​B.S. Molecular and Cellular Biology/Political Science, Beloit College, 2002Ph.D. Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2012​

"My research and teaching is targeted at understanding the sociopolitical and technical relationships that enable and constrain sustainable innovation."

Sean Ferguson, Lecturer

Sean Ferguson‘s research is a mixed blend of methods primarily drawing from social movement studies, sustainability, environmental sociology, and history of technology. He looks at the way in which local and regional civil society groups help shape the direction of biomaterial and energy system research and regulation. Most of this stems from a central theme of cultural and organizational inattention to consumption, infrastructure needs, and externalizing environmental outcomes. He has also been researching in the field of engineering studies and pedagogy through preliminary studies working on developing metrics for testing for ABET accreditation related to the social, environmental, and global implications of engineering.


  • RPI HASS Graduate Research Fellowship awarded 2010-2012

Research Interests

  • Smart Buildings/Cities
  • Science, Technology and Society

Selected Publications

  • Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes and ABET Accreditation: A pilot study of fourth year engineering students using longitudinal concept maps. ASEE 2017 Annual Conference submission. Ferguson, Sean and Rider W. Foley
  • Review of “Chemicals without Harm: Policies for a Sustainable World” Science and Public Policy, 2015, 1–2. Ferguson, Sean
  • Sustainable Bioplastics: International Technopolitical Projects and Local Stakeholders. Knowledge from the Margins Conference August 2015; under review for edited volume. Michigan State University. Ferguson, Sean
  • Standards as Political Contestation and Scientization of Anticipatory Governance: Building and Defining ‘Green’ Bioplastic from 1980 to 2015. in process. Ferguson, Sean
  • “Introduction to Renewable Resources,” NYSBA’s Government Law and Policy Journal 15, no. 1 (Summer 2013), 52-54. John Williams, Carl J. Mas, and Sean Ferguson
  • “New York State Energy History and Politics,” in The Handbook of New York State Politics, ed. Gerald Benjamin (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 865–897. Paul DeCotis and Sean Ferguson
  • Plastics Without Petroleum History and Politics of'Green'Plastics in the United States. Diss. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2012. Ferguson, Sean Michael

Courses Taught

  • STS4500
  • STS4600