Institut für Technikfolgenabschätzung und Systemanalyse (ITAS)

Re-imagining the futures of 3D printing in society

  • Veranstaltungsart:

    Scientific symposium and expert scenario workshop

  • Tagungsort:

    online

  • Datum:

    23.03.21 - 24.03.21

Re-imagining the futures of 3D printing in society

3D: Printing the Future on display at the Science MuseumScience Museum CC BY-NC-SA

This international symposium brings together leading experts on 3D printing in the social sciences and humanities. 3D printing changed imagining future production and consumption, technological capabilities and use-cases advance, mature, and diversify. Many promises have already been fulfilled, others keep motivating research and development, despite setbacks. Now, after the great hype, it is time to review the paths of research and assess novel scenarios - both in their way of portraying societal issues and regarding their potential impact. However, the social imagination of 3D printing in society needs to diversify as well. Our aim is to foster the international debate on viable and desirable futures by taking stock of and re-imagining 3D printing in society. We are looking forward to debates about the social shaping, political governance, and ethics of 3D printing and to discuss scenarios with experts for social, ecological, economic, ethical, and political dimensions. In addition to presentations and workshop formats, the symposium will entail a public event.

Call for participation

We invite researchers of all stages in their career to take part in the online symposium by way of a poster presentation. Please send an email together with a brief abstract on how your research addresses societal futures of 3D printing.

Participation without presenting a poster is also possible. In this case please send an email with a few sentences detailing your interest and motivation to join.

Please write to Mariana Leshkovych (mariana.leshkovych9∂kit.edu) until 15th January 2021 due to a limited number of participants.

Preliminary Program

23rd March – first day

9.00 am (CET) Welcome

  • Prof. Dr. Martin Wegener (APH, INT/KIT) for the Cluster of Excellence 3DMM2O
  • Prof. Dr. Armin Grunwald (ITAS/KIT) for the Institute of Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis

9.15 am Introduction to the symposium and the scenario workshops

  • PD Dr. Andreas Lösch (ITAS/KIT): Re-imagining 3D printing and assessing its futures
  • Dr. Christoph Schneider, Maximilian Roßmann (ITAS/KIT): Introducing the scenario workshop

10.00 am Keynote: Philosophy of technoscientific transformations of society

  • Prof. Dr. Alfred Nordmann (TU Darmstadt)

10.45 am Coffee break

11.00 am Poster session

12.00 pm Lunch break

1.00 pm Session: Transgressive futures of 3D (bio)printing

  • Dr. Niki Vermeulen (Edinburgh University) – Bioprinting and scientific collaboration
  • Dr. Pheobe Li (Sussex University) - The legal landscape of bioprinting
  • Dr Angela Daly (Strathclyde University) – 3D printing and intellectual property rights

2.00 pm Scenario feedback dialogue 1

3.00 pm Coffee break

3.15 pm Keynote: Designing social reality for the digital fabrication revolution

  • Prof. Dr. Neil Gershenfeld (MIT), Prof. Dr. Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld (Brandeis University) & Alan Gershenfeld (E-Line Media)

4.15 pm Scenario feedback dialogue 2

5.15 pm Break

6.30 – 8.00 pm Public event

24th March – second day

9.00 am Morning lecture: Sociotechnical futures and scenarios for society

                Prof. Dr. Armin Grunwald (ITAS/KIT)

9.45 am Session 3: Political futures of 3D printing

  • Dr. Thomas Birtchnell (University of Wollongong) – 3D printing for development
  • Dr. Aaron Bastani (Novara Media) – 3D printing for everyone
  • Jan Felix Schrape (University of Stuttgart) – 3D printing utopias in context
  • Dr. Carla Alvial-Palavicino (Utrecht University) – Deep transitions and 3D printing

11.05 am Coffee break

11.20 am Scenario feedback dialogue

12.20 pm Poster session

1.00 pm Lunch Break

2.00 pm Session: Economic futures of 3D printing

  • Prof. Dr. Peter Troxler (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences) – 3D printing communities and pandemics
  • Ulrich Petschow (Institute for Ecological Economy Research) – Resilient supply chains and 3D printing
  • Prof. Dr. Kean Birch (York University) – assets and value in 3D printing

3.00 pm Scenarios feedback dialogue 4 and wrap up

4.00 pm Goodbyes and next steps (e.g., publications)






The symposium is organized by the project “Vision assessment of scalable 3D printing” which is part of the Cluster of Excellence “3D Matter Made to Order”, a joint initiative of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Heidelberg University. The main task of the Cluster is to take 3D Additive Manufacturing to the next level.

The symposium is funded by the Hector Fellow Academy.

The project Vision assessment of scalable 3D printing is funded by the Carl Zeiss Foundation.