Ros Williams
PhD Student



  • PhD in Sociology (in progress), University of York
  • MA in Social Research (Distinction), University of Warwick
  • BA(hons) Sociology with a Specialism in Gender Studies (First Class), University of Warwick.

After studying at the University of Warwick, Ros worked and travelled before moving to York to undertake her doctoral research. She has an interest in the broad span of classical and contemporary social theory and its potential applications to the bioeconomies.

Funded by the White Rose DTC, her research is based in the Science and Technology Studies Unit (SATSU). As part of the “Rethinking the social production, locus and impact of bioscience” network, her own research focuses on the social, political and economic dimensions of the biotechnology industries with an emphasis on umbilical cord blood banking.

When she’s not working, Ros is a musician who plays acoustic guitars, bass and (occasionally) banjo. She plays in a Shropshire-based covers band and a jazz trio, and gigs at private and commercial events around the West Midlands area.



“Bioeconomies - The Political and Moral Economy of Life”

This doctoral research project has two main aims:

  • To develop a better understanding of the emerging governance structure of umbilical cord blood banking in the United Kingdom
  • To explore the views of clinical experts, policy makers and other stakeholders,  and how these feed into (1) the production of a policy to expand umbilical cord blood banking (2) the novel forms of governance that are facilitating this expansion

Umbilical cord blood banking has enjoyed a growth in popularity among parents, and resultant stem cell stocks have become more accessible to clinicians delivering therapeutic treatments to their patients. In response, clinical experts, third-sector charities and policy makers have sought to develop an infrastructure to increase the collection of immunologically diverse domestic stem cells.

The importance of developing an adequate framework of stem cell treatment provision in the United Kingdom is clear, and this research looks to develop a more intricate social scientific understanding of how an efficient system of public biobanking can be developed and sustained. In doing so, it seeks to explore the growing importance of experts in the development of policies that aim to expand umbilical cord blood banking in England and Wales and investigate the role of third-sector charities

My research also entails a critical exploration of the roles of ethnicity and race within a cord blood banking context. It is vital that we invest energy in deconstructing the ways in which the biotechnologies are transforming human identities; our very immune systems and cellular configurations are becoming determinants of our cultural affiliations, at once legitimising claims to national sovereignty and unseating long-standing indigenous epistemologies.


Selected publications

Conference Papers

  • Williams, R. (2015) "Blood in the archive: The anticipatory logic of cord blood banking", paper presented at Diagnosing Legal Temporalities workshop, 15 April, University of Kent
  • Williams, R. (2014) "Bionetworking and co-labour in the UK's Public Stem Cell Inventory", paper presented at Centre for Bionetworking conference on cell therapy, 12 November, University of Sussex
  • Williams, R. (2014) "Cords of Collaboration: Platforms and Rhetorics in the UK's Public Stem Cell Inventory", paper presented at BSA Medical Sociology 46th conference XVIII, 10 September, University of Aston
  • Williams, R. (2014) "Cords of Collaboration: Exploring Aims and Claims in the Governance Structure of the British Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cell Bioeconomy", paper presented at ISA Congress XVIII RC15 Sociology of Health, 19 July, Yokohama, Japan
  • Williams, R. (2014) "Thinking STS: The UK's cord blood bioeconomy, and the drive to Buy British", paper presented at PG panel of Inaugural UKAsSIST National Organisation, 30th June, University of York, UK
  • Williams, R. and N. Brown (2014) "An Affirmative Immunitary Logic - the distanciated intimacies of international public stem cell banking", paper presented at ISRF-ReCSS Workshop: Critique and Critiques, 13th May, University of York, UK
  • Williams, R (2014) "Cords of Collaboration: Exploring Political, Clinical, Private and Third-sector Interests within the Emerging British Umbilical Cord Stem Cell Bioeconomy", paper presented at BSA Annual Conference, 25th April, University of Leeds, UK
  • Williams, R and N. Brown (2014) "Immunitary surplus: excess and recoil in blood stem cell banking", paper presented at Topologies of Immunity workshop, 10th April, Department of Geography, University of Exeter, UK.
  • Williams, R (2014) "Untwisting the cords: exploring the political value(s) of race in British umbilical cord blood stem cell policy", paper presented at BSA Race and Ethnicity Study Group Conference - Mapping the Field: Contemporary Theories of Race, Racism and Ethnicity, 31st January, Newman University, Birmingham UK.
  • Williams, R (2013) “Race Forgotten, Race Remembered: bio-objectification processes and tissue typing of UCB stem cells”, paper presented at Bio-Objects COST Action IS1001 Conference Postgraduate Seminar 1st October, University of York, UK.
  • Williams, R. (2013) "Race reified: value and minority ethnicities in the UK umbilical cord blood stem cell bioeconomy", paper presented at Postgraduate Forum on Genetics and Society's 13th Colloquium: Scientific Innovation in the Biosociety, 24th June, University of Leeds, UK.

Book Reviews

  • Williams, R. (2015) ‘Book Review: Tim Campbell and Adam Sitze (2011) “Biopolitics: A reader", Political Studies Review 13(2)
  • Williams, R. (2014) ‘Book Review: Roberto Esposito (2011) “Immunitas: The Protection and Negation of Life: Cambridge: Polity Press, Political Studies Review 12(2)
  • Williams, R. (2013) ‘Book Review: Catherine Bliss (2012) "Race Decoded: The Genomic Fight for Social Justice" Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press’, Sociology (forthcoming)

I also blog on race and ethnicity, science and health policy, and social theory at Largely Hokum (



  • Individual and Public Health, a first year undergraduate nursing module in the School of Health Sciences
  • Introduction to Sociological Theory, a first year undergraduate sociology module in the Department of Sociology
  • Cultivating a Sociological Imagination, a first year undergraduate sociology module in the Department of Sociology - lecture on globalisation and transplant medicine


  • Qualitative Methods, an MA taught module for Social Research students - lecture on the ethics of consent in the interview setting.

Ros Williams

Contact details

Ros Williams
PhD Student
Department of Sociology
University of York
North Yorkshire
YO10 5DD