Tuesday 12

Several job opportunities (ethics of technology, technology & social change, science policy, blockchain technology, RRI, political science & international relations)

Posted by RRI Tools on 12 Dec 2017

  • Assistant Professor of Ethics of Technology (Tenure Track) at Delft University

  • Professor in Technology and Social Change at the Department of Thematic Studies of Linkoping University

  • Research Associate for the Eklipse project at the Faculty of Science, University of East Anglia

 

  • Trilateral Research is seeking to engage a Research Analyst in the field of blockchain technology

  • University of Nottingham Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) is seeking a Senior Research Fellow in Responsible Research and Innovation

  • Full Professorship in Political Science / International Relations at SciencesPo

 

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Friday 01

Several job opportunities (open science | open access | data ethics | digital transformation & governance of human societies)

Posted by RRI Tools on 01 Dec 2017

  • Project Manager for the European OpenAIRE-Advance project at ​Göttingen State and University Library, Germany

  • Interim Programme Manager at the Nuffield Foundation (London, UK)

  • The JRC Center for Advanced Studies is looking for 3 researchers to join the project on “Digital Transformation - Governance of Human Societies” (Ispra, Italy)

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Tuesday 21

3 RRI Job Opportunities

Posted by RRI Tools on 21 Nov 2017

  • University of Nottingham Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) is seeking a Senior Research Fellow in Responsible Research and Innovation

  • Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences is looking for a Research Associate in Science Communication

  • The European Science Engagement Association (EUSEA) is looking for support in the PERFORM Project

 

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Thursday 02

“Science issues are increasingly pressing civic issues” - interview with Lee Rainie & Cary Funk

Posted by Social Observatory of "la Caixa" on 02 Nov 2017

“Science issues are increasingly pressing civic issues”

Interview with Lee Rainie & Cary Funk from Pew Research Center.- originally published at Social Observatory "la Caixa"

Lee Rainie and Cary Funk are the heads of Internet, Science and Technology research at the Pew Research Center, a fact tank that informs the public about issues, attitudes and trends that are shaping the world. As a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder, it is a nonprofit, nonpartisan and non-advocacy organization, based on values such as independence, objectivity and rigor. Lee Rainie is the Center’s director of internet, science and technology research, and supervises the surveys that examine people’s online activities and the internet’s role in their lives, as well as the intersection of science and society. Cary Funk is an associate director for research, focusing on science.

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Pew Research Center conducts a wealth of research and produces many facts. How do you choose your research topics?

We are constantly looking to see which topics and key questions in society are pressing issues and could benefit from the kind of data and analysis that we can provide. Our mission is to conduct original, primary research that helps inform major policy decisions and cultural conversations. This means that we spend a lot of time trying to discern noteworthy and urgent issues in public discourse and determining which of these conversations might be helped by the kind of sound, timely data and analysis that we provide. However, we do not perform our research for the purpose of taking a position on policy outcomes.

 

Since facts are never completely neutral, do you take any neutrality measures with regard to dissemination?

We work to make sure that our research is balanced and neutral, starting with how we design our questions right through to how we describe our findings. Dissemination of our research focuses on people, groups and organizations who share an interest in the topic under study, regardless of their policy position. So, for instance, we hope our material is equally useful to those who want to limit immigration even more and to those who support more liberal immigration policies, or to those who want to cut science research and those who support higher levels of science research. We know that we are achieving our goals for balanced research when advocates on both sides of an issue cite our studies. For example, we recently observed in an appeals court that the judges on both sides of an immigration argument used our data to support their opinions on the case.

 

Why has the Pew Research Center expanded its research on science and society?

The Center decided to expand its research in these areas for three reasons. First, science issues are increasingly pressing civic issues: significant policy and ethical questions are driven by what scientists discover and how policymakers and the general public react to those discoveries. Second, science and technology innovations are at the heart of societal change: nations look to breakthroughs in nanotechnology, genomics, brain science, energy technologies, food production, robotics and other fields to fuel economic growth. Third, scientific findings are a key battleground for how cultures decide what is true: the rise of the internet and the explosion of communities of interest around science issues have raised fundamental questions about how facts are unearthed and what meaning they should be assigned when crafting policy solutions.

 

What is the relevance of science research in relation to other topics tackled by the Center, such as politics and religion?

As we already said, science issues are more broadly civic issues. Our analysis of public attitudes across 23 science-related issues showed that sometimes people’s political views are a major influence on their positions on a science issue and sometimes their religious beliefs and practices are a notable influence. Other times, people’s general level of education and their specific level of knowledge about science are influences. We find that some judgments about science are increasingly divided along partisan lines, such as support for federal government spending on scientific research, but also that many science subjects are not swept up by partisan hostilities.

The thing we find most fascinating with regard to all of these issues is that there is no single explanation for why people think the way they do about science. For example, people’s political views matter significantly in their thinking about climate change and energy issues, whereas religion is strongly related to how people think about end-of-life medical issues and people’s views about biomedical advances on the horizon

 

In science debates, what carries more weight: political ideology or facts? 

People’s political orientations appear to serve as an anchoring point for how knowledge influences their attitudes. For example, many in the scientific community believe that if the American public were better informed about the science behind climate change and energy issues, people would hold views more closely aligned with those of scientific experts. But as we found in a 2016 Pew Research Center survey on these issues, how much people know about science has only a modest and inconsistent correlation with their attitudes about climate and energy issues, whereas partisanship is a stronger factor in people’s beliefs. People’s level of science knowledge help to explain their beliefs about climate change to a certain degree, but the relationship is a complicated one.

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Wednesday 18

Get to know the RRI Tools ppts - developed to help you disseminate the RRI concept

Posted by RRI Tools on 18 Oct 2017

The RRI Tools project team has developed a series power point presentations (ppts) with the purpose to provide users with communication and advocacy tools for the dissemination of the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) concept. They were hence created to be used and adapted as convenient to:    

  • Disseminate the concept of RRI.
  • Empower as many actors as possible in following and implementing the RRI principles.
  • Help users find guidance and further information with the RRI Toolkit.

The following ppts are available:

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Monday 09

Main results from the EU4FACTS Conference - Evidence for policy in a post-fact world

Posted by RRI Tools on 09 Oct 2017

Clear recommendations for successful evidence-informed policy making was the aim for the 2017 Joint Research Centre (JRC) annual conference that took place last September 26th in Brussels

It offered an open encounter between leading experts from the fields of science, policy and media.

Background

The interaction between science and policy has never been straightforward. But this relationship has been further complicated by the current post-fact debate. This crisis is a challenge for the whole of society, not only scientists, experts, the media and policymakers, but also for politicians. We need to learn from past success and failures in building policy on evidence, to understand the causes of this crisis and to chart a new course for organisations operating at the inter-section of facts, politics and the media.

Policy making needs to find the balance between facts and values. Linear thinking cannot be applied to the relationship between science, society and policy anymore. Scientists, politicians and citizens need new models and processes to connect, to develop new thinking and to communicate new narratives.

The process needs to become more open, involving all interest groups (scientists, policymakers and society) from the design and production to the delivery phase.

Contents

  • Why should we trust science? - The role of science in times of fake news and ‘filter bubbles’.
  • Re-designing policymaking using behavioural and decision science - How can evidence and data be effectively balanced with values and emotions when policy decisions are taken?

You can download the complete EU4FACTS programme from here

Keynote Speakers

  • Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness
  • Pascal LAMY, former European Commissioner, former Director-General of the World Trade Organization
  • Sir Peter GLUCKMAN, Chief Science Advisor to the New Zealand Prime Minister, Chair International Network for Science Advice to Governments (INGSA)

See the complete list of speakers & bios here

MAIN OUTCOMES OF THE CONFERENCE

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Thursday 28

Two recent scientific publications focused on the RRI Tools project

Posted by RRI Tools on 28 Sep 2017

  • Review of the RRI Tools project at the Journal of Responsible Innovation - by Christopher Groves

ABSTRACT - The RRI Tools project, funded under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (2007–2013), is an important attempt to translate key guiding principles of responsible research and innovation (RRI) into a compendium of best practices to assist researchers and practitioners. It has set up a valuable database of practical and other reference resources, instigated an EU-wide community of practice, and begun rolling out training in RRI. By placing engagement at the heart of the RRI endeavour, it raises again important questions relating to how engagement is done and how it relates to the broader processes and institutional contexts in which innovation happens

Christopher Groves is researcher in Social Sciences at Cardiff University

See complete pape here

  • Responsible Research and Innovation. How to Put Gender Equality into Practice? - by Justyna Wojniak

ABSTRACT - ​This paper discusses a project devoted to the concept of responsibility in the field of research and innovation, which has been initiated by the European Commission in recent years [the RRI Tools project]. The key element of this project is performing science with society and for society, which includes wide cooperation with different societal actors, representing researchers, business, civil society and policy makers. An important part of this concept is diversity and gender equality in the research and innovation sector. These issues are also perceived as instruments of shaping correct relationship between science and society. The paper presents the main initiatives under the Responsible Research and Innovation project and selected good practices introduced by research institutions aimed at overcoming gender imbalance in the scientific profession within the European Union.

Justyna Wojniak is proffesor at the Pedagogical University of Cracow and board member of the Foundation “Women Scienctists – Polish Women Scientists Network”

See complete paper here 

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Wednesday 28

«Science was never intended to be in the market, but today it’s a commodity» - interview with Andrea Saltelli

Posted by Social Observatory of "la Caixa" on 28 Jun 2017

«Science was never intended to be in the market, but today it’s a commodity»

Interview with Andrea Saltelli - originally published at Social Observatory "la Caixa"

Andrea Saltelli (Italy, 1953) is adjunct professor at the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities at the University of Bergen (Norway) and guest researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Together with philosopher Silvio Funtowicz he has recently written a series of pieces on the post-truth debate.   

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Everybody is talking about a crisis in science... What’s it about?

First of all, there is a crisis in replicability which is especially evident in the medical field, replicability meaning that a study should produce the same results if repeated exactly. Many articles have been written by people who attempted to replicate experiments and were disappointed to find how many of them failed. For instance, John Ioannidis and others have tried to replicate preclinical and clinical experiments.

 

What are the causes of this crisis?

This discussion can be thrown open very wide because there is a chain of causes. The main one is that science was never thought or designed to be in the market. But today science is a commodity: it is in the market, and it’s sold at a price. Historian Philip Mirowski has detailed this process in a book called Science-Mart. Privatizing American Science. It’s a play on words to express that when science becomes a supermarket, when it becomes too much of a commodity and it’s sold over the counter, the result is that its quality disappears.

 

Is this happening in all disciplines?

It affects all fields; it is also notable in psychology. Nobel Prize laureate Daniel Kahneman, who wrote the book Thinking, Fast and Slow, was the first person to realize that something was going really wrong because experiments could not be replicated. Auguste Comte, a mid-19th century philosopher, thought that sciences follow a hierarchy, according to how close they are to exact laws. So at the top you have mathematics, geometry, and then you have physics, chemistry, biology and the social sciences. The more you move away from the top, from exact laws, the closer you get to domains where things become messier, more complex. Nearly two centuries after Comte, Daniele Fanelli looked at reproducibility rates across disciplines. He found that the lower you travel down the hierarchy of sciences, the greater the increase in positive results, which confirmed his hypothesis that 'softer' disciplines are more prone to bias.

 

In this sense, where are the limits of science?

Science cannot solve every problem. Reductionism is the idea that you can take a complex system, cut it down into bits, and if you study all the bits, then you understand the complex system. But there are systems which cannot be treated in this way, for example living systems. Whenever you want to study a biological system, you have to somehow delimit it. But how do you delimit it? In organisms, everything is linked to everything else.

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