Sunday, February 19, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Yuki Sugawara, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan
The spread of science and technology brings benefits as well as problems into society. In order for the fruits of emerging technologies to be accepted by society and for the benefits of emerging technologies to be maximized, it is desirable to identify in advance and carefully consider social problems, public values and needs, and to reflect them effectively in policymaking, institutional design and management of research programs. In Japan, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has been promoting “Science for RE-designing Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (SciREX)” program since 2011, with a view to prepare a system and foundation for the realization of evidence-based policy formation. Within the framework of SciREX, our project develops understanding about ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) of research and development of emerging technologies promoted by the government, and proposes how the government should deal with them through what we call “Support Tool for Addressing the Social Impacts of Emerging Science and Technology”. The tool is designed to help policy practitioners build their capability to reflectively take into consideration actual and potential social problems of emerging science and technology when making relevant policy. While our research project is still work in progress, the tool contents that we have developed so far include: (1) a systematic literature review on academic discussion around ELSI of emerging science and technology; (2) analyses of past/ongoing cases of ELSI in various research fields including surveillance technology, GM foods, regenerative medicine, international space station and high-level radioactive waste in Japan; and (3) a conceptual framework illustrating what kind of ethical considerations should be given at what stage of relevant political decision-making. We also ran a workshop attended by both researchers and policy practitioners to receive their feedback on the design, contents and usability of the tool. In this presentation, we will report on the design and the contents of the tool, how the tool has been received by researchers and policy practitioners, and areas for further improvement.