Call for Papers: Biofuels and (ir)Responsible Innovation Conference, 13-14 April 2015

Call for papers: Biofuels and (ir)responsible innovation: tensions between policy, practice and sustainable development.

We cordially invite you to participate in the closing conference of the NWO Societally Responsible Innovation project: ‘Biofuels: sustainable innovation or gold rush?’

Venue: The conference will be hosted by Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, NL.

Dates: Mo. 13- Tue. 14 April 2015. The first day of the conference will be devoted to scientific research; the second day will bring scientists in contact with policy-makers and other societal stakeholders to discuss practical implications of the research presented.

Keynote spekers (scientific):

– Dr. Jennifer Baka (the London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK)

– Dr. Atakilte Beyene (The Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden)

– Dr. Carol Hunsberger (University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada)

– Dr. Lena Partzsch (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany)

– Dr. Joachim Spangenberg (UFZ Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Halle, Germany)

Keynote speakers (society):

– Drs. Nathalie van Haren (Both ENDS)

(To be updated…)

Background: For as long as biofuels have prominently appeared in EU policy, they have been a contested energy source. Crops such as jatropha have been hailed as ‘wonder crop’, only to experience an ‘extraordinary collapse’ within a decade. From the food vs. fuel discussion to indirect land use change, wicked problems have plagued biofuel developments and continue to provoke disagreement between societal actors. The impacts of biofuels’ tumultuous history have been felt particularly in the Global South, where land grabbing and opportunistic behaviour of investors have caused great social and ecological problems.

Proponents of biofuels claim that this is all the more reason to continue with investments and innovation: new sources of biofuels, such as plant residues and algae, will eventually solve all our problems. Given the great uncertainties and past harms, however, these claims should not be accepted lightly, nor should we assume that all encountered problems are technology-specific. Rather, we should realise that biofuels as a case study raise fundamental questions with regard to policy and governance, responsible innovation and sustainable development.

This conference is devoted to addressing these fundamental questions from a multidisciplinary perspective. As such, we welcome contributions from (but not limited to) the following disciplines: development studies; economics; environmental studies; ethics; policy studies; political ecology; science and technology studies and sociology.

Please visit TU/e website to find out more:

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