Dr James Riley

Dr James Riley

Engineering and Physical Sciences
Research Fellow

Contact details

ERI Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a mixed methods researcher interested in science and society, including: media representations of science, technology and society; public perceptions of sciences and emerging technologies; and how beliefs about science and technology can inform our identities and change the way we live.


  • PhD, Social Science, University of Birmingham, 2019
  • MSc (Distinction), Science Communication, University of the West of England, 2015
  • BSc Hons. (Upper Second Class), Biological Sciences (Genetics), University of the West of England, 2013


After studying biological sciences as an undergraduate, I undertook an MSc in science communication at the University of the West of England. Here I realised it was more the social, rather than the technical, aspects of science that interested me. I completed a PhD at the University of Birmingham in 2019 investigating media representations, and public perceptions, of Catholicism and evolution.

I am currently a Research Fellow on the ‘Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum of Global Perspectives’ project. The project builds on earlier research in UK and Canada, by seeking to investigate public perception of the relationship between science and (non-)religion, and attitudes towards evolution, in six countries: Argentina, Australia, Germany, Spain, Sri Lanka and the USA. On the multidisciplinary project, my primary role is in designing, implementing and analysing a cross-national survey.

I have co-designed and run multiple, innovative science communication and public engagement events, which explored topics including the potential impacts of AI in legal systems, the experience of cancer clinical trials, and volcano disaster planning.


Module Co-Convener: Science, Belief and Society (Year 2)


Research interests:

  • Public perceptions of science and technology
  • Media representations of science and technology
  • Social implications of science and technology
  • Science and belief
  • Evolution and society


Recent publications


Catto, R, Riley, J, Elsdon-Baker, F, Jones, SH & Leicht, C 2022, 'Science, religion, and nonreligion: engaging subdisciplines to move further beyond mythbusting', Acta Sociologica. https://doi.org/10.1177/00016993221116248

View all publications in research portal