SFIS Newsletter – Issue 1

CSPO Ranks in Top 10

Dan Sarewitz and David GustonCSPO was ranked 9th among Science and Technology think tanks in the 2017 Go To Think Tanks Index, an international database compiled with input from over 6,500 organizations and 7,500 journalists, policy makers, and donors. This is the second year CSPO has been in the top ten, moving up from the tenth position in 2016. The Index is put out by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. Follow this link to the full report, and read more here.


Campaign 2020 and new Development Coordinator

New to our team in the position of Development Coordinator is Rebecca Pringle. She brings with her years of establishing and building development programs in the local nonprofit sector. If you are interested in investing in SFIS, IFIS or CSPO, please contact Rebecca at Rebecca.Pringle@asu.edu or 480-965-4249.





EPIC podcastEPIC Podcast

ASU’s Energy Policy Innovation Council (EPIC), now within the Institute for the Future of Innovation in Society (IFIS), has just launched its own podcast. EPIC student researcher Mady Tyson is the host of “Energy Issues,” which is available on Soundcloud. EPIC is kicking things off with a four-part series on “The Value of Solar,” in which Tyson speaks with new Arizona Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin. Items on Tobin’s agenda include establishing grandfather clauses to protect Arizona homeowners that have already installed solar and ensuring that utility companies are sufficiently educating their customers on how to use complicated “demand charges” to their own benefit.

A link to the podcast is also available in EPIC’s newsletter, which includes a number of other stories related to energy. The current edition is headlined by a Year in Review, which highlights major events in energy like the Paris Agreement and the Supreme Court’s halting of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, as well as EPIC’s substantial role in many major happenings. Visit the newsletter also to read about the Department of Defense’s grant of almost one $1 million to ASU to create an Arizona Military & Energy Land Use Plan, Hawaii’s efforts to move to 100% renewable energies, Tempe’s solar bus stops, and more.


New Faculty and Staff

The School for the Future of Innovation in Society is proud to welcome two new faculty additions!

Darshan Karwat, Assistant Professor
He is also a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at US Department of Energy.





Denisa KeraDenisa Kera, Visiting Assistant Professor
She is also an assistant professor at the University of Singapore where she is a fellow of the Asia Research Institute’s STS cluster.





 Denise Kronsteiner, Director of Strategic Communications








HSD allots $10,000 in Advancement Awards

The HSD program held a competition in Fall 2016 for a limited number of Advancement Awards that are intended to help students progress through the doctoral program. Applicants at all stages of the program were encouraged to submit proposals ranging from $500 to $5000. HSD chair Erik Fisher is pleased to announce the following five awards:

  • Eric Kennedy (5th year): Awarded $5,000 to support his dissertation research into contemporary wildland fire policy in Canada.
  • Elizabeth Garbee (3rd year): Awarded $2,250 to support her dissertation research into the social value of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) PhDs.
  •  Joshua Loughman (1st year): Awarded $1,500 to support his attendance at the 2017 STEPS Summer School at University of Sussex.
  • Rebecca Monteleone (1st year): Awarded $750 towards her second year project exploring disparate constructions of disability among researchers and activists.
  • Kaethe Selkirk (1st year): Awarded $500 towards her second-year project exploring how different ways of thinking about the future can lead to different urban design decisions.

Winter School 2017 dam tour5th Annual Winter School Session

14 students, half of them international, participated in the 5th annual Winter School on Responsible Innovation and Social Studies of Emerging Technologies. The Winter School is a 7-night immersive learning retreat at the Saguaro Lake Ranch in which graduate and postdoctoral students have a chance to interact with both peers and experts and, ultimately, share their own research at the culminating Research Symposium. Participants get practical experience with the methods and theories employed by SFIS through hands-on, collaborative instruction as they investigate the human and social dimensions of emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, robotics, geoengineering, artificial intelligence, and synthetic biology.

Winter School is funded by an NSF subaward grant from a Georgia Tech, which itself won an award to act as the coordinating office for the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), and is overseen by SFIS’s Jameson Wetmore as Principal Investigator for the subaward. SFIS Associate Director for Research Ira Bennett organized and operated the session with Rider Foley, a CSPO alumni — now, a professor of Science, Technology and Society at the University of Virginia. NNCI Winter School is open to domestic and international Master’s and PhD students from any disciplinary background. To learn more about the program, visit the webpage where a short video is available. Inquiries can be directed to NNCIwinterschool@asu.edu.

View a slideshow of photos.

Keith Kloor presentation

Keith Kloor and Daniel Hicks: Do Facts Matter?

CSPO hosted the latest in its CSPO Conversations series, Confronting Scientific Controversies: Do Facts Matterin conjunction with the release of the Winter 2017 issue of Issues in Science and Technology. Headlining the event were science reporter Keith Kloor — freelance journalist and instructor at the City University of New York and New York University whose work has appeared in the pages of Slate, the Washington Post, Science, and Archaeology — and philosopher of science, Daniel Hicks — ethicist, STS scholar, and AAAS fellow with the National Robotics Initiative at the National Science Foundation. The topic for discussion was the toxification of controversial matters in science journalism like climate change, vaccination, and genetically modified organisms. View video of the event and read a recap of the event.

Out and About

Andrew Maynard

Andrew Maynard, SFIS faculty and Director of the Risk Innovation Lab, was featured in the third of ASU’s KEDtalks. Sponsored by the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, KEDtalks are a forum that externalizes cutting edge ASU research in order to spark ideas, indulge curiosity, and inspire action. Maynard said that risk “affects pretty much everything we do and yet most of the time we treat it like … something that’s there but we’d rather not talk about.” Reframing risks as values, Maynard thinks, can help us tackle challenges that threaten those values. Follow this link to watch the full video.

 HSD student Miles Brundage is an Artificial Intelligence Policy Research Fellow at the Strategic AI Research Center at Oxford University. He is also serving on an IEEE committee to develop standards for Artificial Intelligence, to make general recommendations to policymakers, practitioners, etc., and to foster wider dialogue of key issues.

 Professor Kristin Mayes was a panelist at Arizona's Energy Resilience Summit: Local to Global Perspectives, hosted by the American Council on Germany, at the Desert Botanical Garden on January 10. Mayes was joined by other distinguished speakers such as Arizona State Senator Bob Worsley to consider Arizona's preparedness for tomorrow's energy & resiliency needs.


Jack Stilgoe presentation

Jack Stilgoe, senior lecturer in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at University College London and co-editor of the Political Science blog for the Guardian, visited ASU January 10, hosted by SFIS, to deliver a talk: “Machine learning, social learning and self-driving cars.” Stilgoe spoke on the many ambiguities concerning how the software learns, who owns it, and what other issues lie beyond the question of safety with driverless vehicles? Watch video of the presentation here.

 Rob Smith presentation

King’s College London’s Rob Smith was the first guest speaker in 2017 of the Virtual Institute of Responsible Innovation (VIRI) on January 11. During his talk, “Enacting value in public biology,” Smith focused on public research agenda-setting in the U.K. and the day-to-day activities of scientists working in the field of synthetic biology to identify where Science and Technology Studies might productively intervene. Throughout the coming academic year, early career researchers from many VIRI partner sites will have an opportunity to engage with ASU faculty and students and present their research work to the ASU community. Watch the video here and listen to Stilgoe on a Future OutLoud podcast.

 Future Of Personalized Medicine panel

Professor Diana Bowman moderated a discussion with fellow faculty member Heather Ross, Amy Foxx-Orenstein from Mayo Clinic, and Karen Anderson of ASU’s Biodesign Institute on January 11. The three healthcare experts were brought together to explore the promise of The Future of Personalized Medicine and how it will impact health in the future. View a video of the presentation.

Hannah Landecker presentation

Hannah Landecker, presented a talk prior to a “Meet and Greet” event on January 12. Landecker is a historian and sociologist of the life sciences. She holds a joint appointment in the Life and Social Sciences at UCLA, where she is the Director of the Institute for Society and Genetics and an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology. She earned her PhD at MIT in Science and Technology Studies and completed a stint as a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. Landecker is currently working on a book, American Metabolism: Food, the Body, & Time, which focuses on the transformation of metabolic sciences wrought by the rise of epigenetics, metabolic endocrinology, and microbiome science. 

Sharmistha Bagchi SenSharmistha Bagchi-Sen, Chair of the Geography Department at the University at Buffalo, the University of New York, spoke at ASU in an event co-hosted by SFIS and the School of geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. Bagchi-Sen’s research interests include innovation studies, urban and economic geography. In her talk, Refinery Location and Organizational Adjustments in the Biofuel Sector, she examined locational variation in biorefineries within the broader policy context of renewable energy development.




Emerge 2017 image

Emerge | Framkenstein
A Festival of futures

Emerge is an art, science and technology festival devoted to the creative imagination of the future. The 2017 theme of Frankenstein focuses on the risks and responsibilities of innovation in the 21st Century.
Sat, February 25, 2017
(with ASU Tempe Campus Night of the Open Door)
3:00 PM – 9:00 PM MST
FREE and open to the whole family

More information at emerge.asu.edu




The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, Fourth Edition, was recently published by the MIT Press. SFIS Professor Clark Miller co-edited the volume while Director Dave Guston co-authored a chapter on “Responsible Research and Innovation,” and Professor Cynthia Selin co-wrote “Performing and Governing the Future in Science and Technology.” The Handbook is authoritative, comprehensive, and entirely current as each chaptered was written specifically for this fourth edition.

Andrew Maynard and Diana Bowman, SFIS faculty, and their colleague James Hodge from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law wrote a new paper that addresses the elevated probability of teens giving birth to a child with microcephaly and multiple other disabilities. The paper, “Mitigating Risks to Pregnant Teens from Zika Virus,” published in the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, addresses a lack of targeted messaging for teenage women for whom unintended pregnancy is more likely. To date, most messaging regarding the risks of Zika have been directed toward adult women who know they are pregnant or intend to become pregnant.

Professor Kiki Jenkins and postdoctoral researcher Jesse Senko co-authored a Marine Policy paper along with S. Hoyt Peckham of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. In “At Loggerheads over international bycatch: Initial effects of a unilaterally imposed bycatch reduction policy,” the authors evaluate the initial effects of the United States’s identification of Mexicoas engaged in incidental bycatch of the Pacific loggerhead turtle under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) and recommendations for policy improvements.

CRIS Bits, the ingredient safety blog produced by Post Doctoral Researcher Keri Sjezda and Andrew Maynard, Professor and Director of the Risk Innovation Lab, has a new post on an issue related to seafood. SFIS PhD student Sarah Geren authored, “The U.S. is making traceability a part of the seafood supply chain,” which focuses on the National Ocean Council’s (NOC’s) Seafood Import Monitoring Program. The rule, put forth by NOC’s Committee on Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud, is “the first step toward preventing IUU fishing and fraudulent seafood from entering U.S. commerce.” For details on how the rule operates, read the full article here.



In the Media

SFIS Professor of Practice Brian David Johnson was featured in a radio interview on KJZZ. Johnson explained how, as a futurist, he models — not predicts — the future using knowledge about people, technologies, cultural history, global interviews, and science fiction to model both positive and negative outcomes.

SFIS Professor of Practice Gregg Zachary wrote a new article published by IEEE Spectrum titled What Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Can Teach Engineers: Designing technology with the best of intentions can still lead to disaster. Zachary outlines some measures scientist can take to avoid undesirable consequences. “While engineers and computer scientists don’t design and build live, walking, talking monsters, they do create devices that have the qualities of living things,” he writes, “Digital networks don’t literally have eyes and ears, but they now hold over us the power of life and death.”

SFIS professor Michael Bennett was interviewed regarding President Trump’s formal withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an international trade agreement that became polemic during the recent election. Bennett says that some economists believe, based on available data, the US could see “a significant opportunity loss in terms of revenues and gross domestic product and so forth, perhaps on the order of tens of billions of dollars, perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars.”

Kiki Jenkins, faculty, was quoted in an NPR story about a new rule going into effect that will require all fish and fish products imported into the U.S. to meet U.S. standards regarding marine mammal bycatch safeguards. Many marine mammals like the vaquita featured in the article have or are in danger of becoming accidental victims of the fishing industry. Jenkins expressed concern that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would not get the appropriate funding to enforce the rule.

Erik Fisher, SFIS Professor and program chair of the Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology PhD program, was quoted in this Science article on the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) movement, which seeks to bring scientists closer to society at large. Fisher, a co-founder of the Virtual Institute for Research Innovation (VIRI), commented on how RRI can stimulate creative new ways of thinking and doing as well as broaden approaches to problem-solving.

SFIS Professor and Risk Innovation Lab director Andrew Maynard was tapped for comment on a special episode of Big Picture Science — the podcast produced by SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute. The topic of the episode wasn’t in fact, alien life, but new evidence in the generations-old mystery surrounding the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and her navigator Frederick Noonan. Maynard (begins speaking at the 43:10 mark) provided comment on how uncertainty drives the public’s ongoing curiosity regarding this case.

Jameson Wetmore, SFIS professor and faculty chair of our new undergraduate degree program, was featured in an National Science Foundation (NSF) “Ask a Scientist” video shot at the 2016 NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Grantees Conference. The scientists were asked what “nanotechnology superpower” they would want. Follow this link to hear Wetmore’s very practical answer (he appears at 0:22). The entire series of “Ask a Scientist” videos is available here.