University of Sussex

File(s) not publicly available

Science and Governance: taking European Knowledge Society Seriously

posted on 2023-06-08, 08:16 authored by Ulrike Felt, Brian Wynne, Andrew StirlingAndrew Stirling, Michel Callon, Maria Eduardo Goncalves, et al
This working group report has been a mixture of privilege and pain: privilege to work with such a committed, engaged and high-quality group of colleagues from diverse arenas, not all of whom I knew beforehand,. I want to thank them all for their collegial commitment, well beyond their formal contractual obligations. However I reserve my most especial thanks for our rapporteur, Ulrike Felt, who has not only borne her full share of the writing and rewriting of several drafts, starting in summer 2006, but has also managed always to compensate for my rather indulgent academic chairing of our group's intense, mostly constructive but often difficult meetings, when I should have given pragmatism more influence. She always pulled us back on track, from the beginning right to the very end, and I am forever grateful to her for that. We convened for the first time in July 2005, and altogether met five times for about two days each at roughly four-monthly intervals. Initially we were assisted by Nicole Dewandre, who encouraged us very much to address the issue in a rather broad manner. She was replaced in September 2006 by Rene von Schomberg. On behalf of the group I thank both for helping us at the different stages of this work. Another Commission staff-member, Silvio Funtowicz, took part as an academically recognized expert in the field of our report, and we are also grateful to him not only for his own research and policy insights, but for sharing with us his long-standing experience of Commission preoccupations. I would also like to thank Michael Rogers giving us his response to an earlier draft in the light of his experiences as a senior European policy maker. None of these colleagues should be held responsible for any of the report's contents even if their advice was often influential. Our working process involved detailed debate over the nature of the problems in this domain, then production of working papers on topics identified. A further round of discussion and writing produced 'building blocks' which were almost provisional outlines of chapters. Summer 2006 saw a first full draft produced by Ulrike Felt and me, using these materials. Close to the production deadline, smaller 'specialist' informal sub-groups who had already produced topic working papers took on the task of redrafting specific chapters, sometimes radically, with each chapter going through at least three revisions. In this process there was a lot of interaction across the whole working group, during which we also agreed to restructure the overall draft in significant ways. Thus the final report is a group product to which everyone involved is able to sign up except Isabelle Stengers. I would nevertheless like to thank her for her contributions. Of course, in such a complex, highly-pressured, and unevenly collective enterprise this does not mean that everyone agrees with or is responsible for every word or argumentative form. Never before having presided over the collective production of what is a quite original and intellectually (not to mention politically) challenging document, but in a charged and multifarious policy context, and against a fixed deadline, I have learnt a lot. I deeply hope it was worth it. We were all convinced of the importance of the issues we were asked to address, and we spent many animated hours confronting each-other as to what we believe these issues to be. The pragmatic requirement to address policy audiences with what are complex and not always convergent ideas, itself leaves a delicate judgment as to how strongly to make our thoughts 'digestible' and 'accessible' to our anyway differentiated and not clearly-defined audiences. This also resonates with another strategic question about whether we look for immediate or longerterm impact. Although our group differed on these strategic questions, my own personal view is that if the sheer complexity of the issues and perspectives we introduce means tha


Publication status

  • Published


Report of the Expert Group on Science and Governance to DG Research

Department affiliated with

  • SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • No

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected