Workshop on Self-Governance in Science and Technology

Mon, 04/14/2014 to Tue, 04/15/2014

Discussions on appropriate governance for currently emerging issues in science and technology (S&T) – including climate engineering, synthetic biology and nanotechnology – have been gaining momentum in academic and policy circles. These are frequently characterized as novel and unprecedented; however, there are aspects to these debates that are not new, and there is much that can be learnt across different cases.

The last century has seen the evolution of S&T governance across fields as disparate as transportation, communication, agriculture, energy, medicine, and dual-use military technology. One apparent commonality among these debates is that during the formative periods of emerging issues in S&T, competing interests can frequently be observed through calls for autonomy of scientific inquiry and technological development, on the one hand, and warnings of potential hazards that require regulatory constraints, on the other.

We seek to examine one particular response – self-governance by the scientific community. Systems of self-governance, in which primarily scientists and technology developers devise safety standards, codes of conduct, and channels of engagement to decision makers and the public, have been proposed across many issues, and have been met with varying degrees of contestation. Interdisciplinary and comparative historical reflection on these cases is crucial for increasing our understanding of how to create an enabling context for responsible innovation in currently emerging technologies.

Call for Abstracts