0000003451 16W 4SWS SE Responsible Governance in Science, Technology, and Innovation (WI001146)   Hilfe Logo

LV - Detailansicht

Wichtigste Meldungen anzeigenMeldungsfenster schließen
Allgemeine Angaben
Responsible Governance in Science, Technology, and Innovation (WI001146) 
Winter semester 2016/17
Assistant Professorship of Innovation Research (Prof. Pfotenhauer)
(Contact information)
Allocations: 1 
Angaben zur Abhaltung
As a popular saying has it, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Science and technology (S&T) are arguably among the most powerful drivers of change in contemporary societies. Yet, their governance has traditionally not been left to the people who have to live with their consequences, but been the prerogative of a small group of experts – scientists in the lab, engineers deciding about a technology design, companies introducing a products to the market, or regulators in remote government agencies. The broader public has, in most cases, remained at the receiving end of scientific of technological change.

This arrangement of delegated responsibility has not been without its problems. On the one hand, experience shows that experts have repeatedly been wrong in their assessment of the risks and benefits of certain developments or technologies, as well as in their appraisal of specific technology designs. For example, early assurances about an inter-species barrier for the transmission of BSE turned out to be wrong, as did predictions about the magnitude of tsunamis to be expected in the Fukushima-Daiichi region, prompting some scholars to label today’s highly technologized societies a form of “organized irresponsibility.” On the other hand, members of the public often question presumably robust scientific knowledge (e.g. regarding climate change or vaccination) and reject promising new technologies (e.g. genetically modified food products). Many in the scientific and political community have called these rejections “irrational” or a blatant “misunderstanding” of science and technology on behalf the public. However, initiatives to improve the public understanding of science and technology through science education or public engagement have frequently shown very little effects.

Over the past two decades, new approaches to govern the S&T-society nexus have emerged that not longer treat this nexus as a one-way street – where knowledge or technology simply needs to be handed down from experts to lay people – but as a space for participation, mutual engagement, and deliberation. Practices of engagement have moved increasingly “upstream” in the innovation “pipeline” so as to ensure that scientists and engineers take on board the political, social, and ethical concerns early on part of the research and innovation process. Depending on how public engagement is enacted in specific cases, such practices may indeed create new forms of participation and democratic accountability in the governance of S&T, but they can also potentially be used to defuse resistance to innovation by circumventing critique or issuing merely nominal rights to participation.
Interest in how science, technology, and innovation related to society, politics, and responsible governance.
This course provides a graduate-level introduction to the concepts and practices of “Responsible Innovation” and corollary topics surrounding the Public Understanding of S&T and Public Engagement. Over the course of the semester, students will acquire and learn to apply a range of key concepts, theoretical frameworks, and analytic tools from the fields of Science and Technology Studies (STS), Innovation Studies, and Public Policy that will help them to deal with complex questions surrounding the practices and politics of science, technology, and innovation. They will identify fundamental patterns and recurring tensions in the S&T-society relationship and the governance of emergent technoscience, and learn how to speak about them with confidence in the context of their own research. Cases encountered in class will draw, among other things, on topics such as genetically modified organisms (GMO), climate change, geoengineering, nuclear power, environmental policy, nanotechnology and chemical hazards. For these cases, students will be encouraged to take and defend normative positions.

Among the range of topics covered are:
• What is the “right” relationship between experts and “the public?” What different kinds of knowledges are involved in the S&T-society interface?
• Who is “the public?” How do scientists, engineers, and policy-makers imagine the public – and vice versa?
• How do scientists, policy-makers, and citizens interact?
• Why do developments in S&T often meet stiff resistance from the public? How can we mobilize these controversies in productive ways?
• What if things go wrong? How do we handle risk and disaster? How do we hold scientists and innovators accountable?
• Should we democratize the creation and governance of science and technology – and if so, how?
• How could “Responsible Research and Innovation” process look like? What role do dimensions such as anticipation, inclusivensses, reflexiveness, and responsiveness play? How should we regulate S&T?
• How does the goal of Responsible Research and Innovation affect scientific practice and institutional culture? How is it being monitored?

Please note that this is not an instrumental “how-to” class that will primarily provide you with recipes or toolkits for how to do innovation policy and technology management more efficiently. While we will talk a fair bit about good and bad practices, policies, models, strategies, processes, and indicators, the main goal of the class is to put these instrumental ways of thinking into broader perspective and take a reflexive (and at times critical) look at the today’s innovation and technology practices to analyze their premises, promises, and implications.

literature, in-class discussion, individual and group work, presentations
Für die Anmeldung zur Teilnahme müssen Sie sich in TUMonline als Studierende/r identifizieren.
Note: Interest in how science, technology, and innovation related to society, politics, and responsible governance.
See attached syllabus
Online information
e-learning course (moodle)
This 6 ECTS course will proceed in two parts, each worth 3 ECTS. The first part explicitly addresses the notion of Public Understanding of Science and Technology and corollary questions around expertise, acceptance, top-down views of the public, engagement practice, science communication, and controversies. The second part focuses on the emerging concept of Responsible Research and Innovation, which has lately gained wide currency in the European Union and beyond. Among the topics covered in the second part are various dimensions of responsibility such as anticipation, inclusion, reflexivity, responsiveness, regulation, risk, and disaster. If you are interested in one part only, you may take it individually; however, it is highly encouraged to take the full 6 ECTS course, as the sessions build systematically on one another.