CWTS at EASST-4S in Amsterdam Header image courtesy of

CWTS at EASST-4S in Amsterdam

The next EASST-4S conference will take place in Amsterdam in July 2024. CWTS colleagues are involved in 9 open panels, showing the diversity of topics studied at CWTS. In this blogpost, they give an overview of the different panels and the topics that will be addressed.

Every four years the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) and the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) join forces to organize the largest conference in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) in the world. From 16 to 19 July, 2024 the conference is hosted by the Athena Institute in Amsterdam. The call for abstracts was recently launched with an impressive list of 397 open panels proposed by STS scholars from across the globe. There is an enormous diversity of topics that are being addressed in the open panels and it promises to be an exciting conference!

CWTS is among the larger centres in the field of STS in the Netherlands and we are proud to have CWTS colleagues involved in 9 panels. These panels show not only the diversity of topics in STS but also the diversity of approaches and topics studied at CWTS. Below we present the different panels we are involved in. We hope to receive your abstract submissions and/or see you in the audience in July!

Panel number 009, called Marine Transformations: Exploring the technoscience behind our changing relationship with the seas is organized by Jackie Ashkin in collaboration with Sebastian Ureta (Universidad Católica de Chile), Elis Jones (University of Exeter), and Jose A. Cañada (University of Helsinki). This panel begins from the observation that the world’s oceans are in peril. Human actions both threaten and promise to save the ocean, but how do technoscientific enterprises contribute to transforming human-ocean relations? We invite contributions which explore the more-than-human, technoscientific and ethicopolitical dimensions of knowing and relating to the ocean.

Panel number 071, simply entitled Seabirds is organized by Mayline Strouk (STIS, University of Edinburgh and CWTS) with Bronte Evans Rayward (SPRI, University of Cambridge) and Oscar Hartman Davies (University of Oxford). The Open Panel aims to gather case studies and discussions on seabirds to engage with contemporary urgent matters such as environmental change and the Anthropocene. We seek to engage with STS topics such as technological developments, multispecies and more-than-human studies, and space and its materialities. We welcome contributions focused on seabirds or where seabirds play an intriguing role in addressing socio-technical matters. What can seabirds teach us?

Panel number 074 explores The limits of Open Research: critical views and new perspectives and is organized by Ismael Rafols and Louise Bezuidenhout. This open panel critically examines the Open Science (OS) movement and the enactment of its core values of equity, fairness, and inclusiveness. As the OS infrastructural landscape evolves, there is an underlying assumption that these values will support the evolution of an equitable digital commons and, in consequence, equitable science. Nonetheless, simply assuming that these values are embedded in infrastructural design can be viewed as problematic. These open panels will critically engage with the dissonance between OS expectations and current enactment, raising questions relating to limits of openness, meaningful connectivity and digital democratisation.

Panel number 145, Scientific cultures in conflict and transition: Studying reform in action, addresses the recent proliferation of science reform movements, including open science, meta-science, responsible research and innovation, responsible metrics, and research ssessment reform. These ‘upstream’ reform movements seek to address what campaigners consider declining standards of quality or propriety around academic knowledge production, communication and evaluation within their own professional world. This open panel is co-convened by our CWTS colleague Alex Rushforth, together with Bart Penders (Maastricht University/Aachen University), and Nicole Nelson (University of Wisconsin Madison). They invite case study contributions on one or more scientific reform movement(s) which advocate a specific view on the right way to conduct scientific practice(s).

Panel number 154, entitled Making and Doing Oceanic Futures: Mobilising the ocean and its materialities between hope and loss is organized by Francesco Colona, Sarah Rose Bieszczad and Judit Varga. The Panel explores the ocean as an object of study and concern in various knowledge and artistic practices. It queries how oceanic futures are entangled with hope and loss and how these futures intersect with socio-political, scientific, economic, industrial, and ecological processes. This panel welcomes traditional presentations and artistic contributions (e.g. performances, films, or spoken words), and invites interventions about the ocean as an object of study and an object of concern.

Panel number 299 aims to bring together studies of new notions of research quality. Various reform movements and science policy interventions have been adding new elements to conceptions of quality in research-performing organisations. Co-convened by Marta Sienkiewicz, Tjitske Holtrop and Thed van Leeuwen from CWTS, the panel invites contributions bringing an STS lens to the study of new quality notions, the reform movements that support them and the evaluative situations where they count. We seek to generate reflections of theoretical and practical significance for (e)valuation, standardisation and justification of quality in research assessments. The panel will combine academic presentations with an interactive workshop.

Panel number 328, entitled Excavating fossilized data: Problematizing ties between academic research and polluting industries is organized by Jorrit Smit and Sarah de Rijcke (CWTS) in collaboration with former colleague Guus Dix (UTwente), as well as Shivant Jhagroe and Dominika Czerniawska from other faculties of Leiden University. In this panel, we want to explore experimental ways for STS to engage with the “cut the ties” debate around campuses worldwide. We aim to host a methodologically diverse gathering in which we can collectively ‘excavate’ data and address pivotal political-epistemic effects of ties between extractivist polluting industries and academic research in times of climate crisis.

Panel 340 develops the notion of More-than human research and Innovation. It is organized by Thomas Franssen (CWTS), Rob Smith (University of Edinburgh) and Michael Bernstein (Austrian Institute of Technology). The panel seeks to bring multispecies studies into onversation with STS focusing especially on the productive unruliness of mutlispecies collaboration. We seek to think about in/exclusion of other-than human stakeholders and the conceptualization and realization of agency in ecological restoration, sustainable agriculture, and other future ecologies, as well as environmental science and governance, for example the instantiation of the “do no significant harm” principle in European research and innovation.

Panel 397 deals with Responsible innovation in chemistry. It is organized by Laurens Hessels (Rathenau Instituut and CWTS), Lotte Asveld and Britte Bouchaut (TU Delft), and Esther Versluis (Maastricht University). Chemical pollution is a main driver for global biodiversity loss and the emissions of chemical industry contribute substantially to climate change. Regulation often falls short of adequately addressing all negative impacts of novel chemicals. This session calls for papers addressing the opportunities for and barriers to responsible innovation in academic and industrial chemistry. How is knowledge produced and what standards determine the validity of knowledge? How do institutional frameworks impact safety and responsibility allocation in the chemical sector? What is the responsibility of academic researchers collaborating with industry?

The call for abstract is now open and will close on 12 February 2024. In case you are interested in submitting an abstract but are unsure whether your paper fits the panel, do reach out to the panel organisers. All our panel organisers would be happy to discuss possible contributions.

This blog was written with contributions from Jackie Ashkin, Louise Bezuidenhout, Sarah Rose Bieszczad, Francesco Colona, Thomas Franssen, Laurens Hessels, Tjitske Holtrop, Thed van Leeuwen, Marta Sienkiewicz, Jorrit Smit, Mayline Strouk, Ismael Rafols, Sarah de Rijcke, Alex Rushforth, and Judit Varga.

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