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Introduction to Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology

Erik Johnston


Welcome to the PhD Program in Human and Social Dimensions (HSD) of Science and Technology at Arizona State University!

As Chair of the program, I am honored and delighted to invite you to learn more about our unique approach—and to consider joining us in this exciting endeavor. Our program provides students with an intellectually rigorous platform to conduct problem-oriented, socially engaged and truly interdisciplinary research. Since its launch in 2008, our students have been pioneers in integrating research and teaching in the social, historical, philosophical and policy study of science and technology, and they join one of the largest and most comprehensive communities of scholars in this field in the nation.

The program builds on the foundation of ASU’s exciting new School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the combined expertise of a remarkable array of world-class research centers, including the Center for Biology and Society, the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes, the Center for Nanotechnology in Society, the Center for Law, Science, and Innovation, the Center for Science and the Imagination, the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics, the Center for Engagement and Training in Science and Society, the Center for Energy & Society, and the Risk Innovation Laboratory.

Our philosophy is simple. Science and technology are too important to be developed only by scientists and engineers. We believe humanists and social scientists also have unique roles to play in helping to understand and inform the rationales and justifications for scientific research; to analyze and assess the increasingly powerful roles of science and technology as agents of social, moral and economic change; and to challenge universities, industries and policy makers to develop the institutional capacities necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

This philosophy infuses not only our program but also all of ASU. ASU has currently embarked on a major reorganization of the university's intellectual geography to orient its work toward solving the grand challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. As a flagship program in that transformation, we are working closely with ASU's President Michael Crow, the science and engineering community, and business and policy leaders both to foster exciting research in the human and social dimensions of science and technology as well as to leverage the insights from that research to advance more socially-informed science, engineering and innovation practices.

We welcome applications for next year's class through December 1, annually. Please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to answer your questions and discuss the many opportunities available through our program.


Erik Johnston