Innovation for Sustainability at IAS-STS in Graz

During my short visiting at the Institute for Advanced Studies – Science Technology and Society Unit, TU Graz, where I am a Fellow since October 2020, on the 18th of May 2022 I gave a seminar on “Digital Social Innovation (and where to find it)” and are having inspiring networking experience, thanks to the director prof. Gunter Getzinger, linking technological innovation and sustainability transition.

The IAS-STS is “offers international research fellows and visiting scholars the opportunity to investigate the social implications of scientific and technological developments. […] The IAS-STS promotes the interdisciplinary investigation of the links and interaction between science, technology and society, as well as research on the development and implementation of socially sound and environmentally sustainable technologies.”

Major areas of research include “Shaping and developing tomorrow’s technology is one of the biggest challenges of our age. At the Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society in Graz (IAS-STS), international fellows make valuable contributions exploring the complex issues arising from the interrelationship between science, technology and society. IAS-STS offers its fellows the opportunity to perform work focussing on the relationship between technology and society. Special attention is paid to the areas technology policy, technology diffusion, technology assessment, social shaping of technology and technology related analysis of gender and education issues. Shaping and developing technology is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Technology is not simply a tool or applied science; nor is science simply an accumulation of knowledge. Rather, science and technology are firmly entrenched in society, both playing instrumental roles in shaping the everyday lives of individuals and communities. Given the importance of science and technology in society, socially sound and ecologically sustainable technology design requires interdisciplinary reflection and the opening and democratisation of actor networks. In particular, engineers and scientists are called upon to play a constructive and responsible role in tackling these tasks. The democratisation of technology design requires a deeper understanding of the interdependence between science, technology and society. Conducting interdisciplinary research on the shaping of technology as a social process is the main focus of IAS-STS.”

My Project at IAS-STS is on Digital Social Innovations in Urban Governance:

The research project explores the socio-political and cultural implications of the Digital Social Innovation (DSI) initiatives in the context of European cities. The diversified world of DSI encompass pathbreaking forms of collective agency that infiltrate social organizations and (government, research and business) institutions; and affect the traditional forms and function(ing) of governance, including participatory processes. However, it remains rather obscure what are the place-specific characters that support or obstacles digital innovators’ agency; and why some cities seem to better feed their emergence than others. Therefore, the project aims to explore the characters of digital innovators communities, their potentiality and capability to (re)produce conditions that reinforce urban innovation-supporting context. On the other hand, it analyses the characters of supporting urban ecosystems and the specific governance models that provide an adequate context for the emergence, persistence and capability of digital social innovators to effectively change the city hardware and software.

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