S.NET 6th Annual Meeting: Better Technologies With No Regret?

  • type of event:


  • place:Karlsruhe
  • date: 21.09.14 - 24.09.14

S.NET 2014 - Final programme now available

S.NET 2014


The Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies (S.NET) holds the annual conference on the topic "Better Technologies With No Regret?" at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, from September 21st to 24th 2014.

S.NET is an international association that promotes intellectual exchange and critical inquiry about the advancement of nanoscience and emerging technologies in society. The aim of the association is to advance critical reflection from various perspectives on developments in a broad range of new and emerging fields, including, but not limited to, nanoscale science and engineering, biotechnology, synthetic biology, neurotechnologies, cognitive science and geo-engineering.

Themes, topics and conference strands for the 6th Annual Meeting

S.NET encompasses communities, perspectives, and methodologies from across the social sciences, humanities and natural sciences, and welcomes contributions from scholars, practitioners and policy makers from around the world. This Conference takes place at one of the leading TA institutions worldwide, the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). ITAS investigates scientific and technological developments with a focus on their impacts and possible systemic and unintended effects and provides policy advice for different decision-makers.

In the ITAS tradition of linking knowledge investigation with analysis of discursive processes on controversial questions around technologies and policy recommendations, the program committee invites contributions from the full breadth of disciplines, methodologies, and perspectives, as well as from applied, participatory, and practical approaches. Regionally or internationally comparative perspectives are especially welcome.

The range of new and emerging fields that should be explored during the conference include, but are not limited to, nanoscale science and engineering, biotechnology, synthetic biology, neurotechnologies, cognitive science and geo-engineering. We also encourage applications discussing developments in NEST application areas such as energy technologies, mobility or robotics, as well as in fields with technology controversies (e.g. nuclear waste, shale gas).

List of hotels here.

Venue: Campus South of KIT

Public transport: Map of the network


Registration fees:
190 € - annual conference/meeting (it includes book, coffee break, lunch)
50 € - workshop on LCA exclusively (it includes book, coffee break, lunch just for the 24th September)

Final programme and book of abstracts

Programme: PDF

Book of abstracts: PDF

"Hands-on" workshop on biohacking

September 22, 2014 • 1:30 PM - 5:30 PM

We invite you to take part in a "hands-on" workshop on biohacking Monday 22 September. In this workshop, you will receive lab materials and practical guidance so that you can take part in a biological hack, and in this way, gain an understanding of what biohacking is about.

The workshop is lead by two biohackers and members of the DIYbio (do it yourself biology) community in Europe: Rüdiger Trojok (Berlin) and Malthe Borch (Copenhagen).

This workshop is part of Rüdiger and Malthe’s workshop series on "Biostrike". In this series, they address the current problem of antibiotic resistance from a "Do it yourself" and citizen science approach. Workshop participants are invited to explore the biological mechanisms of antibiotics resistance development and discuss its socio-economic causes and consequences. Participants will be guided to experimentally detect resistant microbes from the environment and to unravel avenues for horizontal gene transfer. The workshop will include a "scenario" oriented approach in which participants seek alternative ways to hack the technico-political system, in order to interrupt the vicious circle of antibiotic overuse, resistance development and market failure to avoid the threats of a post antibiotic era.

You are all most welcome to join us! No background in biology is required.

We have set a maximum limit of 20 participants for this event. Please register by sending an email to Nora.Vaage∂svt.uib.no as soon as possible, and no later than August 25.

The workshop will take place Monday 22 September from 1:30 PM-5:30 PM. Complementary to this workshop, we will host a more general roundtable discussion on the social and ethical aspects of biohacking on Tuesday afternoon (please see program).

More information on this workshop will be circulated soon.


Rüdiger Trojok, Malthe Borch, Nora Vaage and Ana Delgado

Workshop on "Hacking Responsible Innovation"

September 23, 2014 • 4:15 PM - 6:15 PM

The session is organized by Julia Hahn, Christoph Schneider, both ITAS; Maik Fox, Sebastian Höfer, Christof May, Oliver Reuther, Ralf Sternberg, all FabLab Karlsruhe.

How can innovations become more responsible? What is Responsible Innovation exactly? Can you pin it down to a particular and concrete thing? In this experimental workshop we would like to invite you to try just this. In collaboration with activists of the FabLab Karlsruhe, a community run open workspace centered around open source and digital fabrication, we will put key ideas of Responsible Innovation to the test with concrete prototypes and visions for technological projects. The workshop aims to combine the 'theoretical' knowledge of conference participants and the 'practical' knowledge of hackers and technology activists. Besides brief statements concerning Responsible Innovation, several groups will form to act as co-designers of the prototypical concept in the making and improve the ideas brought in by the activists through the lens of Responsible Innovation. The groups will work on:

  • Digital technology helping blind people move about in cities: Can a smart phone help you find a doorbell?
  • The combination of traditional craftsmanship and the culture of shared spaces such as FabLabs: Can one merge the old and new for both to flourish?
  • Technologies for people deliberately injuring themselves: Is pain without harm possible? Is it desirable?
  • 3D-printed houses for developing countries: Can low-cost high-tech house building empower people?

How can these ideas become more responsible? What would be concrete steps towards this goal? The groups will try to answer this. We believe that actively engaging in experiments with Responsible Innovation can lead to important insights that would not necessarily happen due to theoretical reasoning. Responsible Innovation can be tinkered with – it can be hacked. The innovation landscapes are changing: there are new forms of collaboration such as in FabLabs that promise more bottom-up engagement in technological innovation, there are collective experiments of science and society, there are technologies in the making which might provide intelligent solutions to certain problems. Why not co-design them? Why not hack theory and practice together – from early on? Come and join us in this experiment.

Please state your interest in joining the workshop beforehand with a brief email including your name and the workshop title to Christoph Schneider. You will then get further information on the workshop and we will ask you to prepare a brief introduction of yourself.

Workshop on "Advancing Life Cycle Assessment for Responsible Research and Innovation"

September 24, 2014 • 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Organized by

  • Rider Foley, Ben Wender: The Center for Nanotechnology in Society / Arizona State University & Virtual Institute for Responsible Innovation
  • Marcel Weil, Manuel Baumann, Benedikt Zimmermann: Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis / Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Unchecked technology development may result in negative environmental and social consequences, which motivates calls for development of more Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) practices. RRI takes a normative stance on emerging technologies and seeks to integrate broader values into technology development. However, there are few practicable tools that support these goals. This workshop explores the potential for life cycle assessment (LCA) to support RRI by overcoming challenges related to data scarcity, rapid technology change, and isolation of environmental, social, and technical research. This workshop brings together researchers in the United States and Europe to provide a common ground for future-oriented LCA of emerging technologies and to formulate research needs to improve the efficacy of LCA to support RRI.

The following issues will be addressed:

  • Identify commonalities and salient differences between prospective & anticipatory LCA.
  • Compile comprehensive set of future-oriented modelling tools for LCA researchers.
  • Explore underlying assumptions, limitations, and future research needs to enable LCA for RRI
  • Consider life-cycle costing (LCC) and Social LCA (SLCA) for broadening LCA scope for emerging technologies
  • Contextualize LCA for RRI within broader participatory technology assessment frameworks

If you are interested to join the workshop, please contact beforehand the workshop organizer (LCA4RRI∂gmail.com), because there is limited space available.
The registration fee just for this event is 50 Euro. Even just for this case, participants should fill the registration form accordingly.

Scientific committee

José Maria Albuquerque  INSA, Portugal
Christopher Coenen  ITAS-KIT, Germany
Arianna Ferrari  ITAS-KIT, Germany
Torsten Fleischer  ITAS-KIT, Germany
Elvira Fortunato  CENIMAT-UNL, Portugal
Armin Grunwald  ITAS-KIT, Germany
Bettina-Johanna Krings  ITAS-KIT, Germany
Brice Laurent  CSI-Mines ParisTech, France
Sacha Loeve  TU Darmstadt, Germany
António Brandão Moniz  ITAS-KIT, Germany
Tsjalling Swierstra  Maastricht University, Netherlands
Go Yoshizawa  Osaka University, Japan

Keynote speaker

Andy Stirling, University of Sussex, UK
Sarah R. Davies, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Program committee

Prof. Dr. Armin Grunwald: Homepage
Dr. Arianna Ferrari: Homepage
Torsten Fleischer: Homepage
Prof. Dr. António Brandão Moniz

Contact - local organizing committee

Christopher Coenen
Arianna Ferrari
Torsten Fleischer
Daniel Frank
Julia Hahn
Mira Klemm
Bettina-Johanna Krings
Maria João Maia
Martin Sand
Jasmin Thiel (secretariat)
Gabriel T. Velloso
Silvia Woll


Website of S.NET