Science Governance


Science Governance

Our research group critically studies science, gender, and higher education policies. 

Photo illustration of a zebrafish with nanoparticles

We explore the role of science in policy-making as well as policies on emerging technosciences. The primary goal of our research team is to contribute with increased knowledge about how actors govern changes within research and innovation. Our research activity encompasses important issues like diversity and gender perspectives; democracy and participatory processes; governance of new enabling technologies; and interdisciplinarity. The group currently focuses on ‘Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)’ which is a science policy instrument where the basic idea is to make sure that new science and technology is developed in accordance with the general needs and values of society.

We collaborate extensively with relevant, leading research communities, nationally and internationally; and translate research-based insights about science and society through action research.


Research projects

Research projects

Making Gender Balance from Below (BALANCE)

Funded by the Research Council of Norway; BALANSE-programme, 2015-2018

An important part of a RRI is a gender perspective on research and innovation, and a focus on the gender balance. The project 'Gender balance from below' will increase the knowledge of what makes better and more inclusive research communities for both men and and women in academia, through a combined action research and traditional research approach.

Follow this link to read about the gender balance project

Bio-degradable Li-ion Battery Anodes 

The BIOBATT project is funded by Research Council of Norway  through the Nano 2021 program.

The main aim of the project is to build a full cell Li-ion battery with an anode based on diatom frustules and water soluble binders combined with a commercially available cathode, which can outperform current state of the art Li-ion batteries. By using readily available and naturally occurring silica nanostructures which require minimum pretreatments, and replacing PVDF with water soluble alginate binders, the battery production may be performed with considerably lower environmental impact, at a lower price and with less electricity consumption. The project has an interdisciplinary, responsible research and innovation (RRI) approach that anticipates and assesses potential implications (e.g. to society, economy, health, or the environment) and societal expectations with regard to the science and innovation on LIBs, with the aim to foster the design of inclusive, and sustainable research and innovation.

Lead on RRI in this project: Marianne Ryghaug. PI: Govert Valkenburg

Digitalization of the Road Sector and the Role of Driving 

The DRIVERS project is funded by the Research Council on Norway through the Transport 2025 program.

The primary goal of DRIVERS is to investigate how a digitized and automated transport sector affects drivers, driving behavior and practices. One of the work packages aims at developing dimensions of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in practice while working to build socially robust knowledge about automated vehicles. The WP explores possible impacts and implications that may otherwise remain uncovered and serve as an entry point for reflecting on underlying purposes, motivations, what is known and unknown; risks, assumptions and dilemmas.

The project involves a strong network of international scholars as well as key actors in the digitalization and automation of the Norwegian transport sector, such as Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA), the Norwegian Road Transport Association (NRTA), the Norwegian Automobile Association (NAF), Kolumbus, Forus Næringspark, AtB, NITO, Stavanger municipality). See for more info

Lead on RRI WP: Marianne Ryghaug
Project leader of DRIVERS project: Tomas Moe Skjølsvold


Res publica. Responsibility, practice and the public good.

Funded by the Research Council of Norway; Center for Digital Life Norway (DLN), 2017-2020

"Res publica. Responsibility, practice and the public good" asks what responsibility can mean in and to the practices of a biotechnology center in a socio-political governance context marked by fragmentation, globalization, and uncertainty. To approach this topic, we start by mapping and analyzing ‘res publica’ across DLN. This means that we address the question of what affairs within a research center like DLN that are or should be public affairs. Our research will elicit how res publica relate to, emerge from and are cared for in scientific practices within DLN projects and whether RRI-activities can help to govern res publica. In a second step, we will expand our research to include other actors and analyze other settings where responsibility may be taken in order to care for res publica generated from DLN’s practices. 

The research project uses both traditional qualitative methods, such as interviews, and action research methods. Project partners are Department for Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture (KULT), Centre for Technology, Innovation, and Culture (UiO) and Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities (UiB).

Follow this link to read more about the Center for Digital Life Norway


Supporting the Development of Territorial Responsible Research and Innovation

TeRRItoria is funded within H2020's SwafS-14-2018.

The overall objective of the project is to experiment with the adoption of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) approaches in European regional and territorial R&I systems. The project is led by the South East European Research Centre (SEERC) and our local partner here in Trondheim is the Trøndelag county council (


This project researches what transdisciplinarity mean in the context of Norwegian biotechnology research.

Biotechnology is a wide-ranging field receiving substantial policy attention and is a site where research policy expectations of disciplinary transgression are clearly articulated.

The project study transdisciplinarity in the context of the national biotechnology research centre Digital Life Norway (DLN) ( DLN was established in 2015 as a part of a strategic initiative from the Norwegian Research Council. The aim of the initiative was to “create economic, societal and environmental value in Norway from biotechnological research and innovation, by encouraging transdisciplinary research” (RCN 2014:4). DLN represents a huge public investment of around 50 million Euros, consisting of 17 large research projects and 19 associated partner projects. DLN thus represents a place where policy meets practice, making it an interesting research site for understanding what disciplinary transgression can mean in Norwegian biotechnology.

The research project spans a multitude of questions regarding interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, convergence, and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), such as 'What kind of research practices are generated through policy expectations of disciplinary transgression?', 'How to transform scientists understanding of science-society relations when teaching RRI?', as well as questions regarding the implications of increasing demands of digitalization and value creation in this context.

Contact person: Maria Bårdsen Hesjedal

Previous research

Previous research

Performing ELSA. Governance of and governmentality in biotechnology and nanotechnology research

Funded by the Research Council of Norway; ELSA-programme, 2014-2017

As to translate RRI into action, biotechnologists and nanotechnologists need to describe how they account for RRI in their research project when they apply for projects at the Norwegian Research Council. The project “Performing ELSA. Governance of and governmentality in biotechnology and nanotechnology research (PerformE) analyses how researchers experience these demands. Do they themselves see the need to do things differently in their daily work? How do they enact responsibility and how do they account for ethical, legal, and social aspects of their research? By means of narrative interviews, we elicit the conditions of knowledge production and the relationship between science governance and scientists’ self-conduct. In this respect, the PerformE project represents our general research interest in governance, democracy, and society.

Follow this link to read more about the Performing Elsa project

Socially Robust Solar Cells (SoRoSol)

Funded by The Research Council of Norway; NANO2021-programme and ELSA-programme, 2010-2015.

SoRoSol aimed to achieve social robustness in the development of new solar technology. The project has been committed to integrated research, which means a tight interdisciplinary collaboration. The involved disciplines were in SoRoSol’s case: material science, science and technology studies (STS), applied ethics, and industrial ecology. The material science part of the SoRoSol project developed new materials for solar cells. Their aim was to find the materials best suited for intermediate band solar cells. The integrated part of the project studied actors who potentially were engaged in solar cell technologies and their interests and arguments related to such technologies to bring in such insights into the development processes of solar cells so that they become relevant at the laboratory level. This has been carried out through ethnographic fieldwork, interdisciplinary exchanges through monthly project meetings to allow for intervention, interviews with Norwegian solar scientists, and dialogue meetings about future use of solar cells with experts on solar cell applications. An important result from this was an extension of the list of criteria to be used in the choice of new materials for solar cells. We achieve a more socially robust choice of materials when this acknowledges and is understandable for future users of the materials. Here, the dialogue meetings where SoRoSol participants met with experts on solar energy in architecture, buildings, and policymaking, and with other experts on energy use in Norway. These meetings gave very useful input to the work to extend the list of material choice criteria.

Follow this link to read more about the project.


Funded by EU Horizon 2020 May 1, 2017-April 30, 2020

The Department of Interdiciplinary Studies of Culture is a proud partner in the comprehensive EC project; FIT4RRI. This project moves from the basic assumption that there is a serious gap between the potential role Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and Open Science (OS) could play in helping Research Funding and Performing Organisations (RFPOs) to manage the rapid transformation processes affecting science (especially the science-in-society aspects) and the actual impact RRI and OS are currently having on RFPOs, research sectors and national research systems.

FIT4RRI is precisely intended to contribute to bridging this gap, promoting viable strategies to render institutional changes in RFPOs. The project, in particular, will act on two key factors necessary for RFPOs to activate institutional changes towards RRI and OS: Enhanding compences and skills; and institutional embedding. Under FIT4RRI, Responsible Research and Innovation and Open Science are understood as both a strategic framework, and a set of practical instruments and knowledge, overall oriented to better align the process and outcomes of Research & Innovation with the values, needs and expectations of the European Research Area (ERA) and in general the European society.


Associated researchers