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P397


Responsible innovation in chemistry 
Convenors:
Laurens Hessels (Rathenau Instituut)
Lotte Asveld (Delft University of Technology)
Britte Bouchaut (Delft University of Technology)
Esther Versluis (Maastricht University)
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Format:
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This session calls for papers addressing the opportunities for and barriers to responsible innovation in academic and industrial chemistry.

Long Abstract:

Manmade chemicals are omnipresent. They are needed in our contemporary society, to produce food, to ensure hygiene, to cure diseases etc. However, they also pose risks, both individually and in the mixtures in which they occur in the environment. Chemical pollution has been identified as one of five main drivers for global biodiversity loss and the emissions of chemical industry also contribute substantially to climate change. Chemical pollution (‘novel entities’) is also one of the planetary boundaries humanity must not cross in order to avoid unacceptable global change, but this specific planetary boundary is still unquantified.

Although regulation is in place, it often falls short of adequately addressing all negative impacts of novel chemicals. Adequately monitoring and evaluating chemicals is beyond the regulating capacity of governments. Instead, responsibility is placed with the chemical industry itself to ensure safe development of chemical substances. However, as can be witnessed from some recent cases such as PFAS and glyphosate, this system does not always work well.

This session calls for papers addressing the opportunities for and barriers to responsible innovation in academic and industrial chemistry. How are knowledge regimes currently operationalised in the chemical industry? How is knowledge produced and what standards determine the validity of knowledge? How do institutional frameworks impact safety and responsibility allocation in the chemical sector? What is the responsibility of academic researchers collaborating with industry? How can STS scholars contribute to improved sustainability impact in the chemical industry?

Accepted papers: