Transforming Science

Dates: 24-26 April 2024 (start at 13:30 on the 24th)

Organization: the Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science of Ghent University.

Workshop chairs:  Erik Weber & Julie Mennes.

This workshop is supported by the Belgian Science, Technology & Society Network (B.STS)


Scientists typically produce general knowledge. They describe the world in a way that allows for the explanation and prediction of phenomena across the various contexts in which they occur. In basic sciences, explanations and predictions are aimed at deep understanding, in applied sciences, they also support targeted manipulations and interventions.

Nowadays, science is increasingly expected to contribute to sustainable solutions for complex, societal problems. What these problems consist in, and how they are best defined, varies with context and perspective. Rather than the general knowledge scientists typically produce, these problems require knowledge that is context-sensitive, problem-oriented and actionable.

This new mission for science raises questions about the extent to which traditional scientific practice can contribute to societal problem-solving, and how science could be transformed to increase its problem-solving potential.

This workshop will address issues related to the transformation of science from a wide variety of perspectives. We invite abstracts from fields such as history and philosophy of science and technology, sociology, anthropology, science and technology studies, sustainability studies, policy studies and policy making.

Examples of topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • – Does societal problem solving require scientific progress or technological innovation?
  • – Does academic freedom stimulate scientists to contribute to societal problem solving?
  • – How does the commercialization of scientific research impact its societal relevance?
  • – How should a society organize its scientific research and science funding to maximize the return on investment without compromising research ethics?
  • – Does the use of scientific evidence in policy-making lead to societal improvement?
  • – What role should inter- and transdisciplinary research play? Do they have a positive impact on the problem-solving capacity of science?
  • – What role should participatory research (citizen science) play? Is it beneficial or a threat to the quality of scientific research?
  • – Is ‘slow science’ more likely to contribute to societal problem-solving?
  • – How are imaginaries of scientific progress, technological innovation and societal improvement produced and enacted?
  • – To what extent are scientists responsible for the ethical quality of solutions for societal problems?

Keynote speakers

Stijn Conix (UCLouvain)

David Ludwig (Wageningen University)

Emma Moormann & Jo Bervoets (University of Antwerp)

Abstract submission


We welcome submissions on any topic that fits into the scope as described above. Send your abstract of 300 to 500 words to: before 6 March 2024.

Notification of acceptance: 13 March 2024.



Day 1 (Wednesday 24 april)

13:00-13:30      Registration

Keynote speaker 1

13:30-14:40       Stijn Conix (UC Louvain)     Grant Writing and Grant Peer Review as Questionable Research Practices


14:40-15:15        Coffee Break


Session 1

15:15-16:00       Julia Hermann (University of Twente)     Enhancing Transdisciplinary Research Through Philosophy and Design

16:00-16:45      Emma Deckers (University of Antwerp)     Including Local Ecological Knowledge in Research on Harmful Algae Blooms

16:45-17:30       Lara Kristina Sabatier (University of Copenhagen)     The Spectre of Incommensurability is Haunting Transdisciplinary Research.


17:30-18:15       Drinks (in KANTL)


Day 2 (Thursday 25 april)

Keynote speaker 2

09:30-10:40      Emma Moormann & Jo Bervoets (University of Antwerp)     Risk in and Resilience of Autism Research


10:40-11:00        Coffee Break


Session 2

11:00-11:45        Hans Radder (VU University Amsterdam)     Medical Research without Big Pharma: it’s Preferable, it’s Profitable, and it’s Practicable             

11:45-12:30        Valentine Delrue (Ghent University)     Useful or Useless? The French Public as an Actor in Constructing Credibility for Atmospheric Tides Meteorology



12:30-13:30       Lunch Break


Session 3

13:30-14:15        Qianru Wang (Ghent University)     Counteractive Mechanisms and Effect Indeterminacy in Evidence-based Policy

14:15-15:00        Massimiliano Simons (Maastricht University) & Sacha Ferrari (KU Leuven)     The Autonomy of Non-institutional Science


15:00-15:30        Coffee Break


Session 4

15:30-16:15        Merve Burnazoglu (Utrecht University)     Identity in Models, Measurement, and Machines


Day 3 (Friday 26 April)

Keynote speaker 3

09:30-10:40     David Ludwig (Wageningen University)     Transformative Transdisciplinarity. Aligning Science and Society Through Community-Based Research?


10:40-11:00        Coffee Break


Session 5

11:00-11:45        Julie Mennes (Ghent University)     Science and Societal Problems

11:45-12:30        Branwen Peddi (Ghent University)     Epistemic Justice in Agricultural Development in Forikrom, Ghana                           


12:30-13:30        Lunch Break


Session 6

13:30-14:15        Karen François (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)     Transforming (Educational) Science: the Case of Math (Education)

14:15-15:00        Koen Lefever (BELSPO)     Belgian Marine Science Policy: an Interdisciplinary Approach in an International Context

15:00-15:45       Jasper Debrabander (Ghent University)     On the normative validity of measures of decision quality in medicine: a case study


16:00-17:00      Drinks (in a pub on Vrijdagmarkt)




Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature (KANTL), Koningstraat 18, Ghent, Belgium.





Book of abstracts