M.Phil. Makoto Takahashi

Postdoctoral Researcher


Makoto’s core interests lie in how societies come to understand technological risks and how they decide who can credibly inform policy. He received his BA and MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and successfully defended his PhD in September 2019. His thesis examined how expert authority is claimed and contested in conditions of low public trust. This project drew upon extensive ethnographic fieldwork, conducted in Japan following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster. During his time as a graduate student, Makoto also held a Visiting Fellowship at Waseda University and a Science and Technology Studies (STS) Fellowship at Harvard University. His work has found an international audience in both academic and policy circles: organisations in Britain (e.g. Foreign and Commonwealth Office), France (e.g. CEPN), Japan (e.g. Takagi School), and the US (e.g. AAG) inviting him to present his research.

Makoto has been working as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Innovation, Society, and Public Policy (ISPP) research group since September 2019. He leads MCTS’s Urban Energy team on the SCALINGS Project, which seeks to examine how ‘co-creation’ is being practiced in three domains (i.e. urban energy systems, robotics, and autonomous driving) across 10 nations.

  • Authority & expertise
  • Public participation
  • Nuclear disasters
  • Innovation
  • Cultures of risk

Academic Publications

Takahashi, M. (2017) “Politics, Populism and Radiation Risk: Learning from Japan’s anti-nuclear movement.” In: Proceedings of the 3rd NERIS Workshop. Paris: NERIS.

Pini, P., Cordiez, M., Fyfe, J., Defard, C., Dégremont, M., Bouillet, J. and Takahashi, M. (2017) “Anglo-French Collaboration in the Nuclear Sector: Nuclear energy, ethics and the social sciences.” Paris: Société Française d’Energie Nucléaire.

Policy Reports & Memos

Takahashi, M. (2018) “The Future of the Dialogues in Fukushima.” Memo to the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). Submitted to the Strategic Meeting on the Dialogues, Fukushima. 9 February 2018.

Takahashi, M. (2017) “Next Generation Internet.” Brussels: European Commission, Centre for Science and Policy, Cambridge Computer Lab.

Takahashi, M. (2017) “Devolution and Inclusive Economic Growth (Manchester).” Cambridge: Centre for Science and Policy.

Takahashi, M. (2017) “How to Measure What Can’t Easily be Measured.” Cambridge: Centre for Science and Policy.


Opinion Editorials

Takahashi, M. (2016) “Obama’s Nobel-Winning Vision of a ‘World Without Nuclear Weapons’ is Still Distant.” The Conversation (27 October 2016).

Takahashi, M. (2016) “Les leçons de Fukushima, cinq ans après.” The Conversation (16 March 2016). (J. Gallé, trans.).

Takahashi, M. (2016) “Five Years After Fukushima, There are Big Lessons for Nuclear Disaster Liability.” The Conversation (12 March 2016).

Takahashi, M. (2018) “Nuclear Sacrifice Zones: The spatial logic of an anti-nuclear narrative.” 2nd Anglo-French seminar on the nuclear sector: the human, social and ethical dimensions. British Embassy, Paris. 15 October 2018

Takahashi, M. (2018) “Dreaming of Protection.” CEPN, Paris. 22 March 2018

Takahashi, M. (2017) “The Improvised Expert.” Waseda University, Tokyo. 6 November 2017.

Takahashi, M. (2017) “An Expert Performance: the OECD-NEA workshop on post-accident food safety science.” Takagi School, Tokyo. 17 August 2017.

Takahashi, M. (2017) “Politics, Populism and Radiation Risk: Learning from Japan’s anti-nuclear movement.” 3rd NERIS Workshop. Instituto Técnico Superior, Lisbon. 19 May 2017.

Takahashi, M. (2017) “Framing Nuclear Power: How the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster became a populist issue.” Anglo-French collaboration in the nuclear sector: the human, social and ethical dimensions. Maison francaise d’Oxford, Oxford. 15 May 2017.

Takahashi, M. (2017) “Enacting nuclear expertise: a performative analysis of a post-Fukushima workshop.” American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting. Hynes Convention Center, Boston. 7 April 2017.

Takahashi, M. (2015) “Experts in conflict: negotiating the ‘danger zone’ after Fukushima.” States, Markets and Society (SMS) Research Seminar. Department of Geography, Cambridge. 21 October 2015.

  • Science and Democracy Network
  • British Society for the History of Science
  • American Association of Geographers