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Berris Charnley

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Dr Berris Charnley is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant on the AHRC funded project Constructing Scientific Communities: Citizen Science in the 19th and 21st Centuries. The project uses the framing of ‘Citizen Science’ - an increasingly popular method of data collection, whereby scientific research is undertaken by nonprofessional scientists – to consider how ‘public’ participation in science was understood in the nineteenth century.

Berris will be working with the Royal Society and Natural History Museum looking at the co-construction of amateur and professional roles in the early plant sciences and plant breeding in the nineteenth century. This process has many dimensions including; the importance of publication in the shifting fortunes of each group; the creation of expertise and entrepreneurialism in each of these communities and, more broadly, notions of wilderness, development, empire and civilisation which plant breeders and plant scientists alike applied with broad strokes, fat over lean, to their stabilising identities. Over the next three years, Berris will also be looking at the relevance of these historical processes to contemporary issues of publishing and professional demarcation in science as well as working on the project’s outreach and impact activities. Berris is a historian of science with particular interests in seeds, genes, plants and food.

His publications and CV are available at