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PNS 4 Symposium

Post-normal science as a movement:
between informed critical resistance, reform and the making of futures

@Barcelona, 15-17 November 2018



“But citizen science in whatever form is not enough. We need to take lessons from the language and scholarship of post-normal science: the answer must lie in concepts like extended peer review, co- design and co-production. These are critical but complex and controversial concepts but they will be a large part of the future of science.”

Peter Gluckman

Call for contributions

Science, as it stands today, faces a crisis of public and political trust, combined with an inner erosion of standards of quality and integrity. Scientific findings are increasingly recognised as neither as reliable nor reproducible as they used to be portrayed. Beliefs in and self-declarations of the disinterestedness of scientific endeavours, separated from vested interest, political agenda or social and cultural context are recognised as empirically and philosophically problematic. Scientific elites are, for better or for worse, challenged by an erosion of trust on a par with that experienced by political elites in modern societies. Scientific institutions charged with higher education face demands of high societal relevance and impact which they do not know how to meet and how to prepare for.

This crisis on multiple fronts calls for a fundamental reform. Post-normal science (PNS) offers direction to such a reform, as a critical concept challenging mainstream practices of science, as an inspiration for new styles of research practice, and as an inspiration and support for new conventions of research quality assurance that better respond to the post-normal conditions of today's societal challenges. This multifaceted nature of PNS is both descriptive and normative. It provides a framework for describing and diagnosing urgent decision problems – post-normal issues – characterized by incomplete, uncertain or contested knowledge and high decision stakes, and critical reflection on how these characteristics change the relationship between science and governance. At the same time, PNS inspires a movement of critical resistance and reform towards a new style of scientific inquiry and practice that is reflexive, inclusive (in the sense that it seeks upstream engagement of extended peer communities) and transparent in regards to scientific uncertainty, ignorance, values and framings, and moving into a direction of democratisation of expertise.

This fourth PNS symposium [PNS1 in Bergen, NO, PNS2 in Ispra, IT (summarized in a recent special issue of Futures) and PNS3 in Tübingen, DE (video presentations available here)] provides a platform to discuss and explore the guidance that post-normal science can offer in finding a way out of the present crisis in and around science.

The meeting topics will be:

  1. PNS as a critical concept for informed resistance and reform (What strategies of resistance and what of reform or Reformation does PNS care about? What, when, where, why each of them? Resisting what, by/for/against whom, and why?)
  2. Ethics and matters of care in quantification, algorithms and big data (responsible quantification, use of quantitative evidence in policy making; post-normal perspectives on algorithms, big data, machine learning and AI)
  3. Tools and practices in knowledge quality assessment and extended peer communities (deliberation support tools for informed multi actor dialogues; which actors and how? Empowering marginalized actors)
  4. Post-normal literacy (building societal resilience to sloppy science, conspiracy theories, and post-truth phenomena; best practices for open science, quality assurance of extended facts)
  5. Puzzling value landscapes (responsibility, dignity, integrity, and other values)
  6. PNS in the making of futures (anticipation, path dependency, defending humanity)

The symposium welcomes contributions from the sciences, the humanities, and the arts as well as from the extended peer communities. We encourage applications that reflect on the constructive role of post-normal science as a critical concept and source of inspiration for reforming practices of research, quality assurance, and interfacing science and governance.

To highlight the rich diversity of experiences, we invite contributions addressed but not limited to issues of health, environment, energy, sustainability, emerging technologies, policy and politics. 

The symposium is organised in the format of a few invited keynote presentations, oral presentations, Q"> Oral presentations will be clustered into thematic sessions based on the submissions received and the meeting topics listed above. Each session will convene the speakers for a Q"> The installations can consist of posters, objects or interactive initiatives.


Dates to keep in mind


8th June 2018 (extended to 17th June 2018) Deadline for submission of abstracts of no more than 150 words using the submission form on the conference website. When submitting an abstract, please indicate whether the abstract is for an oral presentation (‘oral paper’) or an installation/poster.

13th August 2018 Deadline for communication to the authors of the selected contributions.

15th November 2018 9:00 AM - 17th November 1:30 PM Symposium




Organized by:





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Programa ↑ subir

PNS 4 Symposium

Post-normal science as a movement: between informed critical resistance, reform and the making of futures

Thursday 15 November


Registration with coffee


Welcome by Matthias Kaiser, SVT


Video-address by Jerry Ravetz


Keynote 1 Crisis? Surely you're joking, Andrea Saltelli


Coffee break


Panel 1: PNS as a critical concept for informed resistance and reform

Chair: Fanny Verrax


1.1  Building a New Philosophical Model for the 21st Century Scientific Practice,  Deepanwita Dasgupta


1.2 Environmental Epidemiology, Reproducibility and Uncertainty, Annibale Biggeri


1.3 Taking power seriously. Practice based considerations on PNS implementation, Marta Struminska-Kutra


1.4 Enjoy the Silence? Digital Platforms and the Future of Clinical Trials, Niccolò Tempini and David Teira




Keynote 2 Transformative Collaboration: Towards sustainable and equitable food, water and energy futures, Ariella Helfgott


Panel 2 Extended peer communities I
Chair: Violeta Cabello


2.1 The logic of care in the governance of the water-energy-food nexus, Zora Kovacic


2.2 Ambitions and Limits of a Deliberative Extended Peer Community for KQA around Science in the Digital Age, Martin O'Connor and Jean-Marc Douguet


2.3 Engagement from below at the European Commission? Exploring the engagement of the extended peer communities at the DG Joint Research Centre, Thomas Völker and Ângela Pereira


2.4 The Maker Movement: Extended Peer Communities at work? Paulo Rosa, Federico Ferretti, Thomas Völker and Ângela Pereira


Coffee break


Panel 3a Extended peer communities II
Chair: Simon Meisch

Panel 3.b Environmental justice

Chair: Fanny Verrax


3a.1 Bridging the divide between scientific practice and studies thereof to support undergraduate teaching of epistemic knowledge, Gunilla Öberg

3b.1 Forms of co-production in Environmental Justice struggles. Politicizing knowledge and empowering communities, Mariana Walter and Marta Conde


3a.2 Patient involvement: technical solution or authentic change? Cinzia Colombo

3b.2 Climate change: the confidence straightjacket, Theodore Shepherd


3a.3 When post-normal science meets modellers and practitioners: the case of nutrition and lifestyle economic evaluations, Samuele Lo Piano

3b.3 Epistemological complexity of forest carbon in East Africa, Emma Jane Lord


3a.4 Post-normal knowledge in the time of nuclear crisis, Aleksandra Brylska




- Foundations of Resilience: Libraries as Critical Imaginary Infrastructure for Disaster Readiness and Response, Michael Bennett and Michael Simeone


End of day 1


Friday 16 November


Keynote 3 Navigating a new landscape amidst contested knowledges, politics, and futures, Annika E. Nilsson


Panel 4 Knowledge Quality Assessment in climate adaptation

Chair: Jeroen van der Sluijs


4.1 Narratives of change and the prospects of postnormal climate services, Werner Krauß


4.2 Framing the future: Using local narratives of change to explore future visions and knowledge needs for urban climate resilience, Arjan Wardekker and Benedikt Marschütz


4.3 Knowledge quality assessment of seasonal predictions and long-term projections in climate services, Sam Grainger and Suraje Dessai


4.4 What is high quality knowledge for climate adaptation? Scott Bremer


Coffee Break


Panel 5. Puzzling value landscapes

Chair: Matthias Kaiser

Brainstorm session 4 KQA citizen science [ERA4CS CoCliServ session]
Chair: Diana Wildschut


5.1 Excellence, innovation and scientific integrity: Findings from an international focus group of early-career researchers, Vasiliki Petousi and Irini Sifaki

Brainstorm following panel 4:
A philosophy of science framework of ethics and quality in autonomous citizen science, Diana Wildschut


5.2 Intellectual property management and the value landscapes of publicly funded research, Mads Dahl Gjefsen


5.3 Exploring scientists' values through their perspectives on nature in scientific publications, Marco Vazquez, Gunilla Öberg and Daniel Steel



5.4 Seafood Ethics: Mapping Value Landscapes in Resource Management, Mimi E. Lam, Tony J. Pitcher, Matthias Kaiser, Thomas Potthast and Lawrence Ward




Panel 6a. Sustainability

Chair: Samuele Lo Piano


Panel 6b. PNS in the making of futures

Chair: Nora Vaage


6a.1 Co-accountability: a post-normal accountability framework for stakeholder engagement towards sustainability, Carla Antonini, Ericka Costa and Michele Andreaus.

6b.2 Frames of governance:  Comparing institutional arrangements over the policy space, Cristiano Codagnone


6a.2 “Cammini LTER”: walking through Italian landscape and fostering reflexive and inclusive attitude of scientists, Alessandra Pugnetti, Alba L'Astorina and Caterina Bergami

6b.3 Crawling to Convergence: Post-normal science experiences from within the Centre for Digital Life Norway, Dorothy Dankel


6a.3 A double-loop process for beach quality indexes: Addressing the complexity of Catalan coast, Briana Bombana and Eduard Ariza

6b.4 The Politics of Hypothesis  – An inquiry into the ethics of scientific assessment, Meskens Gaston



6b.5 Biopunk: Postnormal Immersion / Exacerbation / and Existential Horrors, Daniel Schimmelpfennig


Coffee break


Panel 7a. PNS in the making of futures

Chair: Nora Vaage



7a.1 Looking into Blockchain and other DLTs through transdisciplinary design fictions, Susana Nascimento and Alexandre Pólvora



7a.2 Afrofuturist Post-normal Science, Michael Bennett



Panel 7b. Science-Policy Interface

Chair: Scott Bremer



7b.1 Post-normal concerns in a boundary organization: towards reflexive practices in knowledge production and appraisal, Lorenzo Benini



7b.2 Knowledge Quality Assessment of ICES Advice for Norwegian Spring-Spawning Herring, Mimi E. Lam, Tony J. Pitcher, Silvio Funtowicz, Katja Enberg, and Jeroen P. van der Sluijs



Poster session

Chair: Matthias Kaiser

- Cultivating Cultural Responses within Coproduction Workshops, Max Leighton

- Anticipation and Epistemic Quality. Insights from Post-Normal Science for an Inclusive Future Making, Sergio Urueña López

- Information systems as a platform for negotiation in the framework of post-normal science practices, Daniel Ernesto Lanson, Alicia Iglesias,

- Agent-based modelling for policy-making: exploring avenues towards i-FRAME 3.0, Gianluca Misuraca, Petra Ahrweiler, Davoud Taghawi-Nejad, Flaminio Squazzoni,

- The interplay of data-models and narratives: Visions of an Algae-based nutrition? Maximilian Roßmann and Christine Rösch.
- Challenging Nature magazine, Teresa Mendes


Saturday 17 November


Keynote 4  How does the public talk about new and emerging science and technology? Melanie Smallman

Chair: Andrea Saltelli


Panel 8. Science and society

Chair: Jeroen Oomen


8.1 Contesting over uncertainty: the new alliance between scientists and the public, Elisa Vecchione


8.2 Towards indicators for 'opening up' science and technology policy, Ismael Ràfols


8.3 Doing Transformative Research at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Sciences (IASS), Simon Meisch


8.4 New Technologies and new sources of data for integrated system to measure migrations and social integration: Recent achievements and new challenges, Simona Cafieri


Coffee break


Panel 9. PNS as critical concept II

Chair: Bruna De Marchi


9.1 Complexity Science as Post-normal Science? Alvaro Malaina


9.2 From bee health to insectageddon: the battle over problem frames seen through a post-normal science lens, Jeroen van der Sluijs


9.3 Limits of evidence-based methods in cognitive science: elements of scientific autodefense against behavioral and neuroeconomics, Jean-Michel Hupé


9.4 PNS and Emancipating Science from its Fears of Ambiguity, Michael R. Lissack


Final remarks


Farewell and coffee





Ponentes ↑ subir




Ariella Helfgott (University of Oxford), whose research spans conceptual and mathematical modeling of system resilience and adaptability, through to participatory approaches to building resilience and adaptive capacity on-the-ground.





Annika E. Nilsson (Stockholm Environment Institute), whose work focuses on Arctic change, with research on environmental governance and communication at the science-policy interface.





Andrea Saltelli (University of Bergen), whose main disciplinary focus is on sensitivity analysis of model output and on sensitivity auditing, an extension of sensitivity analysis to the entire evidence-generating process in a policy context.





Melanie Smallman (University College London), whose research looks at how the public form views around new and emerging science and technology, the impact of these views on public policy and how expert advice is conceived and used in policymaking.





The welcoming speech will be on Jerry Ravetz, the father of the post-normal scientific approach with Silvio Funtowicz.

Vídeos ↑ subir

  • Address - Jerry Ravetz
  • Keynote 1 - Andrea Saltelli, Crisis Surely you are joking
  • Keynote 2 - Ariella Helfgott, Transformative Collaboration: Towards sustainable and equitable food, water and energy futures
  • Keynote 3 - Annika E. Nilsson, Navigating a new landscape amidst contested knowledges, politics, and futures
  • Keynote 4 - Melanie Smallman, How does the public talk about new and emerging science and technology?
  • Panel 1 - PNS as a critical concept for informed resistance and reform
  • Panel 2- Extended Peer Communities I
  • Panel 3a - Extended Peer Communities II
  • Panel 3b - Environmental Justice
  • Panel 4 - Knowledge Quality Assessment in climate adaptation
  • Panel 5 - Puzzling value landscapes
  • Panel 6a - Sustainability
  • Panel 6b - PNS in the making of the future
  • Panel 7a - PNS in the making of the future II
  • Panel 7b - Science-Policy Interface
  • Panel 8 - Science and Society
  • Panel 9 - PNS as critical concept II
  • Participants interview
  • Poster Session

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