IFRIS, partner of the European project Res-AGorA on responsible innovation and research

Some researchers from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA-SenS), the Laboratory Technology, Territories and Societies (LATTS) and the Centre Alexandre Koyré (CAK) – members of the Institute For Research and Innovation in Society (IFRIS) and the LabEx SITES – are part of a European project to create a governance framework for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), that secures the commitment within research and innovation towards solving major social and environmental challenges that our societies face.

Science, research and innovation are integral elements of modern societies, and society increasingly expects them to address the key challenges of the future – such as health and wellbeing, sustainability, or climate change. At the level of the European Union, the growing need to gear research and innovation towards societal needs is reflected by the EU 2020 strategy or Horizon 2020. While science and technology potentially provide solutions, it is well acknowledged that they are usually accompanied by uncertainties, unanticipated consequences and controversy. Hence, Responsible Research and Innovation – RRI – has been introduced as an approach which aims at improving the alignment between research and innovation on the one hand and societal demands and moral values on the other.

It is this context within which the European Commission is funding the Res-AGorA project (Responsible Research and Innovation in a Distributed Anticipatory Governance Frame. A Constructive Socio-normative Approach) to develop a comprehensive governance framework for RRI. The goal of the Res-AGorA project will be achieved through extensive research about existing RRI governance across different scientific technological areas, continuous monitoring of RRI trends and developments in selected countries, and constructive negotiations and deliberation between key stakeholders. This comprehensive empirical work will be the building blocks of the creation of a governance framework for RRI.

Res-AGorA consists of eight European partners from universities, research institutes and offices for science and technology. The project is coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, one of the leading innovation research institutes in Europe. The project is funded by the EU within FP 7 Science In Society and runs over a three-year period, beginning February 2013.

For more information, see Res-AGorA website.

New publication – “Science in Society: caring for our futures in turbulent times”

Pierre-Benoît Joly, Director of IFRIS, has contributed to the Science Policy Briefing N°50 of June 2013, on the topic « Science in Society: caring for our futures in turbulent times ».

Issues of ‘science in society’ are not in themselves new, but this new report from the European Science Foundation, called “Science in Society: Caring for our Futures in Turbulent Times”, is written at a critical time for science policy. Recent times have seen the world having to learn to deal with austerity, libel and new models of business. This all happens at a time when innovation is being promoted more vigorously than ever as a way out of crisis and as a foundation for future prosperity. As the report argues, increased governance of science and technology and the sense of continued austerity raise significant implications for science-society relations.

The report calls for a more careful approach to the meaning of the notions ‘science’ and ‘society’ as articulated in many programmes, activities and policy discourses because neither ‘science’ nor ‘society’ are homogenous entities. The report also advocates a shift of our attention in approaches to science-society issues to move from from a logic of clear-cut choices – that suggest the idea of a linear problem-solving – to a logic of care, which admits an adaptive process of dealing with these issues in the face of diversity and rapid change already present well before ‘the crisis’ label. Key recommendations touch upon five broad areas:

  1. Linking excellence to relevance and responsibility
  2. ‘Science-society activities’
  3. Plurality matters
  4. Expanding and creating new spaces for science-society interactions
  5. Making time-space for reflexive work


p. 2 • Foreword

p. 3 • Executive Summary

p. 6 • Introduction – Unfolding the Issues
p. 6 •   Science-society relations: a concern under changing boundary conditions
p. 8 •   Broadening the meaning of science-society relations

p. 9 • The Context of this Report
p .9 •  Important lessons learned
p. 11 •   Shifting policy discourse on science-society issues
p. 13 •  Connected policy reports

p. 13 •  Science-Society Relations under Changing Boundary Conditions: tendencies and tensions
p. 15 •   Re-ordering science-society relations
p. 19 •   Changing conditions for research and innovation
p. 21 •  Explicit science-society activities

p. 24 • Recommendations

p. 31 • Annexes

Download the report SPB 50 – Science in Society: caring for our futures in turbulent times

For more information, see ESF website, P24.

The European Science Foundation (ESF) gathers 72 organisations from 30 european countries. It aims at promoting european science  Son but est de promouvoir la science européenne through partnerships between leading researchers, as well as through the coordination of policies and funding. Seven French agencies are involved in the ESF: ANR, CNRS, CEA, Ifremer, INSERM, INRA, IRD.

Conference series by Peter Weingart

Peter Weingart, Professor Emeritus in Sociology of Science at the University of Bielefeld (Germany), was hosted for one month late 2013 by IFRIS and the LATTS, in the context of an invitation campaign financed by the Université Paris-Est. During his stay in Paris, Peter Weingart gave three lectures on the following topics:

Inaugural conference: “The future of the scientific communication system”

See the presentation.

Mutual interactions and influences between digitalization of information processing, the economically driven concentration of the scientific publishing industry, and the introduction of an evaluation system monitoring the achievements of scientists and their institutions, based on mostly bibliometric data. It can be shown that these developments partly reinforce each other to the detriment of the free flow of scientific information. Solutions such as the drive for ‘open access’ are pushed by certain disciplines and are resisted by others. The problem of quality assurance (peer review) remains unsolved.

Second conference: “Scientific advice to policymaking”

See the paper.

This seminar discussed the intricacies of scientists giving advice to policymakers in the executive and legislature. It has presented different abstract models of such advisory functions and confronted them with concrete arrangements and their specific problems.

Third conference: “Science, the public and the media: communication on/of science in democratic societies”

See the text and the presentation.

In our societies the dependency on scientific knowledge has grown steadily so that the communication of such knowledge to the broader public is important for two reasons. Much of this knowledge affects individuals’ lives directly or indirectly and thus requires their understanding and critical engagement, and, second, it involves their attitudes as source of political legitimacy. The media have the function to communicate the developments in science (and technology) and to form public opinion about them. However, they have become primarily economic enterprises oriented to profit-making. Likewise, science has come under the pressures of competition for public attention. The result is a deterioration of the quality of communication.

Conference series by Peter Weingart

Conference series by David Vogel

IFRIS and the laboratory Technology, Territories and Societies (LATTS), with the support of the research unit INRA SenS, are pleased and honoured to welcome David Vogel, Soloman P. Lee Distinguished Professor in Business Ethics at the University of California, Berkeley. During his stay in Paris, David Vogel will give three lectures, open to all audiences and  with free access.

Inaugural conference: “The Politics of Precaution: Comparing Health, Safety, and Environmental Risk Regulation in Europe and the United States”
Thursday 17 October 2013, 5.00-7.00 PM, ENPC, Champs-sur-Marne (Vicat, room V002) [Lecture in English]

What are the factors that shape the public perceptions of risks, and what role do these perceptions play in the making of regulatory policies? What is the influence of scientific knowledge over risk assessment and public policies? Why and how do risk management policies differ across developed countries, and what diffusion effects can we identify? How can transatlantic cooperation be improved on these issues?

Second conference: “Sustainability: The Roles of Business and Government”
Monday 21 October 2013, 2.30-4.30 PM, ENPC, Champs-sur-Marne (Vicat, room V002) [Lecture in English]

The business benefits of sustainable management have turned out to be much more substantial than had been initially expected and thus many firms have made enormous strides in reducing their environmental impact and in creating greener products and more efficient production technologies. In a sense sustainability has «saved» corporate social responsibility by giving it a stronger and cleared business focus. However, many global environmental problems are beyond the capacity of firms or the market to effectively address and require much stronger and more effective government regulations. Yet while much regulatory progress has been made by many governments, there remains a lack of willingness, ability and/or capacity to impose adequate global regulations.

Third conference: “Global Corporate Social Responsibility: Accomplishments and Challenges”
Tuesday 29 October 2013, 4.30-6.30 PM, ENPC, Champs-sur-Marne (Vicat, room V002) [Lecture in English]

How can we analyse the social and environmental impacts of policies and activities of multinational firms, which are both constrained to become more socially responsible and in search of opportunities to integrate sustainable development and management objectives?

Programme – Conference series by David Vogel

L’IFRIS, partenaire du projet européen Res-AGorA sur l’innovation et la recherche responsables

Des chercheurs de l’Institut National de recherche agronomique (INRA-SenS), du  Laboratoire Techniques, Territoires et Sociétés (LATTS) et du Centre Alexandre Koyré (CAK) – membres de l’Institut Francilien Recherche, Innovation, Société (IFRIS) et du LabEx SITES – font partie d’un projet européen pour comprendre la gouvernance de la recherche et de l’innovation (RRI).

Ce projet, d’une durée de trois ans, s’intitule “RESponsible Research and Innovation in a Distributed Anticipatory GoVernance Frame. A Constructive Socio-normative Approach” (Res-AGorA).Le consortium Res-AGorA est composé de l’Institut Fraunhofer pour les systèmes et la recherche sur l’Innovation (Allemagne), l’Université de Twente (Pays-Bas), l’Université d’Aarhus (Danemark), le Danish Board of Technology (Danemark), l’Université de Manchester (Grande-Bretagne), l’Université de Padoue (Italie), l’IFRIS (France) et l’Institute for Advanced Studies (Autriche).

Les chercheurs de l’IFRIS, ainsi que de leurs partenaires européens, étudieront les arrangements de gouvernance existants et élaboreront un cadre de gouvernance réflexif et adaptable au RRI. Le projet se positionne clairement comme une référence aux activités nationales, européennes et internationales pertinentes. Cela inclut en premier lieu une référence claire à l’accent renouvelé sur l’innovation tel que poursuivi dans la stratégie de l’Horizon 2020. Le cadre de gouvernance du RRI, par exemple, ne devrait pas imposer des modèles de coût élevé supérieurs aux autres politiques, mais devrait porter sur des activités, comme celles qui visent à améliorer le ‘triangle de la connaissance’ en développant des liens étroits entre la recherche, l’éducation et l’innovation dans l’espace européen de la recherche.

Pour plus d’informations, voir le site du projet Res-AGorA.

Interview with Johan Söderberg

Your article focuses on electronic machines capable of producing objects. What is it ?

The key principle of 3D printers is to guide the movement of a machinery tool with software. 3D printers work like regular printers, but in three dimensions: layer by layer, a nozzle moves on three axes and extrudes a material, most often a synthetic resin, shaping an object specified in a digital file, until the desired volume of resin has been deposed. From doorknobs to parts for bikes, the kind of objects that can be produced are multiplying.

What are the actors of these innovations? What is their vision of society?

Initially, a 3D printer for home use was developed by a community of hobbyists, and the project went by the name « rep-rap ». Since 2009, a rapidly expanding consumer market in 3D printers have attracted a number of companies, resulting in an increased number of conflicts within the community. For the hobbyists, or at least for the more idealistic among them, the goal with Rep-rap was to disrupt the market in consumer goods by allowing everyone to manufacture their own objects at home, rather than having to buy the products in a store.

You talk about illusory emancipation. Can you tell us a bit more?

In fact, the title was decided by the editor. But it is true that we must be aware of the hyperbole surrounding this technology nowadays. What interests me the most, however, is not to debunk the myths, but trying to understand why the notion that emancipation can be achieved through technology is plausible to so many people. As is often the case, the hobbyists who pioneered the technology have high hopes, eccentric but sincere, about the political consequences that will follow from the spread of 3D printers. Subsequently, both their technology and the hopes they invested in this technology have been appropriated by start-up firms and venture capitalists. However, the kind of social change that a technology might contribute to will be radically different depending on whether the machine has been designed by a network of hobbyists or by a company. The emancipatory hopes invested in 3D printing now seems like a distant dream because the idealists and their technology have quickly been marginalized by firms and commercial alternatives.


Johan Söderberg was post-doc at IFRIS and LATTS research unit. His research focuses on a comparison between two cases of regulation of ‘irresponsible’ innovation: open source and legal highs. In March 2011, Johan has defended his thesis in the Department of sociology of Gothenburg, Sweden, on the topic of « Free Software to Open Hardware – Critical Theory on the Frontiers of Hacking »

« Imprimantes 3D, dernière solution magique. Illusoire émancipation par la technologie », Le Monde diplomatique, January 2013, n° 706, p. 3

Entretien avec Johan Söderberg

Votre article porte sur des machines électroniques capables de produire des objets. De quoi s’agit-il ?

Le principe clé des imprimantes 3D est de guider les mouvements d’un outil mécanique à l’aide d’un logiciel. Elles fonctionnent comme des imprimantes régulières, mais en trois dimensions : passage après passage, une buse se déplace sur trois axes et superpose des couches de matière, le plus souvent une résine synthétique, en suivant un modèle numérisé, jusqu’à obtention du volume désiré. De la poignée de porte au vélo, les objets ainsi produits se multiplient.

Quels sont les acteurs de ces innovations ? Quel est leur projet de société ?

Les premiers acteurs à s’intéresser à cette technologie, et plus particulièrement à l’imprimante 3D RepRap, appartiennent à une communauté d’amateurs. Mais ce marché en pleine expansion suscite également l’intérêt des entreprises depuis 2009, avec pour conséquence une multiplication des conflits au sein de la communauté. Pour les amateurs, ou tout au moins les plus idéalistes d’entre eux, le but initial était de bouleverser le marché de l’ensemble des produits de grande consommation en permettant à tout le monde de fabriquer ses propres objets, plutôt que de les acheter en magasin.

Vous parlez d’émancipation illusoire. Pouvez-vous nous en dire un peu plus ?

Pour tout vous dire, c’est l’éditeur qui a choisi ce titre ! Mais il est vrai qu’il faut garder à l’esprit l’hyperbole qui entoure cette technologie. Ce qui m’intéresse le plus, ce n’est pas de briser les mythes, mais d’essayer de comprendre pourquoi l’idée d’une émancipation par la technologie est plausible pour beaucoup de gens. Comme c’est souvent le cas, le réseau d’idéalistes à l’origine de cette technologie a émis des affirmations parfois excentriques, mais toujours sincères, sur les conséquences politiques liées à l’imprimante 3D. Par la suite, leur technologie, ainsi que les espoirs qui y étaient associés, ont été récupérés par des startups et des capitaux à risque. Bien que la technologie reste la même, le potentiel d’exploitation des imprimantes 3D peut être radicalement différent selon qu’elles soient développées par un réseau d’idéalistes ou une entreprise. L’émancipation a cela d’illusoire que les idéalistes et leur technologie seront très vite marginalisés par des machines à visée commerciale.

Johan Söderberg est post-doctorant à l’IFRIS et au Laboratoire Techniques, Territoires et Sociétés (LATTS). Ses recherches portent sur une comparaison entre deux cas de régulation d’innovation « irresponsable » : le partage de fichiers et les drogues légales. En mars 2011, Johan a soutenu sa thèse au département de sociologie de Göteborg, en Suède, sur le thème Du logiciel libre au matériel d’exploitation libre : théorie critique sur les frontières du piratage

« Imprimantes 3D, dernière solution magique. Illusoire émancipation par la technologie », Le Monde diplomatique, janvier 2013, n° 706, p. 3

EPOG Erasmus Mundus Master

Issues and challenges raised by the financial, economic and social crisis, as well as the dynamics of rapid catch-up initiated by a number of major southern countries and by environmental issues, require a consistent rethinking of the basis of economic policies and imply an increasing need for well integrated economic expertise for the management of these policies.

The main objective of the EPOG Master’s Course is to give birth to a new generation of international experts for public and private sectors, able to define and assess economic policies, and evolve within different political, social and regional contexts. It thus aims to provide not only an expertise in a specific field of economic policy (as usually done in existing Masters in economics) but also to enable students to get a global perspective on interdependencies and interactions between economic policies.

Most Master’s degrees in economics focus on very narrow fields or specific regions of the world. The added value specific to the EPOG Master’s course is its provision of the dual skill of expertise in a particular field and the ability to deal with the complex and systemic dimensions of economic policies, which to our knowledge is not provided by any other European Master’s course in economics. The EPOG Master’s will (i) provide students with in-depth skills to deal with different economic areas that generally require specialised training and (ii) include multidisciplinary contributions (law, sociology, geography and history, etc.) all of which are necessary for proficiency in economic policies in the context of current changes in the global economy.

EPOG programme is based on the specific institutional and holistic approaches of economic policies and achieved thanks to the collaboration and complementarities of eight prestigious universities, which offer excellent, recognised and well established Master’s courses:

  • Université Paris 13 – Sorbonne Paris Cité (France)
  • Università degli studi di Torino (Italy)
  • Berlin School of Economics and Law (Germany)
  • Kingston University (United Kingdom)
  • University of Witwatersrand (Wits) (South Africa)
  • University of Massachusetts – Amherst (USA)
  • Seoul National University (South Korea)
  • Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

For further information, see the page dedicated to the Masters of IFRIS.

DIM IS2-IT Annual Conference

Hosted by the Regional Council of Ile-de-France, the last annual conference of DIM IS2 – IT was held on April 18 and 19, 2013, on the theme of The irresistible rise of academic capitalism?

A few months after the foundation of higher education and research, this Conference aimed to bring together researchers in social sciences, higher education and research actors, and citizens concerned to discuss the issues of the structural changes that are underway.

IFRIS Annual Conference 2013

The 2013 IFRIS annual conference took place on January 22nd, in the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris, room David-Weill.

Morning Program

09.00-09.15  Welcome

09.15-09.30  Introduction by Pierre-Benoît Joly

09.30-11.00  Conference by David Edgerton (Imperial Secondary school): The shock of ancient
Respondents: Jean-baptist Fressoz and Pierre-Benoît Joly

11.00-11.30   Break

11.30-13.00   Conference by Barry Bozeman (University of Georgia): The public stocks of science
Respondents: Pascal Petit and Philippe Larédo

13.00-14.30   Lunch Break

Afternoon Program

14.30-16.00   Session 1 – Innovations and markets construction
Jean-Paul Gaudillière and Aurélie Delemarle

16.00-16.30   Break

16.30-18.00   Session 2 – Economic knowledge and public policy
Benjamin Coriat, Michel Armatte and Benjamin Lemoine
18.00-19.00   Cocktail

Getting to the Cite? internationale universitaire de Paris