Constructing life – Vriend, H. de
titel Constructing life
auteur Vriend, H. de
plaats van uitgave Den Haag
jaar van uitgave 2006
uitgever Rathenau Instituut
aantal pagina’s 88
reekstitel Working Document ; 97
korte beschrijving Early social reflections on the emerging field of synthetic biology.
project naam Synthetische Biologie
Who we are
The Rathenau Institute carries out research into the development of science and technology.
The institute has two key tasks:
1. Stimulating both public debate and the formation of political judgements. Technological and scientific developments sometimes give rise to more questions than answers. The Rathenau Institute highlights the significance of these developments for individuals and society. What are the possibilities, yet also the risks? In professional jargon this is called Technology Assessment (TA).
2. Describing the Dutch science system. The Rathenau Institute is investigating the dynamics of the scientific and technological process: how is the science system organised, how does it respond to scientific, societal and economic developments, and to what specific scientific developments does this lead? This task is called Science System Assessment (SciSA).
The Rathenau Institute is an independent body and was founded in 1986 by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, which also funds it. Administratively the institute falls under the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).
The Rathenau Institute addresses a broad field of interest, varying from biotechnology to spatial planning. The institute can devote resources to any technological or scientific development which could have consequence to Dutch society. These are not exclusively new technologies – such as nanotechnology, genomics or artificial intelligence – but also existing technological systems such as nuclear energy, organ donation or water management (see list of all projects).
Every two years the Rathenau Institute lays down the proposed project’s in a so-called work programme. To select the subjects the institute looks at the political agenda and questions put forward by society (for more information see working methods). The work programme is offered for review to the Minister of Education who sends it with a reaction to the Dutch Lower House. The work programme is published widely, including notification in the Government Gazette. The institute renders an account of work it undertakes in its annual reports.