In progress from 01-03-2004 to 30-09-2006
Project manager: Helge Torgersen
Biotechnology, Ethics, Expert-based, Risk, TA-methodology
The Post-Genomic Era: How does increasing complexity change the debate on genetics?
Read more on the project homepage
Taking proteomics as an example of post-genomics, the project aims to investigate the implications of the increasingly complex findings from post-genomic research, and the growing awareness of complexity, in different parts of society, and to develop recommendations for better science communication and policy advice. We will ask
* how natural scientists cope with complexity and how social scientists critical of biotechnology, especially the Feminist critique, take up the new scientific paradigms;
* how interfaces such as scientists going public, medical doctors, journalists, teachers, PR and NGO stuff convey complex findings from post-genomics to the public, and how this affects the self-understanding of these actors;
* how their efforts influence public debate and affect the social representation of scientific information among lay people;
* how complexity is conveyed to politics, especially in committees for scientific advice, and what this entails for the regulation of contested areas such as genetic privacy.
Using a trans-disciplinary explorative approach and applying different methodologies from expert interviews to psychological experiments in seven independent case studies, we aim to expose the process of translation and transformation of contents and values with respect to post-genomic scientific findings and interpretations within and between (different forms of) science, the public and policy, with an emphasis on their interfaces.
During an initial pilot phase relevant questions will be identified and a common approach developed. Seven independent case studies involving "users", where appropriate, will address previously defined topics. Draft case study reports will serve to assess the findings and develop common frames for their interpretation. In the synopsis phase we will compare, summarise and interpret the results and develop recommendations for science communication and policy advice. Three internal workshops will serve to tie the case studies together.
Project partners are: Institut for Risk Research, Univ. Vienna: André Gaszó, Markus Schmidt; Institut für Technik und Gesellschaft, Univ. Vienna: Brigitte Ratzer; Institut für Pädagogik und Psychologie, Abt. Sozialpsychologie, Univ. Linz: Wolfgang Wagner; Verein Dialog <> Gentechnik: Barbara Streicher, Susanne Schneider-Voß.
Financing: Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture in the framework of the Austrian genom resarch programme GEN-AU (GENome Research in AUstria), focus ELSA (Ethical, Legal and Social Issues)