SKAPE is 1 year old!

We look back on a busy year, and talk about next steps for SKAPE

SKAPE is celebrating its first anniversary today. We launched the Centre last June with a symposium on “Open Science, Open Society”, with guests Jill Rutter and Albert Weale. Other highlights of the year have included keynote lectures from Sheila Jasanoff, Jenny Ozga and Brian Wynne. Last June we launched our new Palgrave Macmillan book series on Knowledge and Governance (edited by Richard Freeman and Kat Smith), using the occasion to organise a workshop bringing together some of the best new scholarship in this field. Thanks to a grant from Edinburgh University’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH), we have hosted three further workshops: one mapping the emerging field of knowledge and policy studies; a second on science and democratization; and a third, co-hosted with the Graduate Institute Geneva, on the production of strategic ignorance in global governance.

We’ve also been building international networks. October saw the launch of SKAPE-Net (also IASH financed), a consortium of leading scholars working at the interface of policy and science & technology studies. The network includes colleagues from Harvard, Cornell, Technical University of Berlin, ARENA Oslo, Graduate Institute and Nijmegen University. In April we launched a new Research Network within the European Consortium of Political Research, and we’re convening a section at this year’s annual conference in Montreal

SKAPE members have continued to be successful in securing grants, including from the ESRC, the Belmont Forum/NERC, the Leverhulme Trust, the Wellcome Trust, and the Swedish Research Council. Two of our members were awarded prestigious prizes: Katherine Smith was awarded a Philip Leverhulme prize, and Martyn Pickersgill the Henry Duncan Medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh. You can read more about our research projects here. We end the year with a SKAPE retreat (or “e-SKAPE”), at which we’ll be examining the role and effects of quantification in public life.

So what’s on the programme for the coming year? We’re going to continue our research focus on two key themes:

  • Knowledge democratization. We will be developing our research on citizen science, through Eugénia Rodrigues’s new Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing network. And we will be producing a special issue on the ‘Science and Democracy in Practice’, which explores the logic of attempts to democratize science and expertise.
  • Monitoring. We’ll be publishing more of the findings from our ESRC project on the Politics of Monitoring, and organising a series of dissemination events with the Institute for Public Policy Research in London. We also plan to publish a special issue on strategic ignorance in global governance. And we will be developing collaborative research on quantification and public life, and on ignorance and political rationality.We also plan to expand our engagement in knowledge exchange. We will be reflecting on the impact of the ‘impact’ agenda, through a series of events at the University of Edinburgh.If you’d like to be kept posted on events and receive our twice-yearly newsletter, please contact ada.munns@ed.ac.uk.