Richard Milne

Head of Research and Dialogue

Richard Milne

I have always been fascinated by the relationship between biomedical science and society, and the social and ethical questions posed by new approaches to the classification, identification and treatment of disease. I’m interested in how genomics and new diagnostic technologies shape our concepts of health and illness, and what that ultimately means for the care of current and future patients. My work currently explores these questions in the context of genomic medicine, big data and Alzheimer’s disease research.

Richard is a sociologist of science, technology and medicine. He has particular expertise in qualitative research methods, including focus groups, interviews and ethnographic approaches. He received his PhD from University College London in 2010 and has previously held posts at the University of Cambridge, UCL, the University of Sheffield, Birkbeck University of London and on secondment at the PHG Foundation health policy think tank. He is currently Senior Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge and leads a theme on Ethical, Social and Legal Implications within the Cambridge Public Health research centre.

Richard’s interests are in the interface between science and the public, particularly around how scientists and members of the public engage with controversial scientific topics and the possible futures created by new science and technology.  This includes a focus on the social and ethical challenges associated with scientific advance – something that he has explored in relation to biotechnology, ageing and dementia, and latterly genomics, big data and medical applications of artificial intelligence. His research, drawing on qualitative, ethnographic and quantitative approaches, has been published widely in both social science and biomedical journals, reflecting a commitment to engaging with interdisciplinary audiences.

Within the group, Richard leads the SPACE study of how experts and members of the public address ethical questions associated with the development of data-driven tools for the detection of cognitive decline and the diagnosis of dementia, and work on trust and trustworthiness in the analysis of the Your DNA, Your Say study. He currently has a number of advisory roles, including acting as member of the Ethics and Feedback Advisory Group for the Our Future Health programme, and as an advisor to  Alzheimer Research UK’s EDoN initiativeIMI NEURONET, AI-MIND and the European Health Data and Evidence Network (EHDEN).

Selected Publications

Milne R (2020) “The Rare and the Common: Scale and the Genetic Imaginary in Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Development.” New Genetics and Society 39 (1): 101–26

Middleton A, Milne R, et al. (2020) Global Public Perceptions of Genomic Data Sharing: What Shapes the Willingness to Donate DNA and Health Data?. The American Journal of Human Genetics

Gregory S, Bunnik E, Callado A, Carrie I, Boer Cd, Duffus J, Fauria K, … Milne, R (2020) “Involving Research Participants in a Pan-European Research Initiative: The EPAD Participant Panel Experience,” Research Involvement and Engagement

Milne R and Costa A (2020) “Disruption and dislocation in post-COVID futures for digital health” Big Data and Society Viral Data Symposium

Milne R (2020) “Societal Considerations in Host Genome Testing for COVID-19.” Genetics in Medicine, June 1–3

Milne R and Brayne C (2020) “We need to think about data governance for dementia research in a digital era”Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy 12, 17

Middleton A, Milne R et al. (2019) “Members of the public in the USA, UK, Canada and Australia expressing genetic exceptionalism say they are more willing to donate their genomic data” European Journal of Human Genetics

Milne R et al. (2019) “Trust in Genomic Data Sharing among Members of the General Public in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia,” Human Genetics

Middleton A, Milne R, Thorogood A, et al. (2018) Attitudes of publics who are unwilling to donate DNA data for research. Eur J Med Genet..

Milne, R, Richard, E, Larsen, E and Brayne, C (2019) “Innovation should support societal responsibility for health” BMJ Opinion

Gregory S, Wells K, Borthwick A, Saunders S, Ritchie C and Milne R (2018) “Research participants as collaborators: Background, Experience and Policies from the PREVENT Dementia and EPAD Programmes” Dementia

Milne R, Diaz A, Bunnik E, Badger S, Fauria K and Wells K (2018) “At, with and beyond risk: expectations of living with the possibility of future dementia” Sociology of Health and Illness

Milne R (2018) “From people with dementia to people with data: participation and labour in Alzheimer’s disease research” Biosocieties

Milne R, Bunnik E, Diaz A, Richard E, Badger S, Gove D, Georges J, Fauria K, Molinuevo J-L, Wells K, Ritchie C and Brayne C (2018) “Perspectives on communicating biomarker-based assessments of Alzheimer’s disease to cognitively healthy individuals” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

Bunnik E., Richard E, Milne R and Schermer M (2018) “On the personal utility of Alzheimer’s disease-related biomarker testing in the research context” Journal of Medical Ethics

Bartlett R, Sussams,R. and Milne, R. (2018) “Strategies to improve recruitment of people with dementia to research studies” Dementia

Stites S, Milne R, and Karlawish J, (2018) “Advances in Alzheimer’s Imaging are Changing the Experience of Alzheimer’s Disease” Alzheimer & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment, and Disease Monitoring

Milne R,  Bunnik E., Tromp K, Bemelmans S, Badger S, Gove D, Maman M, Schermer M, Truyen L, Brayne C, Richard E (2017) Ethical issues in the development of readiness cohorts in Alzheimer’s disease research Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease

Milne R (2016) In search of lost time: age and the promise of induced pluripotent stem cell models of the brain New Genetics and Society

Bemelmans S, Tromp K, Bunnik E, Milne R, Badger S, Brayne C, Schermer M, Richard E (2016) Psychological, behavioral and social effects of disclosing Alzheimer’s Disease biomarkers to research participants – a systematic review Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy

Milne R and Badger S (2016) Care and responsibility in building futures for Alzheimer’s disease research Boenink M, van Lente H and Moors E (eds) Biomarker diagnostics for Alzheimer’s disease: innovating with care Palgrave Macmillan: London

Milne R (2013) “Arbiters of waste: date labels and the contingent definition of good, safe food” in Evans D, Campbell H and Murcott A (eds.) Putting Waste on the Food Studies Agenda: Production, Politics and Everyday Life. (Sociological Review Monograph Series) Wiley-Blackwell: London

Milne R (2012) “Pharmaceutical Prospects: Biopharming and the Geography of Technological Expectations” Social Studies of Science 41(2)

Milne R (2011) “A focus group study of food safety practices in relation to listeriosis among the over-60s. Critical Public Health, 21(04), pp. 485 – 495.