Innovation Governance and Security Controversies

Symposium, November 12th

We live in societies which like to cure societal problems with technological innovation. Online surveillance is used to fight radicalization, smart borders are supposed to help tackle “irregular migration”, and registers of medical data shall improve medical research and public health. However, innovation can also pose different risks – from ethical, legal, social, to concerns over security. The symposium was opened by Dagmar Rychnovská, who reflected on the role of science and technology in democratic societies and the implications for the governance of security and argued for deeper conversation about the interplay between governing innovation and governing security. 

On November 12th IHS hosted a symposium on Innovation governance and security controversies that brought together different perspectives on security controversies related to the governance of innovation and discusses the underlying conflicts of values they make visible. The symposium was opened by Dagmar Rychnovská, who reflected on the role of science and technology in democratic societies and the implications for the governance of security and argued for deeper conversation about the interplay between governing innovation and governing security.  As a part of the first panel focusing on Security controversies in research and innovation, Anna Weichselbraun, Alexander Lang, and Nina Klimburg-Witjes discussed security controversies arising in different types of research areas, including nuclear science, gene editing, and satellite technology. They pointed out the diversity of actors and regimes of governance characteristic for these fields, ranging from traditional diplomacy to the engagement of commercial sphere and civil society. 

The second panel, moderated by Thomas König, dealt with the topic of Debating technoscience. Elisabeth Röhrlich, Robert Braun, Alice Vadrot, and Anna Durnová discussed the politics of knowledge and expertise in the production of techno-scientific knowledge relevant for governing (international) security, while highlighting the role of power relations and frequent marginalization of specific voices in the background of knowledge production. 

Impressions