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Posted: Jul 30, 2008

The debate about converging technologies: Options for research funding

Previous chapter: Social Discourse on Science and Technology
The references to research needs here are limited to those that arise in immediate conjunction with the illustrated options for action, which include:  
  • in-depth and systematic investigations into pre-existing areas of CT application, and the chances and challenges which arise for innovations systems through the diverse convergence processes;
  • additional internationally comparative scientometric studies, expert interviews, and other investigations into convergence processes in the natural sciences and technology and into the current significance of the convergence concept in R&D;
  • the development of differentiated, possibly discipline-independent and technology-neutral concepts of scientific technological convergence, taking into consideration various types of convergence (e.g., weak and strong convergence, convergence through inspiration), the dynamic character of convergence processes, and (contrary) differentiations in disciplines and technology;
  • stocktaking of the German R&D landscape and funding activities in the area of the NBIC fields from the convergence perspective;
  • the convergence-related evaluation of multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary research and cross-boundary technology development and its funding, also from an international perspective;
  • systematic evaluations of research into ethical and social aspects of the NBIC fields from a convergence perspective;
  • technology assessment (including vision analyses and evaluations) as well as other studies into in-depth investigation of individual convergence areas and technologies, e.g, the so-called human enhancement technologies;
  • activities and studies organized along participatory lines to gain knowledge of the social debate on converging technologies and sciences and to possibly stimulate this debate.
  •  
    The knowledge thus gained for orientation would not only contribute to answering the question of whether a new convergence paradigm would have a solid scientific technological basis. It might possibly also support the political operationalization of new CT concepts and the design and innovation-orientated furtherance of convergence processes.
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