Article ID: CBB160780807

Science and Technology Studies in Policy: The UK Synthetic Biology Roadmap (2020)


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 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.

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Authors & Contributors
Birch, Kean
Bulpin, Kate
Engelmann, Lukas
Hinterberger, Amy
Landecker, Hannah
Molyneux-Hodgson, Susan
Science, Technology, and Human Values
Social Studies of Science
Science as Culture
Public Understanding of Science
Science and Society
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University
Palgrave Macmillan
Science and technology studies (STS)
Synthetic biology; bioengineering
Funding and finance
Technological innovation
Philosophy of science
Foucault, Michel
Habermas, Jürgen
Morowitz, Harold J.
Venter, J. Craig
Engels, Friedrich
Koonin, Eugene V.
Time Periods
21st century
20th century
19th century
20th century, late
United Kingdom
United States
European Union

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