Conference: Public Research and Private Knowledge – Science in Times of Diverse Research Funding

Due to the current corona pandemic the conference has been postponed to July 22nd-23rd, 2021.

Center for Applied Philosophy of Science and Key Qualifications (ZiWiS)

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen (Germany)

Topic:

The conference aims to explore whether the influence of private funding changes the selection of research topics in an epistemically or otherwise (un-)desirable direction, whether it leads to a privatization of knowledge, and what the consequences of such a privatization would entail.

 


Bilder: FAU/Erich Malter

Keynote speakers:

Manuela Fernández Pinto (Universidad de los Andes)

Bennett Holman (Yonsei University)

Naomi Oreskes (Harvard University)

Sergio Sismondo (Queen‘s University, Kingston)

Please register until July 9th, 2021, by writing an E-Mail including your general information (name, contact, affiliation) to ziwis-conference@fau.de.

There is no conference fee.

Please click CfR for further information.

 

Call for papers:

Public Research and Private Knowledge – Science in Times of Diverse Research Funding.

Please click here for further information.

Date: July 22nd-23rd, 2021 (new Date!)

Conference Language: 

English

Submission Format: 

Abstract approx. 500 words

Submission Deadline: 

April 18th, 2021

Submission Details:

There are several slots for presentations (up to 20 minutes for the talk, followed by 10 minutes for discussion).

Please send an anonymized abstract (approx. 500 words) and a separate document specifying your general information (name, contact, affiliation) by April 18th 2021 to ziwis-conference@fau.de. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by April 30th. We welcome proposals from individuals at all stages of their career.

Please note that unfortunately we cannot cover expenses for travel and accommodation. The conference fee (80 € / 50 €) also applies to accepted speakers.

Topic:

The production and distribution of knowledge is a key process in scientific and scholarly inquiry. However, this process is not and has never been limited to universities and public research institutes alone, but extends to agents as diverse as the Research & Development departments of companies, citizen scientists, and private non-profit research institutes. In recent years, these agents have shown an increased interest in basic ˗as opposed to applied ˗science, for example in fields of rising social significance such as AI or biomedical technology. These specific research interests in turn direct attention to the sources of funding, and, as a consequence, to the direction of inquiry and the accessibility of results.

The main problem that arises from this development can be expressed in two questions: First, does the influence of private funding change the selection of research topics in an epistemically or otherwise (un-)desirable direction? And second, does it lead to a privatization of knowledge, and if so, what are the consequences of this privatization?

Some key questions that arise in this area of investigation are:

  • Where do new sources of research funding come from, and how important a role do they play? Which agents foster the development, which methods do they use, and what are their primary motivations?
  • What are the epistemic consequences, and who is affected by them? What is the impact of business interests on epistemic norms and ideals, and are there any (additional) sources of bias to be expected?
  • Have there been any (changes of) institutional structures in the last decades that have stimulated or hindered these tendencies? Which historical idea of science is at stake? Which factors affected the practices of organizing the production and distribution of scientific knowledge during the second half of the 20th century?
  • Is academic freedom threatened by these developments, and if so, to what extent? How could it be maintained? What are the epistemic effects of endowment chairs and industry-sponsored PhD Projects?
  • Does public financial support for private (pharmaceutical) companies to accelerate research and development (such as e.g. currently witnessed with respect to SARS-CoV2 vaccines) have relevant epistemological or ethical implications?

This set of questions requires an epistemological assessment as well as a historical, sociological, and economic perspective. Therefore, the interdisciplinary conference of the Center for Applied Philosophy of Science and Key Qualifications at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Erlangen, Germany) aims at bringing together researchers from all pertinent fields in order to further our understanding of this apparent organizational shift in knowledge production and distribution and to accurately evaluate the challenges and opportunities it presents.

Further Inspiration:

Organizers:

Michael Jungert, Julia Böttcher, Jon Leefmann, Christoph Merdes, Sebastian Schuol

Center for Applied Philosophy of Science and Key Qualifications (ZiWiS)

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen (Germany)

Thursday, July 22th

Time (CEST) Speaker Title
12:30 Michael Jungert & Jon Leefmann (Erlangen) Welcome and Introduction
13:00 Saana Jukola (Bonn) Commercial Interests and the Epistemic Trustworthiness of Nutrition Science
13.30 Thomas Sukopp (Siegen) Organizational Shifts in Knowledge Production in Late 18th Century Chemistry
14:00 Break (time for socializing and discussion)
15:00 Sergio Sismondo (Kingston) Keynote: Controlling the Means of Production and Distribution of Science
16:00 Karim Bschir (Zürich) Corporate Funding of Public Research: A Feyerabendian Perspective
16:30 Break (time for socializing and discussion)
17:30 Fabian Hempel (München) Reflections from Science Novels on the Idea(l) of an Epistemically and Institutionally Autonomous Science
18:00-19:00 Naomi Oreskes (Harvard) Keynote: Yes, It Does Matter Who Funds Science

Friday, July 23th

Time (CEST) Speaker Title
12:00 Visual Recap with Wolfgang Irber
12:30 Jon Leefmann (Erlangen) How to Assess the Epistemic Wrongness of Sponsorship Bias? The Case of Manufactured Certainty
13:00 Gordon Katic (Toronto) Public Distrust in Medicine: The Case for Curtailing Industry Influence to Rebuild Trust and Improve Medical Effectiveness
13:30 Raphaël Lévy (Paris) & Yasemin J. Erden (Enschede) Deflating the Business Case for a Nanobubble
14:00 Break (time for socializing and discussion)
15:00 Bennett Holman (Seoul) Keynote: What, Me Worry?: Research Policy Scholars and the Open Embrace of Industry-Academia Relations
16:00 Miguel Ohnesorge (Cambridge, UK) Ignorance and Testability in Industry-Fundet Science
16:30 Break (time for socializing and discussion)
17:30 Melike Janssen (Berlin) Autonomy Claims and Financial Requirements – Two Opposing Forces in the Field of Experimental Physics
18:00-19:00 Manuela Fernández Pinto (Bogotá) Keynote: Open Science for Private Interests? On how the Logic of Open Science Contributes to the Commercialization of Research

 

 

The workshop will take place online.