What’s next in socio-technical intervention approaches? – Workshop at the University of Twente

What’s next in socio-technical intervention approaches?

Date: June 22-23, 2015
Venue: University of Twente

Background and aim
Collaborative approaches to socio-technical intervention have begun to proliferate in Europe, North America, and beyond. By engaging with innovation actors, both social scientists and humanities scholars aim to integrate societal and/or ethical considerations in R&D processes. Policy initiatives such as Responsible (Research and) Innovation highlight the timeliness of such approaches; associations such as the Communities of Integration Network point to their scholarly base; while recent attempts to classify, compare and frame them attest to their diversity and multiplicity in terms of activities performed (Boenink, 2013), modes of engaging technical expertise (Fisher et al., 2015), or levels addressed, such as research project, technology field or research programme.
This workshop brings together scholars practicing socio-technical and ethical integration and inter-vention approaches in order to facilitate an in-depth exchange and reflection on the specific merits and challenges of different approaches and, what is more, to jointly develop an understanding and agenda of what are promising scholarly and practical directions to moving the field of socio-technical intervention forward.

Workshop format
The workshop is organized in a way that it covers a broad range of approaches, e.g. from typically lab-level and research-project focused socio-technical integration research (like STIR), via field-level oriented approaches, like forms of constructive technology assessment, to considerations on how these and other approaches for contextualizing and intervening in research, development and innovation can be ‘mainstreamed’ in research programs. We explicitly chose for a workshop format of limited size to allow for ample discussion, and we secured space in the program to jointly and in groups have dedicated discussions across approaches. We furthermore would like to invite the presenters to openly report on their experiences with particular approaches, to share their ideas about ‘construction sites’ and promising avenues, by considering the following guiding questions:

• Differentiation: How would you position the specific approach you have been working on in the field of socio-technical interventions as a whole?
• Diagnosis: For which problems, situations, conditions is it most suited and which less?
• Characteristics and impacts: What are its characteristics and strengths, especially including its outcomes, but also its limitations and weaknesses?
• Prospects: What are the challenges and promising avenues for the future, both for this approach and more generally?

Of course, also those who do not present are welcome to reflect on these questions and bring their ideas on what is next in socio-technical intervention approaches.

Program – Day 1: Monday 22 June

11.00 Opening session: introduction to the theme

12.00 Lunch

13.00 Session 1: site level activities
Chair: Marianne Boenink
Paul Ellwood
Socio-Technical Integration Research (STIR)
Andrew Chilvers
Taking STIR out of the lab: potential for capacity building across different modes of engineering consultancy practice
Simone van de Burg
Moral deliberation in biomedical research with democs
14.30 Break

14.45 Session 2: program level activities
Chair: Kornelia Konrad
Bart Walhout
Integrating Risk Analysis & Technology Assessment (RATA) in NanoNextNL
Erik Fisher
The Center for Nanotechnology and Society (CNS) at Arizona State University (ASU)
Harro van Lente
The Societal Incubator
16.15 Break

16.30 Group discussions
Selected themes

19.00 Dinner