The Future of Science in Society

Publication of Science Policy Briefing

The report 'Science in Society: Caring for our futures in turbulent times' has been formally launched at the Lithuanian EU Presidency conference 'Horizons for Social Sciences and Humanities' in Vilnius on 23-24 September 2013. At the launch event and reception sponsored by ESF in the evening of 24 September, the main speakers were Professor Helga Nowotny (President of the ERC) and Professor Paul Boyle (President of Science Europe).

Project Summary

The ESF Science Policy briefing is the outcome of a strategic action 'The Future of Science in Society' initiated by the ESF Standing Committee for the Social Sciences (SOC (formerly SCSS)) in the autumn of 2011.

the aim was to deliver an analysis of the different sites where science-society relations take shape - that is, looking beyond the traditional 'Science in Society' debates around the public. For how science, technology, innovation and society are intertwined and governed in Europe is undergoing quite substantial change with the creation of the European Research Area and even more so with recent efforts to position Europe as an innovation space by 2020.

Scientific Committee

The Scientific Committee was chaired by Professor Ulrike Felt, Department of Social Studies of Science, University of Vienna, with six other expert members from the field of Social Studies of Science and Technology:

  • Professor Daniel Barben, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
  • Professor Alan Irwin, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
  • Dr. Pierre-Benoît Joly, National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), France
  • Professor Arie Rip, University of Twente, Netherlands
  • Professor Andrew Stirling, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
  • Dr. Tereza Stöckelová, Institute of Sociology, Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic

Brief biographies are available here.


Three thematic workshops took place in the first half of 2012 (see list below), with 20-25 participants each. All ESF Scientific Committees took part in one or more workshops, as well as a number of organisations dealing with science policy in Europe.  A discussion paper was prepared by two workshop co-chairs prior to each workshop - click on the images below to download the papers.

Workshop 1: On the Diversity of European Publics and Political Cultures
20-21 February 2012, Vienna

Co-Chairs: Ulrike Felt and Tereza Stöckelová


Workshop 2: Changes in and around science: their dynamics and their evaluation  
3-4 May 2012, Vienna

Co-Chairs: Arie Rip and Pierre-Benoît Joly


Workshop 3: Science in Society issues and the scientific community
18-19 June 2012, Vienna

Co-Chairs:Daniel Barben and Alan Irwin