Dr Maru Mormina
+44 (0)1865 289472 (Ethox)
+44 (0)1865 289807 (Research Services)
Senior Researcher and Ethics Advisor
Maru has an interdisciplinary background, having been trained in the sciences and the social sciences. Spanning ethics, political philosophy, social epistemology, and science and technology studies, Maru’s research is concerned with the relationship between strategic ignorance and epistemic injustice, and how these might shape processes of scientific knowledge production and of knowledge use in evidence-based policy, particularly in public health. Strategic ignorance refers to the systematic non-production of knowledge designed to enable institutions to pursue their goals by actively excluding information. Epistemic injustice relates to the unfair dismissal of one’s knowledge or experience due to underlying prejudice. Both can impair (although sometimes also aid) the ability of social institutions to marshal knowledge for the public good.
Maru has applied these conceptual lenses to the study of global inequalities in knowledge production and their intersection with colonial and postcolonial structures that help maintain and reinforce historical patterns of injustice. Earlier projects investigated research capacity development interventions and contributed a decolonial framework to help articulate considerations of justice in the design and implementation of international health research collaborations and aid programmes with a capacity development component. This is still an ongoing interest.
Current work focuses on the use and non-use of expert knowledge in public policy during crises. Much of this work has centred on the recent Covid-19 pandemic. It aims to understand the role of science and science experts in evidence-based policy, how both expert knowledge and ignorance are construed and used to determine who is regarded as an expert - and who is not - what methods, approaches and paradigms are mainstreamed in policy - and which remain in the fringes. Studying evidence-based policy from the perspective of knowledge and ignorance can help us evaluate the epistemic quality of policy processes by better understanding how different kinds of information flow (or fail to flow) through which webs of decision makers, experts and advisors, especially in times of crises. The possibility of epistemic injustice and consequently bad policy choices suggests the need to pay attention to issues of diversity and inclusion in the epistemic communities, institutions and processes in which policymakers are embedded.
Prior to joining Ethox, Maru held academic appointments at the universities of Cambridge, East Anglia and Winchester. Before that, she had a brief spell working for the NGO sector.
Science, Technology and Innovation as Social Goods for Development: Rethinking Research Capacity Building from Sen’s Capabilities Approach
Mormina, M. Sci Eng Ethics (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11948-018-0037-1
A conceptual framework for training of trainers (ToT) interventions in global health
Mormina, M. and Pinder, S. Globalization and Health (2018). 14 (1):100 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-018-0420-3
Full list of publications can be accessed here.
Knowledge, expertise and science advice during COVID-19: in search of epistemic justice for the wicked problems of post-normal times
MORMINA M., (2022), Social Epistemology: a journal of knowledge, culture and policy
Moving from Collaboration to Co-production in International Research
Heath C. and Mormina M., (2022), European Journal of Development Research
THE ARCHAEOGENETICS OF SOUTHEAST ASIA
Soares P. et al, (2022), The Oxford Handbook of Early Southeast Asia, 70 - 91
Knowledge and Expertise during and after COVID-19: in Search of Epistemic Justice in Science Advice for Post-Normal Times
Mormina M., (2021)
‘Capacity for what? Capacity for whom?’ A decolonial deconstruction of research capacity development practices in the Global South and a proposal for a value-centred approach
Mormina M. and Istratii R., (2021), Wellcome Open Research, 6, 129 - 129