Conference Agenda

Session
RN24_02a: Science, technology, innovation & society II
Time:
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Harald Rohracher, Linköping University
Location: UP.3.213
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Third Floor Oxford Road

Presentations

CRISPR In Context: Lessons for Genome Editing from the History of Controversial Biotechnologies

Stevienna de Saille1, Michael Morrison2

1iHuman, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom; 2HeLEX, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Widespread use of CRISPR-Cas-9 has prompted calls for greater public engagement with genome editing, long before the birth of genetically edited twins in China, with the assumption that this will help pre-empt or avoid public opposition to such technologies. This concern is understandable, given the history of controversial biotechnologies. But why are so many biotechnologies controversial, and what does this mean for the way we manage the concerns they generate? The ‘hybrid’ mixing of natural and human-directed processes in the objects produced by biotechnology can make them appear unsettling, even monstrous. Recognising this, future oversight of technologies like genome editing needs to acknowledge that physical harm to people or property is not the only concern that needs to be managed. Instead, we require a greater understanding of how intrinsic diochotomies are enabled by the technologies themselves, leading to inseparable qualities of fascination and fear. In this paper, we use Mary Douglas' work on 'matter out of place' and Martijnte Smits' monster theory to consider how the long-entwined history of recombinant DNA and in-vitro fertilization could be used to better inform discussions of the responsible development of CRISPR-related technologies in human beings.



Co-created Strategic Planning in Academia: Case Study of an Action Research Group

Senabre Hidalgo Enric1, Fuster Morell Mayo2

1Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria; 2Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain

Exploratory case study of how co-creation methodologies can be applied to strategic planning in academic research. We describe the co-designed strategic planning of an action-research group, outlining its integration in the group’s novel day-to-day Agile project management (APM). The strategic objectives of the group were formulated in a participative process, in which visualization and other co-design techniques were adopted from an ecosystemic perspective, to ensure diversity and maximize agreement among team members and research collaborators from different disciplines. Results of the strategic planning where also benchmarked with the ones from the research center where the group is integrated, and in connection with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) principles, adopted as landmark at final stages of the process. Our paper explains the rationale of the different stages in connection with literature about strategic planning, collaboration in research management and co-creation derived from design thinking and APM. The analysis of this case study is based on methods of participant observation, surveys to participants and content analysis of the online tools used by the research group. On the one hand, results coincide with existing literature about the need to understand strategic planning as a dialogic and emergent process, where our novel contribution in the field of research management analyses the benefits of co-creation approaches for team members engagement with strategic vision, as well as for dealing with complexity in the day-to-day of academic activity. On the other hand, this study offers a systematized methodological description for the co-creation of participative planning and in research groups, which could be of practical interest for scientific institutions in different areas.



Social Aspects of Technological Approaches to Increase Personal Mobility for Visually Impaired Persons in Urban Spaces

Markus Winkelmann, Nora Weinberger

KIT, Germany

Background: Due to the partial or complete loss of vision people have to meet two challenges: first, the free movement through space (navigation), and second, the knowledge of the spatial issues and their walkable ways. This can lead to a decreased range of motion and restricted mobility and might result in social isolation. A technical solution can be audio-tactile navigation systems. By using acoustic and haptic signals, the system provides the user with an easier and more independent daily mobility and supports the autonomy of the person.

Hypothesis: Applying a socio-technical perspective and assuming a co-evolution between technical and social factors is regarded as essential to develop innovative technologies in a way that it is acceptable for all parties, in particular users and those affected by technology.

Method: To deal with the complex co-evolutionary dynamics in the assessment and the social embeddedness of the technology users as well as scientific experts, stakeholders and citizens are involved in the project ‚TERRAIN – independent mobility of visually impaired persons in urban surroundings through audio-tactile navigation‘.

Results: Technology developers are regarding the TERRAIN technology as innovative for enabling visually impaired people to access their individual social spaces in the neighborhood and allowing a "secured participation" in social life. The accompanying research examines potential ethical, legal, social implications (ELSI) of a real world implementation and proposes measures to promote acceptance by users and potentially affected persons in public.



A Complicated Union. Epistemological Challenges In The Collaboration Between Architects And Sociologists

Séverine Marguin

Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

This contribution examines interdisciplinarity between design and social science in the academic field and its impact on the refiguration of scientific understandings. In the course of the so-called "Design Turn" (Schäffner 2010), that promotes the integration of design disciplines (such as architecture, design and art) within the humanities, we can observe for the field of spatial research new collaborations emerging between architects, urban designers and sociologists, on which a strong innovative potential is attributed. But to what extent do such collaborations work? Which problems do they face? And how do they affect respective disciplinary epistemic cultures (Knorr-Cetina 2002)?

Based on an ethnographic investigation on a research project involving the three disciplines, we would like to show central epistemological and methodical challenges, that shape everyday collaborative research practices. The relationship to empirism forms an interesting focus, so far it founds their understanding of scientific validity. A main point of empirical contention concerns the definition of what an empirical data is and its relation to the constructed reality. A second fundamental difference is their handling with visual research methods, which, while embodied as a tacit knowledge by the architects, is still in the process of being legitimised for the sociologists - despite recent developments in visual sociology towards photography or videography.

Finally, we will address the asymmetry of the relationships between the disciplines. We can observe a scientification of architecture and urban design research, understood as an imperativ for their alignment with sociological criteria of scientific validity. What does such a levelling mean for the development of architectural research? And what does it reveal on interdisciplinarity?