Professor Sheila Jasanoff, one of the world’s leading scholars in the study of the relationship between science and society, helped launched a new UEA research group this month. Speaking on Wednesday 18 January 2012 on the theme of trust in science, public accountability and the lessons of ‘climategate’, Professor Jasanoff gave the inaugural lecture of the new Science, Society and Sustainability (3S) research group in the School of Environmental Sciences (ENV).
She argued that the difficulties faced by climate science following ‘climategate’ are less about processes internal to science, which is where most attention has been focused; concerns about data storage and disclosure policies, transparency and peer review. The more profound questions are about science itself: for example concern about the relationships between science and the different groups in society it interacts with and about whose values shape those interactions. Using cross-national examples, Professor Jasanoff called for a deeper rethinking of the way scientific processes engage with connected and opinionated people in open and plural societies.
These ideas partly inform the research agenda of the new 3S Group. Professor Mike Hulme one of the members of 3S said, “At the heart of our research challenge is to understand how scientific and other knowledge fits with different ways of governing and engaging people, particularly in the context of transitions to sustainability.”