Future Organisms




How can we build capacity for fruitful interdisciplinary collaborations between the social and natural sciences in synthetic genomics?

Over the course of the project we aim to build capacity for social scientific engagement with synthetic genomics across national contexts. We will host events that draw together social scientists and ethicists working on synthetic genomics, natural scientists and engineers, and policy makers and other stakeholders who have strong interests in cross-disciplinary working.

In November 2023, we’re running an Open Panel at the Society for the Social Studies of Science Conference. Here is the abstract:

Studying with: building infrastructures for collaborative work

Science and technology studies often adopts an observational mode, producing knowledge about science and technology. Sometimes STS researchers aim to intervene in their fields of study to achieve certain normative goals. In this track, we are interested in a third mode, neither distantly observing nor actively trying to change scientists and engineers or their research, but studying with them. We want to engage and grapple with the affective work, opportunities and challenges that practicing this mode of STS entails. How do we tack between the competing disciplinary and policy winds of STS, STEM, funders, and others who might (try to) anchor our work?

We invite stories of collaboration with scientists, engineers, artists and policy makers. How do they arise and what emerges from them? Rather than dwelling in the land of conflict and complaint, we hope to collectively explore how we have wandered, flown, or dived into interdisciplinary contexts. What theories, methods, and strategies do we use to navigate these spaces? What (perhaps productive and necessary) discomforts, disappointments, and opportunities are engendered? What do we do when we get swept up in waves of hype and money? Where do we trudge, fly, swim, sink, or struggle through the mud? What should we call this STS territory? And what architectures can we construct there together?

Our aim is to create a community of STS researchers interested in further exploring this mode of research, and to move beyond diagnosis to develop spaces and infrastructures for its practice.