INGENIO: STS perspectives in the analysis of science and innovation policies

by INGENIO (CSIC-UPV) Valencia, Spain.

INGENIO (CSIC-UPV) is a joint research centre of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV). INGENIO was founded in November 1999, with an initial emphasis on the management of technology and the economics of innovation, applied particularly to industrial sectors in the region of Valencia. However, the centre has expanded and evolved significantly since those formative years and now conducts diverse types of research on the complex relationships between science, technology, innovation and society. INGENIO aims to undertake high quality and socially relevant research that advances knowledge and contributes to addressing societal challenges.

INGENIO is situated in the Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación (CPI) on the main campus of the UPV. As a joint centre, INGENIO includes researchers from both its partner organisations. CSIC employs ten permanent full-time researchers in INGENIO, while the many INGENIO’s UPV faculty staff also teach undergraduate and graduate courses. UPV staff also plays the leading role in managing the INGENIO Master’s degree in the Management of Science and Innovation. A permanent team of six technicians and administrators provide administrative, managerial and technical support. 

In addition to these permanent staff, there is a large contingent of project-based contract researchers and doctoral students. Many of these doctoral students are drawn from a range of different Latin American countries and, in general, INGENIO is a relatively international centre when compared to typical Spanish institutions. Currently, INGENIO has around 60 members in total, of which 21 are PhD students.

The work of INGENIO is organised under five main research lines. While not an STS research group per se, INGENIO can be characterised as a centre that includes some STS trained researchers, is strongly STS aware, and is a consistent user of STS scholarship in its diverse lines of work. INGENIO researchers are frequent participants in 4S/EASST conferences and have published in journals like Social Studies of Science, and Science Technology and Human Values.

Figure 1. INGENIO research lines

Several current projects in INGENIO use STS theories and methods, typically blending insights about socio-materiality, technical devices, and performative effects with the politics, sociology, management, ecology and economics of research, innovation and socio-technical change. In the area of monitoring and evaluation of R&I, current projects draw on insights from STS in working to design innovative qualitative approaches to the assessment of project and policy interventions. We are working to develop monitoring approaches that support learning and stakeholder community building in R&I interventions and policy. This is influenced significantly by the canonical work of Michel Callon and colleagues (2009) regarding the contributions of societal actors to socio-technical transformations.

Multi-stakeholder governance is a key element in STS approaches to the analysis of sustainability and socio-technical transitions, and this underpins a range of studies at INGENIO. For example, the centre has participated in the facilitation of multi-stakeholder groups at the city level, in the Energy Transition Group of the Valencia 2030 Strategy, at the metropolitan area level in the Consell de l’Horta, and at the regional authority level, in the Mirror Group of the Climate Mission. INGENIO researchers are analyzing urban agriculture processes from the perspective of Just Transitions and Urban Agroecology, exploring the cases of urban farming in the city of Valencia and the city of Cali, Columbia. Other ongoing work focuses on the role of citizen science and open-source technologies in contributing to the conservation and recovery of local and traditional agricultural knowledge in Spain by involving diverse actors in the design and development of agro-ecological transitions.

Another current project analyzes the processes of creating medical image databases (or databasing) for the development of algorithms for medical diagnostics. The project examines databasing practices and investigates their influence on the control of data used in diagnostics. STS’ conception of techno-economic networks and human skills (Callon 2002) has inspired work on distributed human capital dependent on complementary knowledge embedded in technologies, instruments, texts and other human skills. These conceptions underlie past and ongoing work at INGENIO on scientific mobility and research careers.

Several recently completed PhD theses also drew on STS insights in their approach, including studies of data sharing practices in health research, the communication of scientific information via Twitter, and the effects of research evaluation systems on disciplinary epistemic practices. A current PhD project draws on the work of Hilgartner (2017) in focusing on innovation in medical imaging biomarkers.

INGENIO is involved in collaborations with other organisations in a range of different formats. INGENIO is a consortium member in the European Commision funded RISIS2 project that is building an online knowledge base for research and innovation policy studies, combining a range of different datasets. It is also a network partner in the OSIRIS project based at the University of Oslo and funded by the Research Council of Norway. This project studies the generation of research impact as a process, drawing on STS understandings of materiality, distributed agency and boundary work. INGENIO is also a partner in the H2020 project SUPER MoRRI, dedicated to building a monitoring framework for responsible research and innovation. This project draws on STS insights about performativity in seeking to take a responsible approach to the development and use of indicators. 

INGENIO is a member of the EU-SPRI forum on research and innovation policy studies and collaborates strongly with other member organisations, including CWTS at Leiden University, CFA at Aarhus University, Fraunhofer ISI, and TIK at University of Oslo. The Agency for Healthcare Quality and Evaluation of Catalonia (AQuAS) is also currently an associated unit with INGENIO. INGENIO intends to continue to work across disciplines with this growing network of collaborators, pursuing a medium-term objective to strengthen our understanding of, and support for, the inclusion of societal actors and values in science, technology and innovation.

For more information on INGENIO and people involved, please visit the website:



Callon, M. (2002) From science as an economic activity to socioeconomics of scientific research: the dynamics of emergent and consolidated Technoeconomic networks. In: Mirowski P, Sent EM (eds) Science bought and sold. Essays in the economics of science. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, pp 227–317.

Callon, M., P. Lascoumes & Y. Barthe (2009) Acting in and Uncertain World: An Essay on Technical Democracy. MIT Press, Cambridge MASS.

Hilgartner, S. (2017) Reordering Life: Knowledge and Control in the Genomics Revolution. MIT Press, Cambridge MASS.

Molas-Gallart, J., A. Boni, S. Giachi & J. Schot (2021) A formative approach to the evaluation of Transformative Innovation Policies, Research Evaluation, rvab016,