Broadening, deepening, and governing innovation: Flemish technology assessment in historical and socio-political perspective

Michiel Van Oudheusden, Nathan Charlier, Benedikt Rosskamp, Pierre Delvenne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article examines the socio-political dynamics in the evolution and development of Flemish technology assessment (TA). Broadly defined, TA encompasses activities and programs that expand and deepen the knowledge base of contemporary knowledge-based economies (KBEs), typically by including new actors (e.g. trade unions), ideas (e.g. science in society), and rationales (e.g. participatory techniques) in science, technology, and innovation (STI) processes. Starting from the regionalization of STI policy in Belgium and the convergence of Flemish STI around global KBE principles, the article exemplifies how since the 1980s successive Flemish TA waves (early-warning, bottom-up, and interactive TA) have co-evolved with successive generations of Flemish innovation policy. Building on these findings, it argues that Flemish TA has counteracted and accommodated dominant STI paradigms. By providing a historical and socio-political perspective on TA and innovation policy, the article draws critical attention to the institutional settings and societal contexts in which TA is embedded, and questions TA's strategic utility within contemporary KBEs. This perspective sheds light on the Flemish government's recent decision to close its parliamentary TA institute and the institutional expansion of TA elsewhere in Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1877-1886
Number of pages10
JournalResearch Policy
Volume44
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

Keywords

  • Flanders
  • Innovation policy
  • Knowledge-based economy
  • Political governance
  • Technology assessment

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