2018 Annual S.NET Meeting – abstracts and revised conference schedule available

The 10th annual S.NET meeting took place June 25-27, 2018 at the Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Maastricht University, The Netherlands. The theme is Anticipatory Technologies: Data and Disorientation.

The conference is now over, but the information about it can still be found below. For a few short videos about the conference, see here.


Conference schedule and Abstracts

The final version of the conference programme (updated Sunday 24 June) is now available for download.

The complete set of abstracts for the conference is also available for download.



Registration is now open – click here.

  • The regular fee is €160, after 11 June €210
  • Fee for (PhD) students: €80, after 11 June €105
  • Conference Dinner on Tuesday 26 June: €60 (optional)



S.NET invites contributions to the tenth annual meeting of The Society for the Study of New and Emerging Technologies (S.NET), to be held at Maastricht University, the Netherlands, on June 25 – 27, 2018. The three-day conference will assemble scholars, practitioners and policy makers from around the world interested in the development and implications of emerging technologies.


About S.NET

S.NET is an international association that promotes intellectual exchange and critical inquiry about the advancement of new and emerging technologies in society. The aim of the association is to advance critical reflection from various perspectives on developments in a broad range of new and emerging fields, including, but not limited to, nanoscale science and engineering, biotechnology, synthetic biology, cognitive science, ICT and Big Data, and geo-engineering. Current S.NET board members are: Michael Bennett (chair), Marianne Boenink, Ana Delgado, Clare Shelley-Egan, Chris Toumey, Poonam Pandey, Christopher Coenen, Colin Milburn, Kornelia Konrad, Nora Vaage, Maria Belen Albornoz, and Ryan LaBar.


Conference Theme: Anticipatory technologies – data and disorientation

Any effort on new and emerging technologies unavoidably deals with the non-existing and the speculative. The future is permanently mobilized to promote decisions and policies regarding the science, technology and society nexus. Anticipatory technologies like predictive policing and preventive medicine promise to give us better epistemic access and practical control over the future. The basic irony, however, is that anticipatory technologies do not only increase data but also disorientation. Is the disorientation vis-á-vis the future in spite of the astonishing growth of data, or can it be a result of that growth? Does the growing control over future events in terms of risk make people more acutely aware of what they don’t control? Contributions are invited that explore existing ways in which the future is mobilized, technologically mediated, and economically exploited; that map the manifold ways it is contested both in discourse and in action; and that reflect on the extent to which new technologies ironically undermine our faith in the future.


Program outline

Mon 25 11.00 – 12.30 Registration and lunch Grote Gracht 90-92
12.30 – 14.00 Welcome and keynote Marjolein van Asselt
14.30 – 16.00 Parallel Session 1
16.30 – 18.00 Parallel Session 2
18.00 -20.00 Drinks
Tue 26 9.00 – 10.30 Keynote Cyrus Mody
11.00 – 12.30 (or 13.00) Parallel Session 3 (longer for panels)
12.30 – 14.00 Lunch
14.30 – 16.00 Parallel Session 4
16.30 – 18.00 Parallel Session 5
18.00 – 19.00 Walking tour
19.00 – 22.00 Dinner
Wed 27 9.00 – 10.30 Parallel Session 6
11.00 – 12.30 Parallel Session 7
12.30 – 13.00 Lunch
13.00 – 15.00 Keynote Michel Dumontier + discussants; Farewell


Key note speakers

Prof Cyrus Mody
is an historian of recent science and technology and has published on the history of nanotechnology and micro-electronics.  He studies the commercialization of academic research, countercultural science and technology, and the longue durée of responsible research and innovation. He worked at Rice University, Texas, the NSF Center for Nanotechnology in Society and now has a chair at Maastricht University.

Prof Marjolein van Asselt
has a strong profile on governance, risk and uncertainty in both academic and policy circles. Currently she is member of the Dutch Safety Board and was a member of the Scientific Council for Government Policy for many years. She has a Governance chair at Maastricht University.


Prof Michel Dumontier is a Distinguished Professor of Data Science at Maastricht University. His research focuses on the development of computational methods for scalable integration and reproducible analysis of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) data across scales – from molecules, tissues, organs, individuals, populations to the environment. Dr. Dumontier  leads a new inter-faculty Institute for Data Science at Maastricht University.



Themes, topics and conference strands for the 10th Annual Meeting

S.NET encompasses communities, perspectives, and methodologies from across the social sciences, humanities and natural sciences, and welcomes contributions from technology developers and other practitioners. The program committee invites contributions from the full breadth of disciplines, methodologies, and perspectives, as well as from applied, participatory, and practical approaches to studying these emerging fields. Regionally or internationally comparative perspectives are especially welcome. Possible themes and topics have been organized into one overarching conference theme and six ‘strands’. While applicants are asked to indicate the strand relevant to the topic of their paper, submissions dealing with themes or topics outside the present strands are also welcome.

The deadline for abstract submissions was March 2, 2018.

  1. R&D practices and the dynamics of new and emerging sciences and technologies

Research networks & collaborations, ways of organizing research & development, emerging research fields, practices of ‘doing’ new and emerging fields of science and technology, including historical and philosophical studies of these practices.

  1. Innovation and the use of new and emerging sciences and technologies

Innovation networks and systems, commercialization, implications for industry structures, translation from lab to practice, application and use of products and other innovations, critical analyses of growth and consumption, including economic, social and cultural approaches of innovation processes.

  1. Governance of newly emerging sciences and technologies

Regulations, anticipatory governance practices, risk assessment, risk concerns, (constructive) TA, forms of public participation and engagement, including critical evaluation of forms of governance.

  1. Visions and cultural imaginaries of newly emerging sciences and technologies

Promises, expectations, visions, science fiction, imagination, socio – technical change, moral change, role of media, including assessments of such visions and analyses of their role in innovation processes.

  1. Publics and their relations to newly emerging science s and technologies

Science communication, risk communication, public engagement, participation and discourses on NEST, science museums, informal science learning initiatives, including critical evaluation of such initiatives and the notion of ‘publics’.

  1. Politics and ethics of new and emerging sciences and technologies

Responsible innovation, (in)equality, equity, development, global and social distribution of benefits and risks, sustainability, ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ impacts of emerging technologies, including theoretical perspectives on NEST and global developments.


The local organizing committee

Tsjalling Swierstra, Harro van Lente, Nora Vaage, Conor Douglas, Danielle Shanley, Darian Meacham, Cindy van Montfoort, Jacqueline Graff.



Maastricht is an ancient Roman city of some 120.000 inhabitants in the south of The Netherlands and has a beautiful medieval inner-city. Generally known as the venue of the Treaty of Maastricht, it has a distinctly international orientation. Maastricht can easily be reached by plane, train and car. Maastricht University is internationally oriented; its students come from all over the world. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS) is located in the centre of Maastricht.



Maastricht has its own airport, named Maastricht-Aachen Airport but offers mainly flights to tourist destinations in Southern Europe. More useful are the following international airports:

  • Schiphol Amsterdam airport (with good train connection, leaving from arrival terminal 2,5 hrs)
  • Eindhoven Airport (with bus and good train connection 1,5 hrs)
  • Brussels international airport Zaventem (with a bit more complicated train connection 2,5 hrs)
  • Dusseldorf international airport (with a bit more complicated train connection 2,5 hrs)

Maastricht is accessible by train as well. It has a central station with connections to Amsterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven and Liège. Travellers from Germany can reach Maastricht by train via Heerlen and Venlo You can also travel with the Thalys and/or Eurostar from London, Paris and Brussels to Maastricht via Liège. Maastricht may also be reached by car. The city has good connections with several highways from Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg, Paris, Aachen and Cologne.



We advise participants to book their accommodation as soon as possible.

Close to our faculty in the centre of Maastricht you will find various hotels. The price range is between €80-120. A cheaper option for hosting participants is hostel Stayokay Maastricht (5 minutes walking city center), the cheapest rate for a room is €31,25.

You can book your hotel via the MECC Hotel Service. MECC Hotel Service is the official housing partner of the organising committee of S.NET Meeting. See this document for contact information about this service, or go directly to their booking website to book your room.



Image: Geert Budenaerts, Wikimedia