Knowledge NBIC Project
The KNOWLEDGE NBIC project responds to this concern. The project, which is funded under priority 7 of the Sixth Framework RTD Programme by the European Commission, will run from April 2006 to March 2012.
The challenges raised by NBIC convergence call for renewed, informed and democratized knowledge politics. The KNOWLEDGE NBIC project is relevant to all researchers, policy-makers and activists concerned about the political, social and ethical implications of emerging technologies.
This project is a study into the knowledge and anticipated social consequences emerging from the NBIC fields. We will be looking into patterns of NBIC knowledge production as well as the actual and potential use of and social resistance to such knowledge.
Relevant questions asked include:
Who are the key actors involved?
How do they figure in the overall ecology of both academic knowledge and socially relevant technologies?
What funding mechanisms are used to promote convergence or synergy among different technological fields?
Given the different origins of these fields, when and why did they start to converge and to what extent?
As a part of the project we will look into issues related to converging technologies, in particular with the growing moral, political and economic pressure to regulate or even forbid knowledge and technical devices emerging from NBIC technologies. Such pressures have already become apparent with regard to biotechnology and stem-cell research; the new convergence technologies can be expected to raise similar concerns.
At this stage very little is known about technological 'convergence', especially from a social scientific perspective. For this reason, our project will combine exploratory research with networking activities in order to build up a community interested in this field.
The project follows a sociological and policy science approach with the emphasis on actors and their discourses. The following methods will be employed in the course of the project:
- Historical and contemporary sociological analysis of the changing field of NBIC
- Textual analysis of relevant policy documents.
- Face-to-face interviews with NBIC scientist, researchers, S&T policy makers as well as political and industrial representatives and civil society organization representatives.
- Preliminary survey of individual researchers working in the NBIC fields.
- Secondary analysis of economic and S&T input / output indicators to complement historical / sociological analysis.
- Analysis of select print media in the countries under investigation to chart public debates on specific knowledge fields and knowledge policies.
- Participant observation to characterize processes surrounding knowledge policies and politics.
The KNOWLEDGE NBIC project will produce three deliverables, one at the end of each work-package. Upon approval they will be available for download at this page. Other project-related publications will also be announced here.