledge about the drivers and challenges of science and technology in relation to defence and security needs. It studies the HANDHOLD project (an integrated portable Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive detection device) that involves nine partners including engineering companies, academics, and end-users from five EU countries.

This project explores how these different contexts affect the management of risk and uncertainty in the development of security technologies. It examines how different understandings of risk and security interact in processes of technology development, how risks and uncertainties are negotiated and managed, and how the risk of failure and the security context shape the complex creative enterprise of technology development. The methods employed include analysis of key documents; observation of scientists and engineers in action, and interviews with key participants in different agencies.

The research will produce a number of reports and workshops for government and other stakeholders as well as high quality academic publications. It will offer important lessons for technology development, implementation, and policy making, as well as for academic knowledge.



Start date
01 March 2013
End date
31 October 2014
Grant holder
Dr Michael Bourne
Co-applicants
Dr Debbie Lisle
Dr Charles Gillan
Dr David Linton
Dr Teresa Degenhardt
Dr Katy Hayward
Dr Ivor Spence
Dr Heather Lynn Johnson
Grant amount
£188,454.06
Grant reference
ES/K011332/1
Grant type