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Mapping and characterising the dynamics of emerging technologies to inform policy

Abstract : The project aims at developing a framework and its tools for mapping the dynamics of emerging technologies (MDET) Emerging technologies are a growing issue for policymaking, as is mirrored by the new European FET programme. Policies and funding agencies face ‘voices’ by researchers asking for public support of what they consider as a new promising technology. This happens when we are past the initial Référence du formulaire : ANR-FORM-090601-01-01 2/15 exploration stage of ‘frontier research’. Initial claims have been recognised as relevant and this has started attracting other researchers. How can their claims be assessed and how can on-­‐‑going developments be characterised? To answer this question, we propose a framework that has been developed in three steps. The analysis of a number of case studies (3 by our colleagues from SPRU and 3 by IFRIS) has enabled to identify key dimensions. In return these have driven us to mobilise, combine and complement existing theories. In a third step we have tested the existence of instruments to characterise the situation, and, for some aspects, this has driven us to propose new developments. The report presents both the framework and the tools (with selected examples to illustrate their deployment). The framework is made of 5 dimensions that are visualised in the 5 petals flower of the dynamics of emerging technology. It builds on the proposal by Nedeva that, to understand the dynamics of science, one needs to consider both field and space characteristics. Field relates to the socio-­‐‑cognitive dynamics for which scientometrics proposes multiple analytical instruments. They help characterising the content of the emerging technology, the core set of concepts, theories and methods that constitute it; at the same time it helps identifying the key actors and the networks that they form (dimension 1: delineating a technology field). Far less work has been dealing with “Space” that is the source of the four other petals. The second dimension deals with field-­‐‑level institutional conditions: how are ideas and products circulated and discussed. This deals mostly with journals, conferences and professional associations that organise them. One result of our case studies has been to emphasize the role of ‘champions’ identifying four types, of which ‘institutional entrepreneurs’ (who foster enactment of the field in different environments). One central characteristics of champions is that they propose visions of the field, and corresponding expectations. This builds our third dimension: promise champions & expectations. Research does not happen in a vacuum: researchers are employed by organisations, funded by programmes, and their field may or not become a policy priority. Barre et al. have proposed to analyse ‘national systems’ and their policies at these 3 complementary levels: orientation, programming and performance. This builds our fourth dimension that aims at characterising the field ‘embedding in research’. However technologies exhibit a second critical dimension, their role in shaping or transforming markets which has seldom been taken into consideration in the analysis of emergence: here we consider 3 aspects that build the fifth dimension ‘embedding in markets’: the existence of ‘niche markets’ that enable entering in a learning curve; arenas that help actors build collective visions and roadmaps and the construction of ‘market infrastructures’ that will enable market generalisation (through rules, norms & values).
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IFRIS MDET Report.pdf
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  • HAL Id : hal-01275987, version 1



Philippe Larédo, Douglas K. R. Robinson, Aurélie Delemarle, Axel Lagnau, Michel Revollo, et al.. Mapping and characterising the dynamics of emerging technologies to inform policy. [Research Report] Université paris Est, IFRIS. 2015. ⟨hal-01275987⟩



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