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Science and Technology Studies in Policy: the UK Synthetic Biology Roadmap

Marris, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-9366-5567 and Calvert, J. (2018). Science and Technology Studies in Policy: the UK Synthetic Biology Roadmap. Science, Technology, and Human Values, doi: 10.1177/0162243919828107

Abstract

In this paper, we reflect on our experience as Science and Technology Studies (STS) researchers who were members of the working group that produced A Synthetic Biology Roadmap for the UK in 2012. We explore how this initiative sought to govern an uncertain future, and describe how it was successfully used to mobilize public funds for synthetic biology from the UK government. We discuss our attempts to incorporate the insights and sensibilities of STS into the policy process, and why we chose to use the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) to do so. We analyze how the roadmapping process, and the final report, narrowed and transformed our contributions to the Roadmap. We show how difficult it is for STS researchers to influence policy when our ideas challenge deeply entrenched pervasive assumptions, framings and narratives about how technological innovation necessarily leads to economic progress, about public reticence as a roadblock to that progress, and about the supposed separation between science and society. We end by reflecting on the constraints under which we were operating from the outset, and on the challenges for STS in policy.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Marris, C. and Calvert, J. (2018). Science and Technology Studies in Policy: the UK Synthetic Biology Roadmap. Science, Technology, and Human Values. Copyright © 2019, the authors.
Publisher Keywords: Responsible innovation, futures, public acceptability, governance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
T Technology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/21263
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