Science and Technology in Democratic Society: How to Make Research and Innovation Responsible?

23. 6. 2017
9:30 – 16:00 The Czech Academy of Sciences, Národní 3, Prague 1, Room 206

Research and innovation play a key role in the shaping of contemporary societies and creating their possible futures.

New technologies transform how we communicate, travel, work and think. They alter the economy and commodity production, as well as medicine, governance, and teaching and learning practices. Technological developments, including the anticipated ‘Industry/Society 4.0’, have immense benefits and promises to offer, but also usher in new risks and threats. In this context, the idea of ‘responsible research and innovation’, which is making headway in European science policy, recognises that technological transformations have inherent social, political and ethical dimensions. This calls for societal engagement and public participation in the shaping of technological developments. The conference will address how the governance of research and innovation and science communication can support public values and the socially robust progress of democratic societies.

The event is organised by the ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’ group supported under Strategy AV 21 in collaboration with the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic.

The event will be held in English without translation.

Space is limited. RSVP by 15 June 2017 to


9:30-10:00 Registration

10:00-10:15 Welcome and introduction by Tereza Stöckelová (Institute of Sociology, CAS)

10:15-11:15 INNOVATING FUTURES - Lecture by Alan Irwin (Copenhagen Business School)

11:15-12:45 Discussion panel with Martin Bunček (Technology Agency of the CR), Rut Bízková (Central Bohemian Innovation Centre), Petr Kadera (Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics, and Cybernetics, CTU) and Alan Irwin

12:45-13:15 Coffee break (snacks and refreshments provided)

13:15-14:15 SCIENCE COMMUNICATION – MORE THAN MAKING SCIENCE SIMPLE? - Lecture by Maja Horst (University of Copenhagen)

14:15-15:45 Discussion panel with Soňa Jarošová (Technology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Liaison Office for RDI in Brussels), Hana Křepelková Rezková (Neuron Fund for Support of Science), Jakub Ráliš (Palacký University, Academia Film Olomouc) and Maja Horst

15:45-16:00 Closing and networking


Innovating Futures

Professor Alan Irwin, Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School

Across Europe, but also globally, there is a call to harness the latest developments in science and technology so as to create new forms of innovation, commercialisation and growth. Sometimes described as Industry 4.0 (or the 4th industrial revolution), the hope is that the application of emergent technologies, such as advanced materials, synthetic biology, artificial intelligence and robotics, can help build a bright economic future – and protect against the challenge from competing regions and nations. In this presentation, I will use the case of ‘graphene city’ in Manchester in order to explore the threats and promises, imaginations and governance questions raised by such ‘innovation futures’. How do certain visions of the future come to appear more plausible, persuasive and realisable than others? How do these projected futures relate to present action? What do they mean for socio-technical governance more generally?

Science Communication – More Than Making Science Simple?

Professor Maja Horst, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen

Science Communication is important in at least three different ways. First of all, science communication is crucial for the efficient implementation of new knowledge and technology in order to create welfare for individuals, organisations and nations. Second, it is a foundation for democracy and the ability of citizens to participate in decision-making on complex techno-scientific issues. And third, science communication is an integral part of culture and identity-formation in modern knowledge societies. Unfortunately, it is common to consider science communication as a public relations activity for science, or a one-way activity designed to educate supposedly less knowledgeable people. This talk will demonstrate why such an approach risks creating the opposite of what was intended: alienation and division instead of alignment and progress.