Promissory and protective imaginaries of regenerative medicine: Expectations work and scenario maintenance of disease research charities in the United Kingdom

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  • University of Sussex


This article draws upon recent scholarship on technoscientific imaginaries and the sociology of technology expectations to reveal the mediating roles played by a number of disease-focused research charities in the United Kingdom. We examine the expectations they deal with about regenerative medicine research, and how they develop strategies to support and ‘protect’ potential medical scenarios for new therapies for dread diseases. In so doing, we develop and detail a concept of scenario maintenance to denote the strategic discursive and practical work of preserving stakeholders’ faith in specific disease research pathways in the face of obstacles. Semi-structured in-depth interviews (N = 10) of research managers at nine research charities were qualitatively analysed, alongside a variety of charities’ documentary data. Our analysis yielded three themes: managing and moderating media expectations; specifying expectations about disease-specific appropriateness of regenerative medicine; and maintaining scenarios of possible pathways for future success taking challenges into account.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-407
Number of pages16
JournalPublic Understanding of Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2020


  • disease research charities, imaginaries, regenerative medicine, science and technology studies, technoscience