Rates and directions of research and innovation are often poorly matched to 'social needs'. We aim to problematize and explore the passages from distributed social needs, through policy agendas, to the production of science, knowledge and technologies, which are unequally distributed across needs
Scientific advance and social needs are unevenly matched, with forms of extant privilege often playing a big role in the setting of scientific and technological agendas. For instance, policy and research attention is biased towards diseases of the industrialised rich, and technological developments in agriculture privilege specific forms of productivity neglecting sustainability or local needs. Moreover, rhetorics on 'social needs' do not always address issues in science and innovation, reinforcing tendencies for scientific and technological progress to follow paths only partly driven by explicit policy agendas and social needs.
This session will problematize and explore different passages from distributed societal needs to the production of scientific outputs, knowledge, and technologies, and vice versa. We aim to explore these passages through multiple methodologies and trans- or inter-disciplinary studies. We welcome studies based on ethnographic work, policy process analysis, digital mapping, other data analysis, mixed methods, etc. We invite studies focussing on any field/sector, including, but not limited to, health, energy, housing, employment, and social inclusion.
Orienting questions include: how do social needs translate into public research outputs and (private) technological innovations? Why are particular social needs prioritised significantly more than others? Why are some needs absent in public science? How do these passages change across space and time? How are 'social needs' constructed, and represented in policy, and what role do (social) science and innovation play in their construction? What are the practical challenges in representing diverse social needs, even in a single setting, comprehensively and holistically?