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Session Overview
RN24_02b_P: Science Policy & National Research Systems II
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Harald Rohracher, Linköping University
Location: PC.4.27
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 4.

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Who can research and innovate responsibly? – Challenges of RRI in European academia

Anita Thaler, Magdalena Wicher

IFZ - Inter-University Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture, Austria

Post-academic (mode 2) science or transdisciplinary research used to emphasise the need to involve different actors in the research process in order to gain knowledge that is more robust, and to leave the ‘ivory tower’ of academia (Gibbons et al. 1994, Nowotny 2006). With social innovation, knowledge co-production and responsible research and innovation (RRI; Owen et al. 2012) etc. there exist numerous other approaches, which should challenge implicit hierarchies of different types of knowledge. Moreover, especially with RRI the European Commission aimed at tackling so called ‘grand challenges’ (2012), comprising global environmental and societal problems.

“Responsible innovation means taking care of the future through collective stewardship of science and innovation in the present.” (Stilgoe et al. 2013, p. 1570)

Besides this aspect of contributing to “the overall good” (Karner et al 2016, p.24), responsible research and innovation is characterized by its process. Responsible research should not only include stakeholders in a later stage to enhance acceptability of innovations, but open the – transparent – research process interactively to relevant actors from the beginning.

However, these very characteristics of a responsible science are opposed to current rewarding processes and career systems in academia. We will present challenges of the RRI framework based on empirical findings and discuss necessary system changes in research funding and academia, so that "RRI does not become a hobby” for “retired professors” (like two experts stated in interviews).

The bureaucratic cesarism of the European space agency: building a European state through science

Julie Patarin-Jossec

Université de Bordeaux, France

Since the soviet space station Mir, space programs are focused on scientific research as the only peaceful use of outer space. The specificity of science in human spaceflights contexts (rather than aboard satellites or than remote activities) as aboard the International Space Station (to which Europe contributes) is that it requests a division of labor among scientists leading experiments, operators preparing the latter for space conditions and astronaut performing the protocol, through a specific bureaucratic system. This bureaucratization may allow the development of a political authoritarianism led by the organization of an international institution rather than by a State (as Gramsci and Nicos Poulantzas outlined it). Based on the concept of “Cesarism” developed by Antonio Gramsci to understand the rigidification of state apparatus when the latter is destabilized during an economic crisis transformed in an organic crisis threatening the political sphere, this communication aims to understand how the bureaucratic organization of the European Space Agency and its management of scientific research in manned spaceflights contributes to maintaining a weakened political power in the aftermaths of the overaccumulation crisis of capitalism occurred in the 1970s, as well as it participates to the building process of a European state through a cesarist monopolization on scientific production, which crafts the legitimacy of its space policies. While an existing literature already highlights the function of the cesarist policy of the European Central Bank on financial products in the European governance, space activities allow introducing science as a keystone in the understanding of relationships among moving back of democratic institutions (such as during Gramscian organic crisis) and capitalist system of production.

A reflexivity exercise on the Gender equality in S&T issue in FP7 funded programs: new challenges for Horizon 2020 projects

Maria Carmela Agodi, Ilenia Picardi

University of Naples Federico II, Italy

In the 2009 Report of the MASIS Expert Group, 'Challenging Futures of Science in Society - Emerging Trends and Cutting-Edge Issues', the diagnosis was one of a patchwork of ongoing partial and contested transformations. Identified trends included the re-contextualization of institutions and practices of science in society, the growing interest in accompanying institutional changes, and science new reflexivity about its own role and impacts.

Our focus is reflexivity about the gender equality in S&T issue as addressed in the EU framework Programs and its impact on a national context, as the Italian one. We have been involving in our study different sister projects addressing gender inequalities in S&T, being funded under the 7th Framework Program Call “Science in Society” (GENOVATE, TRIGGER, GARCIA…). Researchers working within one of the Gender in S&T programs funded under the Horizon 2020 call “Science with and for Society (PLOTINA) addressed too, in a thoughtful exchange oriented to mutual learning. The results of this reflexive exercise reveals ambivalences, strains, tensions, organizational opportunism, but also the opening of opportunities and levers for institutional change, addressing deep epistemological and societal roots of European political and scientific arenas. Gendering processes appear to be an overarching and ever changing while re-contextualizing mechanism of cultural, structural and institutional dynamics, to be sociologically understood and politically addressed. Gender equality is not conceivable as a fixed and predefined target, but as a changing and permanent cultural, structural and institutional issue.

Economists and economic schools of thought in nuclear policy: the role of institutions of economic expertise in Finland, France and the UK

Markku Lehtonen

GSPR, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, France

Public debate on nuclear energy has until recently been largely dominated by topics such as accident risk, energy security, and radiation-related environmental and health risks. In recent years, economic concerns have taken the forefront of these debates, with risk increasingly discussed and analysed within an economic frame. This paper examines the growing weight and changing forms of economic argumentation in the governance of nuclear power in three European countries building or planning nuclear new-build: Finland, France and the UK. The paper traces the trajectory of the EPR (European Pressurised Reactor) from a promising new technology in the late 1980s through being a showcase of French-led nuclear renaissance, to its present status as an economic nightmare highly damaging to the reputation of the industry.

The paper combines interview data with media analysis based on pragmatic sociology and conducted with the help of the semi-qualitative Prospéro software tool. It concentrates on the visibility of different economic experts in the public arenas on one hand, and within the policymaking institutions on the other. It highlights the operation of economic expertise through various national and international organisations (e.g. OECD-NEA, IEA, IAEA, Euratom, EU DG competition, environmental NGOs, national research institutes). Observations from the comparative empirical analysis are examined in the light of earlier research on nuclear energy from the perspective of technopolitical regimes and cultures (Hecht 1998; Felt & Müller 2011), sociotechnical imaginaries (Jasanoff & Kim 2009; 2013), and “state orientations” (Dryzek et al. 2002; Teräväinen et al. 2011).

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