The Initiative for Science, Society & Policy
The mission of ISSP is to help make science based knowledge more salient in societal planning and the public discourse.
The vision for ISSP is to enable society to benefit more fully from the scientific expertise at its universities while ISSP supports researchers to reflect more on their scientific responsibilities and participate in civic processes.
Through specific projects, the Initiative aims to catalyze progressive and sustainable social change, by enabling scientists to engage constructively with stakeholders, powerbrokers, other key members of society, and the general public.
The ISSP was created from the desire to make science and the surrounding society communicate more effectively and fruitfully. Science provides many social benefits, but emerging fields like artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and nano-technology force us to continually realign scientific research agendas with social and political values. Technical advances in emerging fields often generate high expectations that can be realized only at huge public expense. The troubled history of nuclear power and gene modified crops reminds us that attitudes in the general public can strongly shape how technologies are developed and adopted. An emerging conflict is driven by the current digitalization and centralization of personal data that challenge personal freedom and human rights to privacy. As the globe faces mounting practical problems, such as climate change, global economic reorganization, and massive migrations of cultures, it is critical to enable scientific expertise to inform socially acceptable solutions. Otherwise society is squandering the wealth of knowledge produced by its academic institutions.
This context is fueling a debate about the social responsibilities of scientists and scientific institutions. Universities are rethinking their roles in today’s knowledge-based societies, and increasing competition for funding is driving universities to translate research results into practical solutions to pressing problems.
The ISSP aims to be a leading platform for highlighting, expanding and rethinking the meaning of scientific social responsibility in universities across Denmark and abroad. ISSP working groups will serve as open and independent platforms for addressing critical contemporary issues that require productive interactions among science, society and policy.
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