Innovation and Ignorance: How Innovation Funding Cultures Disincentivise Endocrine Disruption Research

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dc.contributor.advisor Vallée, Manuel Bruning, Jodie R. 2022-01-11T02:14:02Z 2022-01-11T02:14:02Z 2021 en
dc.description.abstract Over the past four decades we have witnessed a surge in non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and neurological diseases and disorders. While non-communicable diseases are primarily caused by non-genetic, environmental factors, environmental health research to explore this phenomenon remains poorly funded. Funding resources in the physical sciences are principally directed towards biomedical research examining genetic and molecular processes, rather than directed towards exploring the role environmental factors play in establishing and promoting the conditions for disease and health disorder. Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) are chemical pollutants, which contribute to the aetiology of common non-communicable diseases and disorders including cancer and diabetes. EDCs appear particularly harmful to the developing brain, contributing to intelligence (IQ) loss, as well as learning and behavioural disorders. However, EDC research remains under-recognised and unfunded, contributing towards a form of ignorance. I have identified that research that could draw attention to environmental harms often remains outside the scope of science policy in modern economies. These economies position science as a mechanism to solve human problems via the development of innovative technological solutions. This marginalises the role of scientific research that explores non-genetic factors, including pollution, in the aetiology of disease and disorder. To understand this phenomenon more clearly, I examine EDC research in New Zealand. This is a particularly strategic case to examine as EDC research in New Zealand is rare. There is no cohort of scientists researching this field. To shed light on this dearth of research this thesis pursues a two-pronged approach. First, I analyse science policy to identify the political, cultural and social norms that frame policy and encourage resourcing of particular forms of science. Second, I interview scientists about the research funding regime in New Zealand. I found that science policy encourages key logics that favour economic growth, innovation and accord with biomedical cultures and norms. In health research, these processes privilege the funding of biomedical research while displacing research that contradicts these logics, such as EDC research. Hypercompetitive funding environments appear particularly stymied by research that does not align with the dominant logic.
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA en
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dc.title Innovation and Ignorance: How Innovation Funding Cultures Disincentivise Endocrine Disruption Research
dc.type Thesis en Sociology The University of Auckland en Masters en 2021-12-21T01:20:16Z
dc.rights.holder Copyright: the author en
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