TASTI

Technology Assessment – Science, Technology, and Innovation (TASTI)

Research project funded by the FNRS-PDR

Who? Nathan Charlier, Benedikt Rosskamp, Michiel van Oudheusden

Who else? Pierre Delvenne, Catherine Fallon, Claire Lobet

Where? Spiral (University of Liège) and UTS-CRIDS (University of Namur)

When? May 2012 – May 2016

What?

Objectives:

  1. To investigate how science, technology, and innovation (STI) regimes have co-evolved in the regions of Flanders and Wallonia (Belgium) since the regionalization of competences in the 1980s, and how innovation has become a tool in regional policy and the formation of regional identities;
  2. To examine how Flanders and Wallonia have each adapted and responded to the influence of new political and economic principles (e.g. competitiveness, entrepreneurship, relevance) on science policy, the emergence and institutionalization of strategic science as a new policy regime, and present-day calls for “responsible innovation”;
  3. To link together and focus objectives (1) and (2) by exploring the emergence of technology assessment (TA) ideas and practices (e.g. parliamentary TA) as locally-enacted reactions to dominant policy paradigms that potentially remold the relationship between science and society;
  4. To assess to which extent, and how, TA is an indicator of broader socio-economic and cultural patterns, such as neoliberalization and reflexive modernization; thus utilizing TA as a frame of reference for comparative analysis in public policy and science policy, as well as science and technology studies;
  5. To stimulate debate among politicians, researchers, and TA practitioners on possible futures of innovation policy in Flanders and Wallonia, as well as purposeful interaction between TA and STI.

 

How?

Our approach is multi-methodological. We draw on a range of methods and frameworks to study the large scale (macro), middle scale (meso), and small scale (micro) of social interaction. As we are particularly interested in the interactions and interrelationships between these levels, increasing attention will be devoted to integrating these levels in the course of the project.

Methods include, but are not limited to:

  • Life-story narratives, in-depth interviewing
  • Participant observation
  • Ethnographies of science policy
  • Discourse and narrative analysis
  • Interpretive policy analysis
  • Sociology of policy instrumentation
  • Institutional mapping of STI regimes, which includes prospective studies (e.g. Delphi)
  • Action-oriented initiatives; e.g. TA awareness raising, aimed at politicians and members of parliament

 
Project outputs (selection) 

Articles 

  • Van Oudheusden, M., Charlier, N., Rosskamp, B., & Delvenne, P. (forthcoming), “Broadening the Knowledge Base of Science, Technology, and Innovation through Technology Assessments: The Cases of Flanders and Wallonia (Belgium).
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  • Lucivero, F., Delvenne, P., & Van Oudheusden, M. (forthcoming), “Bringing substantive normativity into technology assessments: An appeal to vision assessment and pragmatist ethics.”
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Oral and written communications 

  • Van Oudheusden, M., Charlier, N., Rosskamp, B., & Delvenne, P. (forthcoming), “Flanders Ahead, Wallonia… Behind (But Catching Up): The Identity Politics of Science, Technology, and Innovation in Belgium.”
  • Van Oudheusden, M. (2013), “The Politics of Independence and Neutrality: Reforming the Flemish Institute for Society and Technology, IST,” Paper presented at the Interpretive Policy Analysis Conference (Panel “Where is the Conflict?”), July 3-5, Vienna, Austria.
  • Charlier, N. (2013), “Questioning regional science, technology and innovation policies: The consensual case of the Marshall Plan for Wallonia,” Paper presented at the Interpretive Policy Analysis Conference (Panel “Where is the Conflict?”), July 3-5, Vienna, Austria.
  • Van Oudheusden, M., Charlier, N., Rosskamp, B., & Delvenne, P. (2013), “Technology Assessment in Transition: Mapping the Interplay of Policy Paradigms and TA in Flanders and Wallonia,” Paper presented at the PACITA Conference on Technology Assessment and Policy Areas of Great Transitions, March 13-15, Prague, Czech Republic.
  • Delvenne, P. & Rosskamp, B. (2013), “Fostering Walloon Technology Assessment: From Prospective STS Tools to Political Uptake,” Paper presented at the PACITA Conference on Technology Assessment and Policy Areas of Great Transitions, March 13-15, 2013, Prague, Czech Republic.
  • Charlier, N. (2013), “Evolving science, technology and innovation policies in Belgium: a comparative study,” Paper presented at ST Global - 13th Annual Conference on Science & Technology in Society - April 5-6, Washington D.C., USA.
  • Van Oudheusden, M. (2013), “Technology assessment and democracy: Adventures of inclusion,” Presentation for the SCK/CEN Course on Nuclear Technology Assessment, February 20, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Van Oudheusden, M. (2012), “Quo Vadis Parliamentary Technology Assessment? The Case of the Flemish Institute for Society and Technology (IST),” Paper presented at the Joint 4S-EASST Conference, October 19, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Reports

  • Country Reports for the EU PACITA project: Wallonia and Flanders.

Other outputs

  • Van Oudheusden, M. (2013), “Broadening the Knowledge Base in Policymaking: Notes on a Symposium on Technology Assessment in the Walloon Parliament,” June 2013 EASST Review.

 

For more information on the project, please contact michiel.vanoudheusden@ulg.ac.be