The EASST Awards

The EASST Awards

NOTE: This article relates to the launch of our awards in 2011. For information on 2014 awards please refer to our home page.

The tension between the recognition of individual achievement and the appreciation of collective contribution is a long observed dilemma of the academic endeavour. Although there is some evidence in the wider knowledge system of a shift toward team efforts and greater collaboration, the institutional career reward system has increasingly favoured individually authored publication outputs as the prime measure of performance. This is accompanied by a growing tendency toward competitive point-scoring between institutions.

As an organisation representing a broad collection of professional scholars and researchers, the EASST Council feels there is a need to restore a healthier balance within the reward system between individual achievement and collective contribution. There is a need to recognise more explicitly significant types of collaboration or leadership that has contributed to the cohesion of, and community within, our field. In order to do this we are introducing a new range of EASST awards designed to reward outstanding activities which have significantly developed interactions between individuals and resulted in novel and influential collaborative results. We also feel that the significant potential of STS scholarship in Europe for influencing politics and public dialogue is not sufficiently exploited, and the creation of awards can help to remedy this by creating more visibility of STS insights.

The field of science, technology and innovation studies is maturing. EASST’s grand old age of 30+ years has mixed consequences. As well as the satisfaction of witnessing the rise of a new generation of academics we also experience the loss of distinguished individuals who have shaped the very foundations and formation of the community engaged in the social studies of science and technology. We are taking the occasion of the introduction of this new range of awards to honour some individuals who are no longer with us, yet have left an enduring imprint on our distinctive European scholarly identity.

We are pleased therefore to announce that 3 new awards will be made at the next EASST conference being held jointly with 4S in October 2012.

Ziman award

John Ziman had a distinguished career as a theoretical physicist and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1967. He died in 2005 at the age of 79. His book on the social dimensions of science – Public Knowledge, was published in 1967 and marked the first of a series of influential studies of science as a collective human endeavour. In the mid 1980s he joined the Department of Social and Economic Studies at Imperial College, London and set up the Science Policy Support Group for the Economic and Social Research Council. He was actively involved in a variety of initiatives concerning the social responsibility of science. John Ziman was a key figure in the formation of EASST and was its President from 1983 – 1986. He was an avid promoter of initiatives at the public interface of science and was an eloquent and witty commentator on the popular understanding of science. The Ziman award will be made for the most innovative cooperation in a venture to promote the public understanding of the social dimensions of science.

This could involve, for example, a forum or discussion community, or an interface with non academic users. Selection will be based on originality and influence.

Amsterdamska award

Olga Amsterdamska was lecturer in Science & Technology Studies at the University of Amsterdam for 25 years. She died in 2009 at the age of 56. Following a study of the development of linguistics she focused her personal work on epistemology in biomedicine. She was editor of Science, Technology & Human Values between 1994 and1998. During Olga’s editorship of the journal, the STS community benefitted from all of her core traits as an academic – her open mind and broad vision of the field and dedication to its development, her warm-heartedness and inclusiveness, and her incisive critical thinking and high standards of quality. These were also qualities that Olga brought with her to EASST and 4S meetings through the years and that helped make those meetings the community-building enterprises they have become. She was one of the editors of the third edition of the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies (2007).

The Amsterdamska award will be made for the most creative collaboration in an edited book in the broad field of science and technology studies.

Selection will be based on an anthology in the broad field of STS, a substantive contribution to the field; the quality of the editing, as reflected in the quality of the volume as a whole; interdisciplinarity, while not a requirement, will be valued; inclusiveness across career stages will also be valued.

Freeman award

Chris Freeman was Professor of Science Policy at the University of Sussex for over 20 years and also with the University of Limburg for many years. He died in 2010 at the age of 88. An economist by background, he produced many highly influential works addressing the dynamics of innovation and the Schumpeterian analysis of long waves of technological change. He also wrote on the social and political aspects of science. He was a founder of the major research centres SPRU and MERIT and was the founder and long standing editor of the journal Research Policy. An internationalist in outlook he was a key promoter of PAREX, a European collaboration in the history and social studies of science that was the direct forerunner of EASST. A modest yet inspiring figure he was renowned for his warm enthusiasm and supportiveness for all who shared a genuine interest in science, technology and society, whatever their background. He was deeply committed to social change for a more just and sustainable world.

The Freeman award will be made for a publication which is the most significant collective contribution to the interaction of science and technology studies with the study of innovation

Selection will be based on the successful development of social approaches to the dynamics of innovation, originality, and better understanding of the pursuit of innovation for societal and environmental goals.

The general conditions of the awards are as follows:

  • An award of €1000 will be made in each case
  • Activities or publications in the time period 1 January 2011 to 30 June 2012
  • Call for nominations – deadline 30 June 2012
  • Collaborations should have a distinctive European dimension
  • Self-nominations accepted
  • The award process will be managed by the EASST Council and will involve appropriate reviewers from outside the Council
  • Submissions for one award may be considered for another if deemed appropriate
  • Council members and reviewers are not eligible for the award during the time of their service

Please contact the EASST office for fuller details of the award scheme and how to make a nomination