Innovation, Risk and the Governance of Science and Technology

Social Sciences in China Review

No.4, 2018


Innovation, Risk and the Governance of Science and Technology(Abstract)


Editor’s note


Toda’s rapid development and wide application of science and technology have not only profoundly changed people’s lifestyles and modes of production, but also brought about major changes in the relationship between science and technology and society. On the one hand, the strategic importance of technological innovation in economic growth and social development keeps rising, and the publicity of scientific and technological activities is becoming more prominent; on the other hand, the actors of scientific and technological innovation become more diverse, accompanied by increasing risks and complexity in its governance.

The report to the 19th CPC National Congress points out that we will “make China a country of innovators,” because “innovation is the primary driving force behind development; it is the strategic underpinning for building a modernized economy,” and “we should aim for the frontiers of science and technology, strengthen basic research, and make major breakthroughs in pioneering basic research and groundbreaking and original innovations.” Against this background, some questions are imperative for sociologists to answer, such as how to govern the development of science and technology well while maintaining their necessary autonomy and creativity at the state, society and scientific community levels, how to identify, prevent and resolve the risks brought about by technological innovation, etc.

In July 2018, a dialogue meeting on these issues was held by the journal of Social Sciences in China Review. Some scholars were invited to the event, including Professor Li Zhengfeng, deputy dean of the School of Social Sciences at Tsinghua University; Professor Zhao Wanli of the Zhou Enlai School of Government at Nankai University; Zhao Yandong, research fellow of the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development; Professor Xu Fei, director of the Department of Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Science and Technology of China; and others. In this special issue of “Innovation, Risk and Governance of Science and Technology,” we try to showcase part of the highlights of the meeting.