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RSB project: act small, aim big

for Crossover Research Workshop, Trondheim; Rica Nidelven Hotell, 27.11.12

Dorothy Dankel

on 28 October 2013

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Transcript of RSB project: act small, aim big

Dorothy J. Dankel, Ana Delgado & Roger Strand
University of Bergen, Center for the Study of the Sciences & the Humanities (SVT)

The "Reflexive Systems Biology" Project
act small, aim big

Center for Genomic Regulation
Evaluating our work
produce ethical & sociological knowledge with scientists
Why Integration & How?
Ana & Dorothy
Lab leader
Lab manager
Research assistant
Computer programmer

Lab benches

“Are there ethical, legal and social aspects related to systems biology research?”
“On models, modeling and simulations”
“On the commodification of knowledge”
“On the complexity of living systems and the possibility of fabricating life”
basis for co-production of ethics manuscripts & recommendations for governance
Dialogue session topics
Center for Genomic Regulation: Comparative Analysis of Developmental Systems Research Group
Development of body segments (Flies)
How we did it in Barcelona
Ana & Dorothy
Office space
Lab leader
Project manager
Project manager

Biodesign Institute: Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology Research Group
How we did it in Tempe
Internally proposed topics:
issues related to patenting
how they approach design & complexity in their research & why
Distribution of vaccines in the third world
manipulation, creation and understanding of life
Arizona State University
Roy Curtiss III lab
University of Valencia Biocampus
synthetic biology
based on standard parts
how do scientists make sense of the things they make?
scientists are active partners our research/ethnography
create situations & "new spaces" for ”reflexivity”
identify the "right" labs & the "right" people with whom we can work
creating the space & time for interdisciplinary research starts with mutual interest & trust
Delgado, Dankel & Funtowicz (2012) "Super-Computers, Evolution & the Fabrication of Life: How can Science and Technology Studies (STS) Contribute to More Reflexive Developments in Systems and Synthetic Biology?"
lab studying a gene regulatory network believed to be responsible for the development of Drosophila flies, presented as a simplified, isolable & controllable system

Comparative Analysis of Developmental Systems
"Making common sense of vaccines"
Public trust and distrust in science
How to make common sense of vaccines?
Research on public-science dialogues
Why do we need common sense of vaccines?
What is the need for the RASV?
What are some alternative treatments?
What are the safety issues?
Who profits from the RASV?
How would the RASV affect civil liberties?
How can one know that the public health institutions care for citizens’ safety?
Phase 1
Phase 2
hypothesis of "socially robust" systems & synthetic biology & reflexivity as a necessary & helpful tool
"Grand Challenges" need robust solutions
what is "reflexive systems/synthetic biology" & how could it work?
who can we work with?
"casting the net" open seminar
Build trust with lab participants
start with a seminar to spark interest
Get a feel for their science
observe & ask questions in the lab
follow up with their scientific productions
Negotiate topics for ethical discussions
use sessions as basis for co-production of paper(s)
scientists have to earn credibility & legitimacy
"Decisions by members of the public on what science is “good” and what science is “bad” are not and cannot solely based on facts; values are at least as significant."
How to make common sense of vaccines?
For scientists, this means that there are several tasks in the science-society interface. First, there is the responsibility to establish an effective science communication about what is known, what is unknown and what remains uncertain and to what extent. Secondly, the scientific community should prove its commitment to the scientific ethos by its quality of communication with the public: through accountability, transparency and openness, including their own motives and interests.
this paper represents one example of many possible avenues of public-science dialogue developed through interdisciplinary collaboration
3 on-site integrated, interdisciplinary ethnographies/collabaorations/mutual learning experiences (2 Spain, 1 USA)
"I really appreciate you allowing me to participate. This year I will apply to the AAAS for a policy fellowship. By this time next year I will hopefully be participating in the outreach programs that you describe in the manuscript. It is really exciting for me to think about these policy issues and contribute as I can. It's a great opportunity that you've given and I'm truly grateful. Let me know if there is more I can do."

"I started volunteering in science outreach at the AZ science center this weekend..."
Special Issue in
ca. 10 peer-reviewed journal publications
"Plug and play: Synthetic biology and the dream of engineering biology"
methodological creation & testing of "ethnographies of innovative things"
mutual learning, understanding, admiration, inspiration, motivation
unsolicited feedback:
...& we are getting invited back...
act small, aim big...to be continued...
similar ethnography, but more an advisory/teaching role for us
how would society gain/lose from this technology?
Kahan (2010)
Bean (2011)
Dankel et al. co-production
Full transcript