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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Social Aspects of Fire

IT-SAFE Announcement

We are pleased to announce that Dr Graham Spinardi has been appointed as Senior Research Fellow on the Integrating Technical and Social Aspects of Fire Safety Engineering and Expertise (IT-SAFE) project. This is a prestigious interdisciplinary project designed to improve fire safety and the quality of the built environment through better integration of social and engineering research, supported by the University of Edinburgh, The Ove Arup Foundation, and the Royal Academy of Engineering (see

Dr Spinardi has a long record at the University of Edinburgh researching the social shaping of technologies, with particular emphasis on historical studies of military innovation and other state-funded research. Major research grants include: a comparative study of innovation by firms in the UK, Germany, Japan and the USA, based on inventions patented and licensed by the British Technology Group and its predecessor, the National Research Development Corporation; a study of key developments in UK radar technology and their relationship to both strategic requirements, and to their exploitation for dual-use applications; a history of US Ballistic Missile Defence technology, focusing on the way that technical knowledge is constructed, particularly as regards claims about performance, and how test performance is extrapolated to operational conditions; and, a study of how the conservative nature of airliner development has limited the uptake of potentially greener alternative technologies.

Dr Spinardi will now turn his attention to untangling social issues relevant to fire safety in the built environment. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Dr Spinardi, or indeed any member of the IT-SAFE team, through the project’s website.