Research STePS is trendsetter in international field of science and technology policy

Research being carried out at the University of Twente on science and technology policy, ‘technology assessment’ and the history of science is highly ranked worldwide and produces important instruments for innovation policy on a national and European-wide scale. That is the conclusion of an international visitation committee which evaluated the group, currently directed by prof. Stefan Kuhlmann.

According to the committee, the research carried out by the department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies (STePS) has a ‘major impact’ on science and technology policy. The department is both nationally and internally recognized for, among other things, the conceptual tools its staff members have developed for policy-making and for their willingness to research normative issues. Especially the method developed by the group known as Constructive Technology Assessment (CTA), which offers a platform for normative discussion, has gained worldwide attention; according to the committee, “The group is one of the international trendsetters in this field.”

STePS research fits perfectly with the Univeristy of Twente’s general profile, which situates technology firmly in its societal context. In keeping with this agenda, STePS works closely with the university’s techno-scientific institutes to examine, for example, societal and ethical issues that surround up and coming technological fields such as nano-technology.

The visitation committee evaluated the group’s three themes: Science and Innovation Policies, led by prof. Stefan Kuhlmann and prof. Rob Hoppe, Technology Dynamics and Assessment, led by prof. Nelly Oudshoorn and History of Science, Technology and Society, led by dr. Lissa Roberts. All three received high praise.

The research group belongs to the UT’s Institute for Governance Studies and was previously directed by prof. Arie Rip and prof. Nelly Oudshoorn.

The visitation committee, organized by QANU (Quality Assurance Netherlands Universities), consisted of prof. Susan Cozzens (Georgia Institute of Technology), prof. Andrew Webster (University of York), prof. Trevor Pinch (Cornell University), prof. Alfred Nordmann (TU Darmstadt) and Paul ‘t Hoen (chairman of the Advisory Council of ICT Regie).

The research report ‘Research Review Science, Technology and Innovation Studies’ van Quality Assurance Netherlands Universities (QANU) and ‘Self assessment report’ are available.