Steve Rayner is James Martin Professor of Science and Civilization at Oxford University’s School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and Director of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, where he also co-directs the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities and the Oxford Geoengineering Programme, both supported by the Oxford Martin School. He is also Honorary Professor of Climate Change and Society at the University of Copenhagen and Senior Fellow at The Breakthrough Institute, a non-partisan environmental NGO based in California’s Bay Area. He previously held senior research positions in two US National Laboratories and has taught at leading US universities, including Cornell, Virginia Tech, and Columbia.
Trained as a political anthropologist (PhD University College London 1980), he describes himself as an 'undisciplined' scholar, committed to changing the world through social science.
He has served on various US, UK, and international bodies addressing science, technology and the environment, including Britain’s Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Royal Society’s Working Group on Climate Geoengineering. Until 2008, he also directed the national Science in Society Research Programme of the UK Economic and Social Research Council. He is the Founding and General Editor of the Science in Society book series published by Earthscan.
He has received numerous awards, including the 25th Homer N. Calver Award from the Environment Section of the American Public Health Association, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Director’s Award for R&D Excellence and two Martin Marietta Energy Systems Awards for groundbreaking work in risk analysis and global climate change policy analysis respectively. He was included in the 2008 Smart List by Wired Magazine as 'one of the 15 people the next US President should listen to'.