Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities
Open seminar

Science for Policy: Post-Normal Science in Practice

In honor of our new professor Jeroen van der Sluijs, the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and Humanities at the University of Bergen organized this mini-symposium 10-11 December 2014.

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Alice Benessia

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Over twenty years ago, Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz put forward a framework of scientific inquiry called "Post-Normal Science", an approach to interface science and policy that is appropriate for cases where "facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent" (Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1991).

Post-normal science is an approach to interface science and policy in cases where decisions need to be made before conclusive scientific evidence is available. Often, a single and conclusive scientific answer will not be available for highly complex systems such as fisheries, climate, society and the human body.In such cases, more research does not necessarily lead to less uncertainty, but can lead to unforeseen complexity. Values are often in dispute when the potential impacts of decisions based on uncertain science have very large consequences.

The motivation of this symposium is the arrival of our new professor, Jeroen van der Sluijs, from the University of Utrecht. Jeroen just started his position at our Centre in November, and since he was the first to put into action the post-normal science approach and the NUSAP scheme to a methodology of Knowledge Quality Assessment in the late 1990’s, we are hosting a symposium to highlight the development in this area.

We have invited the following speakers to this mini-symposium:
Silvio Funtowicz, Jerome Ravetz, Bruna De-Marchi, Kjellrun Hiis Hauge, Mario Giampietro, Martin O’Connor, Joyeeta Gupta, Diana Wildschut, Andrea Saltelli, Dorothy Dankel, Alice Benessia

The mini-symposium is free and open for all, but please register by 5th of December due to lunches.

Program Day 1

Chair: Dorothy J. Dankel, Centre for the Study of the Sciences & the Humanities (SVT/UiB) & the Institute of Marine Research, Bergen

09.00-09.30   Coffee, morning refreshments

09.30-09.45   Opening of Symposium
Matthias Kaiser, Director of the SVT

09.45-09.55   Science for Policy from UiB’s perspective
Vice-rector for internationalization Anne Christine Johannesen

10.00-10.10   Symposium Welcome & Agenda
Dorothy Dankel (SVT/UiB & Institute of Marine Research)

10.10-10.40   History and current developments in Post-normal science
Silvio Funtowicz (SVT/UiB) & Jerome Ravetz, co-founders of Post-Normal Science
10.40-10.55   Coffee/Tea

10.55-11.35   Tools for Post-Normal Science, Jeroen van der Sluijs (SVT/UiB)
Discussant: Angela Pereira (European Commision Joint Research Centre)

11.35 -11.55  Post-normal science under conditions of co-production;what would post-normal policy look like? Brian Wynne(University of Lancaster)
Discussant: Tom Børsen (Aalborg University)

12.00-13.00   Lunch, Cafeteria of the Faculty of Law

13.00-13.30  Fisheries science for policy,Martin Pastoors(Pelagic Freezer-Trawler   Association)
Discussant: Mimi Lam (University of British Columbia, Fisheries Centre)

13.30-14.00  Climate Science/IPCC & Post-Normal Science, Joyeeta Gupta (University of Amsterdam)
Discussant: Martin O'Connor (University of Versailles, Saint Quetin)

14.00-14.15  Coffee/Tea

14.15-14.45  The role of scientists in a sustainable peer-to-peer society, Diana Wildschut, University of Amersfoort
Discussant: Kari Stange (University of Wagningen)

14.45-15.15  Notes on a Proactionary approach (principle, process or imperative) in Post-Normal Science, Alexander Gerner (University of Lisbon)
Discussant: Kjetil Rommetveit (SVT/UiB)

15.15-16.00  Break-Out Sessions (according to themes),putting post-normal science into practice, with Rapporteurs, 3 rooms.
Participants choose the room closest to their topic of interest

  • Climate Science for Policy  - Jeroen van der Sluijs & Anne Blanchard
  • Marine Science for Policy    - Dorothy Dankel & Kari Stange
  • Bio-Medical for Policy          - Roger Strand & Nora Vaage

16.00-16.30   Break-Out Session Reporting in plenary by Rapporteurs
Moderator: Dorothy Dankel

Program Day 2

Chair: Rasmus Slaattelid, Centre for the Study of the Sciences & the Humanities (SVT)

08.45 - 09.00  Coffee/Tea

09.00 - 09.30   Disentangling the ambiguity of peak oil: What economists and engineers do not understand, Mario Giampietro (Autonomous University of Barcelona)
Discussant: Matthias Kaiser (SVT/UiB)

09.30 - 10.00  Mathematics education and post-normal science, Kjellrun Hiis Hauge (University College of Bergen)
Discussant: Martijntje Smits (University of Utrecht)

10.00 - 10.30  When the earth shakes ... and science with it: the L'Aquila case, Alice Benessia (University of Aosta Valley) &  Bruna De Marchi (SVT/UiB)
Discussant: Martin Pastoors (Pelagic Freezer-Trawler Association)

10.30 - 10.45   Coffee/tea

10.45 - 11.15   Sensitivity Auditing, Andrea Saltelli (European Commision Joint Research Centre)
Discussant: Roger Strand (SVT/UiB)

11.15 - 11.45   Panel Discussion (invited panel members):
                      •    Joyeeta Gupta
                      •    Silvio Funtowicz
                      •    Angela Pereira
                      Moderator: Dorothy Dankel (SVT/UiB)

11.45 - 12.15   Plenary Closing session: The Future of Post-Normal Science & final words from Jeroen van der Sluijs (SVT/UiB)

12.15 -13.15    Lunch and Departures