PhD Candidate (AIO)
- Douglas K. R. Robinson
- PO Box 217
- 7500 AE Enschede
Telephone: (053) 489 4235
Fax: (053) 489 2159
Prior to his PhD project in the TA-NanoNed programme, Douglas obtained his undergraduate and masters degree in Physics and Space S&T at the University of Leicester (UK) and Universität Siegen (Germany) with two Theses one on mathematical modelling magnetospheres of Jupiter and Saturn (space radiation environment) related to the Cassini-Huygens Mission, the other focused on heavy ion beam cancer therapy for brain tumours. Alongside his first degree, Douglas worked for a 10-week placement as radiologist in Leicester Royal Infirmary and 8-weeks as Biophysicist at the Darmstadt Heavy Ion accelerator GSI (Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung GmbH).
His second degree (MSc) at the International Space University in Strasbourg was an interdisciplinary study of the space sector, including knowledge management, innovation studies, business, economics, policy and law related to the space industry. His thesis covered space biomedicine and cosmonautics research in the former Soviet Union, which involved a 3-month project at the cosmonaut training centre (Star City) and the Institute of Biomedical Problems (IMBP), Moscow, Russia, where in addition to his broad in scope study he also assisted researchers a focussed experiment on support afferentation for the mitigation of muscle deterioration in long-term space flight.
His current PhD research focuses on challenges for governance and management relating to the dynamics of emerging nanotechnologies, where studies of expectations and socio-economic models of technology emergence are combined with strategy articulation tools to provide strategic intelligence for reflexive governance and management of emerging S&T.
For innovation to succeed actor alignment in the form of innovation chains from laboratory to products and applications is necessary. Alignment of actors (researchers, industry, regulators, users etc.) is easier to achieve where the actors are known, their relationships functioning, where regulation is largely unambiguous and the technology field is well understood. This is the case with incremental innovation in established technological paradigms. For new and emerging fields of science and technology (S&T) such as micro/nanotechnologies where radical innovations might occur, conditions of non-linearity and high technology and market uncertainty are typical.
However, in an age of strategic science and high-investment projects decision makers need to identify possible and promising directions and options and influence technology emergence in advance, anticipating on the many twists and turns of the innovation journey and multi-actor interactions. These are challenges for current strategic technology intelligence and forward-looking assessment tools focussing on strategy support for potentially breakthrough emerging S&T.
These assessment and strategy support tools for such early stages would do well to embrace this non-linearity, and the complexities of emerging S&T, and integrate them into a support system for reflection on broader dynamics AND support strategy/policy articulation. Presently this is rarely seen, with traditional backcasting (from goals to be achieved and steps to achieve them) and roadmaps dominating with little inclusion of the uncertainties of emergence or inclusion of the actual processes of innovation development and diffusion.
Innovation studies shows us that although complex, certain patterns (if not outcomes) can be foreseen and included in ongoing decision making. Roadmaps for example would do well to include possible complexities predicted by innovation studies, and feed them into a support system (multi-path mapping has been developed as an addition to roadmapping – Robinson and Propp 2008 forthcoming).
The philosophy of constructive technology assessment (Europe) and real-time technology assessment (U.S.) show promise for supporting such assessment and strategy support systems but are still in need of more experimentation regarding actual support of emerging S&T and crafting of tools and approaches. These approaches focus on real-time analysis and decisions support for new technologies, but remain largely theoretical with little practical experience of executing such projects and a limited untailored toolset.
This PhD research project seeks to explore and improve this toolset and potential approaches through a series of constructive TA exercises within the field of micro/nanotechnologies where expectations, uncertainties and anticipatory action abound.
This research project explores:
1)Analysis of current nano R&D activities, expectations and anticipations on economics, societal and governance issues. The aim is to understand an emerging field and support feedback of this information into the ongoing development of micro/nanotechnologies.
2)Create loci for multi-actor interaction through constructive and highly interactive workshops. Bringing actors from the whole span of the innovation chain for nano-enabled innovations (from laboratory to market to society).
3)Integrate the complexities and twists, turns, setbacks and opportunities relating to the socio-technical dynamics of emerging S&T – through (further) development of tools such as socio-technical scenarios, multi-path mapping and techno-economic network analytical approaches. Combining knowledge of technology management, sociology of new technologies, innovation studies and economic theories of technical change with usable tools to create intelligence for decision making.
4)Inclusion of such a support system within the ongoing developments of micro/nanotechnology - via inclusion in an agenda setting European nano R&D network. In my research this has meant choosing a particularly relevant nanotechnology or issue, conducting the three points above with the following goals:
a.To support decision making on a particular issue with relevant actors from along the innovation chain (researchers, users, regulators etc.)
b.To use each project/workshop as an experiment in strategy support systems, and an exploration of ways of improving the toolset for more widespread use.
Projects to date include exploring regulatory and societal challenges for nano-enabled drug delivery for gene therapy, effect of images/visions of artificial and biomolecular machines on public perception and research agendas, gaps in the innovation chain for lab-on-a-chip technologies, governance approaches to responsible innovation of nanotechnology and user/developer interfacing for neurotechnologies (the latter will be held 7th April 2008 at IMEC, Belgium).
Douglas has been teaching assistant for the course “Analysis of Technology in Society” as part of the Bachelors degree “Advanced Technologies”
-Joint project on Vision Analysis in the emerging field molecular machines and devices with Martin Ruivenkamp (UT) 2006 – 2007
-Joint research on roadmapping and governance of innovation processes a comparative study on Nanotechnology and Genomics with Dr. Tilo Propp, University of Utrecht (UU) 2006 – 2008
-Joint research project on the emergence of Lab-on-a-chip technology, with Rutger van Merkerk, University of Utrecht (UU) 2004 – 2006
- PhD project is part of the Technology Assessment of Nanotechnology for the NanoNed programme (TA-NanoNed)
- Member of the PRIME Network of Excellence
- Member of the Frontiers Nanotechnology Network of Excellence
- Member of the Nano2Life Nanotechnology Network of Excellence
- Member of the Netherlands Graduate School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture (WTMC)
Technology Assessment activities & seminars organized
Constructive Technology Assessment of nanotechnologies integrated into the Frontiers Network of Excellence. Five interactive workshops have been organised so far:
- Cell-on-a-chip: bridging gaps in the innovation chain, de Rode Hoed, Amsterdam (NL)
- Nano-enabled siRNA delivery: from lab to clinic, iNano, Aarhus (DK)
- Vision Analysis for the emerging field of Molecular Machines, CEMES_CNRS Toulouse (F)
- Responsible Research and Innovation: Towards a Best Nano-Practice, MESA+, Twente (NL).
- New and Emerging implantable technologies for Neurodegenerative Disease: Technology Promises, Clinical Challenges, IMEC, Leuven (B). (7th April 2008) click here
Strategy Support Systems
Building on a successful CTA workshop on Cell-on-a-chip, Douglas was invited to undertake part-time consultancy for a start-up company over a 1-year period. The project involves tailoring technology assessment tools for a start-up strategy support system based on prospective innovation chains and multi-actor dynamics.
- Socio-technical Scenarios as tailored support for exploration and strategy development: A typification of form, function and applications
- Seminar for the T-Xchange, 19th December 2007.
- Vision Assessment Day (together with Martin Ruivenkamp) …>more
- Habitat Design Workshop (coordinator) …>more
Peer Reviewed Publications
- Multi-path mapping for alignment strategies in emerging science and technologies. Douglas K. R. Robinson & Tilo Propp. Technology Forecasting and Social Change (Forthcoming March 2008)
- Technological agglomeration and the emergence of clusters and networks in nanotechnology. Douglas K. R. Robinson, Arie Rip and Vincent Mangematin. Research Policy 36 (2007) 871–879.
- Tracking the evolution of new and emerging S&T via statement-linkages: Vision Assessment of Molecular Machines. Douglas K. R. Robinson, Martin Ruivenkamp and Arie Rip. The Journal Scientometrics, Vol. 70, No. 3. 2007.
- The interaction between expectations, networks and emerging paths: a framework and an application to Lab‑on‑a‑chip technology for medical and pharmaceutical applications. Rutger O. van Merkerk & Douglas K. R. Robinson. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, Volume 18, Numbers 3-4, -4/July-September 2006, pp. 411-428(18).
Reports and Book Chapters
- Plant Viruses as Templates: Self-assembly, applications, and possible impact on society. Alexander M. Bittner & Douglas K. R. Robinson. Chapter in the Proceedings of Humboldt Foundation Kolleg "Nanotechnology: Development and Influence on the Society" (Forthcoming 2008)
- “Statement Linkages for Tracking the Evolution of New and Emerging S&T”. Douglas K. R. Robinson, Martin Ruivenkamp and Arie Rip. Accepted as a chapter in forthcoming in forthcoming volume: Tibor Braun and Martin Meyer (eds.): The Mechanism of Research on Nanostructures. A Selection of Papers from the Journal Scientometrics, Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó (2007)
- Multi-path mapping for integrated single cell analysis systems. Section of the Frontiers European network of excellence Roadmap. Internal document. June 2006
- The role of regional institutional entrepreneurs in the emergence of clusters in nanotechnologies. Mangematin, V., Rip, A., Delemarle A., Robinson D. K. R. 2005. Working paper PRIME Nanodistricts : PRIME Nanodistricts
- Twente/Netherlands as a possible nanodistrict: Work package report to the PRIME Nanodistricts project. PISA. November 17th 2004
Conference & Seminar papers
- Constructive TA for micro and nanotechnology R&D. (2008) Douglas K. R. Robinson. Paper for the TIO-LATTS seminar. Paris, 20th February 2008.
- Rip A., Robinson D. K. R. and te Kulve H. (2007) Multi-level emergence and stabilisation of paths of nanotechnology in different industries/sectors. Paths of Developing Complex Technologies: Insights from Different Industries”, Berlin, September 17-18. Sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation
- Dealing with complexity of emerging technology through triangulation and reflexive approaches - Tales from the field. Douglas K. R. Robinson. Tailored note for methodology seminar, Faculty of Management and Governance, STeHPS, University of Twente (NL), 2nd May 2007.
- Socio-technical paths as a multi-level phenomenon, exemplified in the domain of nanotechnology. Arie Rip and Douglas K. R. Robinson. EIASM Workshop on “organising paths – paths of organising”, Berlin, 3-4 November 2006.
- The use of the path concept and emerging irreversibilities in the analysis and modulation of nanotechnologies. Douglas K. R. Robinson. EIASM Workshop on “organising paths – paths of organising”, Berlin, 3-4 November 2006.
- Multi-path roadmapping as a tool for reflexive alignment in emerging S&T. Douglas K. R. Robinson & Tilo Propp. Second International Seville Seminar on Future-Oriented Technology Analysis (FTA), 28th- 29th September 2006 [Accepted for session: FTA Assumptions, Methods and Approaches in the Context of Achieving Outcomes]
- Cluster Institutionalising Entrepreneurs in the Emerging Field of Nanotechnologies. Vincent Mangematin, A. Rip, A. Delemarle and Douglas K.R. Robinson. 22nd EGOS Colloquium, "The Organizing Society", Bergen, July 6 - 8, 2006
- Bridging Societal Issues with Innovation. Internal Note and material for working session with guests from the Arizona State University. (with guest speakers Medimate BV 10:00 – 12:30 July 10th 2006)
- Identifying and measuring loci of increasing irreversibility in the emergence of nanotechnology paths. Douglas K. R. Robinson. Working paper for the Berlin meeting “Measuring Path Dependency: the social-constructivist challenge”, Berlin, 5th and 6th September 2005
- Building a nanodistrict: Technology platforms and institutional entrepreneurship, Delemarle A., Robinson D., Mangematin, V., Rip, A., Paper presented at the Triple Helix Conference, Turin, 18-21 May 2005
- New methods for studying the dynamics of emerging technologies: the case of Lab-on-a-chip technology, Rutger O. van Merkerk and Douglas K. R. Robinson, Paper presented at the DRUID Academy Winter 2005 PhD Conference, Aalborg, Denmark, 27-29 January 2005
Conference & Seminar presentations
- Responsible Research and Innovation: Towards Best Nano Practice?. Presentation at the Frontiers Annual Meeting, 23rd/25th October 2007, Leuven, Belgium.
- Upstream Technology Assessment in Frontiers: Progress Report. Annual EC Assessment Meeting 22nd/23rd October 2007, Leuven, Belgium.
- Constructive TA approaches for Reflexive Process Monitoring. Douglas K. R. Robinson. Governance Cluster meeting, Institute of Governance Studies, University of Twente (NL), 16th May 2007.
- “Socio-technical Scenarios in Constructive Technology Assessment of Nanotechnology”. Faculty of Management and Governance, STeHPS, University of Twente (NL), October 31st 2006, University of Twente
- Whatever happened to Collingridge’s control dilemma? From constructive technology assessment to reflexive governance in the co-evolution of nanotechnology in society. Douglas K. R. Robinson, Arie Rip. European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) Conference. Reviewing Humanness: Bodies, Technologies and Spaces. University of Lausanne, Switzerland 23rd-26th August 2006
- Balancing asymmetry in the division of technology assessment labour: Broadening upstream strategy articulation in European nanotechnology research networks through CTA. Douglas K. R. Robinson. European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) Conference. Reviewing Humanness: Bodies, Technologies and Spaces. University of Lausanne, Switzerland 23rd-26th August 2006
- “Constructive Technology Assessment in Action.” Presentation to guests from the Arizona State University. 09:00 - 10:00 July 10th 2006)
- Joint PhD session on CTA informed activities for research of technology emergence and innovation. WTMC Workshop January 15th –18th 2006. Presentation entitled “Constructive Technology Assessment as a Tool for Responsible Innovation and Reflexive Governance in the Co-Evolution of Nanotechnology”.
- Ethical and social aspects of nanotechnology and how they can become part of strategy articulation in Frontiers, Douglas K. R. Robinson, Frontiers Annual Meeting, Karlsruhe, 18th – 21st September, 2005
•Constructive Technology Assessment: Tailored Tools for Nanotechnology. Douglas Robinson. Frontiers Annual Meeting, 23rd/25th October 2007, Leuven, Belgium.
•The Frontiers TA Projects. Douglas Robinson. Frontiers Annual Meeting, 23rd/25th October 2007, Leuven, Belgium.
•Technology Assessment? A historical typology. Douglas Robinson. Frontiers Annual Meeting, 23rd/25th October 2007, Leuven, Belgium.
•Bridging the gaps between science and markets, and science and society: Strategy articulation for emerging innovation chains. NanoNed symposium 16th – 17th November 2006. click to view
•TA-NanoNed (1): Studies of Emergence of Nanotechnology and Innovation. Douglas Robinson, Martin Ruivenkamp and Arie Rip. NanoNed symposium 16th – 17th November 2006. click to view
•TA-NanoNed (2): Constructive Technology Assessment. Douglas Robinson, Martin Ruivenkamp and Arie Rip. NanoNed symposium 16th – 17th November 2006. click to view
•TA-NanoNed (3): ELSA and actor strategies. Douglas Robinson, Martin Ruivenkamp and Arie Rip. NanoNed symposium 16th – 17th November 2006. click to view
•The Frontiers Technology Assessment Programme: Multi-path mapping: integrating micro and nano tools within a single-cell analysis platform. Douglas K. R. Robinson and Tilo Propp. 3-page Project report presented as poster and included in Proceedings of the Symposium on Integrated Micro Nano Systems: Convergence of bio and nanotechnologies, Proceedings, Enschede, The Netherlands, Tuesday 20 June 2006. click to view
•The Frontiers Technology Assessment Programme. Douglas K. R. Robinson. Frontiers Research Meeting. May 16th 2006. click to view
•Strategy articulation for integration of micro and nanotechnologies: Project for strategy development and analysis of ELSA in the FRONTIERS European Network of Excellence in nanotechnology. Douglas K. R. Robinson. 2nd International Nanotechnology Conference on Communication and Cooperation. Arlington, USA. 15th - 18th May 2006. click to view
•Technology Assessment and ELSA in the Netherlands nanotechnology consortium NanoNed. Douglas K. R. Robinson & Arie Rip. 2nd International Nanotechnology Conference on Communication and Cooperation. Arlington, USA. 15th - 18th May 2006. click to view
•Exploring the emergence of European clusters and networks in nanotechnology: PRIME Nanodistricts. Douglas K. R. Robinson, Arie Rip & Vincent Mangematin. 2nd International Nanotechnology Conference on Communication and Cooperation. Arlington. 15th - 18th May 2006
•An innovation studies perspective concerning Lab‑on‑a‑chip technology for medical and pharmaceutical applications, Rutger O. van Merkerk and Douglas K.R. Robinson, Poster for the 1st Nanofluidics Workshop, Boekelo, the Netherlands, 18th – 20th April 2005 click to view
•Ongoing Technology Assessment, Innovation and Policy Research related to Nanotechnologies at the Institute of Governance Studies and MESA+, Douglas K. R. Robinson, Frontiers Annual Meeting, Karlsruhe, 18th – 21st September 2005 click to view
•Ongoing Technology Assessment, Innovation and Policy Research related to Nanotechnologies at the Institute of Governance Studies and MESA+, Douglas K. R. Robinson, MESA+ Annual Meeting, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands, 29th September 2005 click to view
•Ongoing Technology Assessment, Innovation and Policy Research related to Nanotechnologies at the Institute of Governance Studies and MESA+, Douglas K. R. Robinson, Nano2Life Research Meeting Annual Meeting, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands, 20th – 21st October 2005 click to view
•Dynamic study on the developments of Lab-on-a-Chip technology, Douglas K. R. Robinson, Rutger van Merkerk, Arie Rip, Harro van Lente and Ruud Smits, Poster for the NanoImpuls annual meeting, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, 2nd December 2004 click to view
•Constructive technology assessment and emerging irreversibilities in networks during the rise of nanotechnology paths. Nanoscience PhD graduate school, iNano, University of Aarhus, Denmark, 8th – 12th October 2004