Workshop: Envisioning the Future · Scenarios as Theoretical Tools

 Workshop: Envisioning the Future · Scenarios as Theoretical Tools

Scenarios of new emerging technologies describe social, political, and economic change due to the application of new developments. They play an integral part in discussions on how to handle, control, or regulate these developments. They are not only important for technology assessment institutions but also for the public to bring possible outcomes of scientific developments to mind and to outline in which way these developments can affect our daily lives.

In this workshop, we are interested, on the one hand, in the nature of techno-scientific scenarios and the role they play as visions of the future. On the other hand, we want to ask if the design of scenarios should be guided by certain moral constraints.

Are scenarios more than mere descriptive estimations of possible outcomes? Do they have an inherently normative element in advising us of what futures states of affairs we might want to bring about and what pitfalls we want to avoid? And how is this action-guiding function of scenarios justified?



- Angela Kallhoff    (University of Vienna)

- Petra Schaper-Rinkel (AIT Vienna)

- Arie Rip (University of Twente)

- Alexandra Hausstein (KIT Karlsruhe)

- Elias Moser (University of Vienna)

- Christopher Coenen (KIT Karlsruhe)



Previous Events

Standardization in the Nano-Field: For the Common Good?

May 19, 2017

Interdisciplinary Workshop at the University of Vienna


New materials and products, as for instance products containing manufactured nano-materials, do not enter the market without processes of standardization. Standardization procedures are set up to guarantee the safety and quality of new products, to facilitate innovation and trade, and to enable efficiency and compatibility. They likewise contribute to shaping research, production, and the release of materials into the environment in a significant way. This workshop seeks to explore the roles of and the interests behind standardization in the nano-field. In particular, we will discuss in how far and in which ways standardization may contribute to the common good. This includes a discussion of the goals and mechanisms of standardization, of standards as either facilitating or restricting tools, and of their diversity enhancing or diversity-reducing effects. The workshop provides an interdisciplinary setting in which scholars from economics, ethics, law, and social and political sciences will investigate these issues.

The workshop is organized by Angela Kallhoff and Claudia Schwarz-Plaschg (Research Platform Nano-Norms-Nature, University of Vienna) in collaboration with Iris Eisenberger (Institute of Law, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna).


Good Nano – Bad Nano: Who Decides? An interdisciplinary conference (Dec. 1-2, 2016, University of Vienna):  This two-day conference explored the role of evaluative processes and normative attributions in debates about nano in an interdisciplinary dialogue. Organisation by Angela Kallhoff and Claudia Schwarz-Plaschg in collaboration with Iris Eisenberger and Andreas Huber (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna).


Making Nano "Safer by Design" An interdisciplinary workshop (May 18, 2016. University of Vienna). Organisation by Angela Kallhoff and Claudia Schwarz-Plaschg in collaboration with Iris Eisenberger. The workshop explored the concept of "safer by design" in an interdisciplinary dialogue. Flyer Abstracts


ICEENN 2015 (September 6-10, 2015. Vienna, Austria). 10th International Conference on the Environmental Effects of Nanoparticles & Nanomaterials (ICEENN) organized by the Department of Environmental Geosciences. Nano-Norms-Nature co-organises Session E: Social, ethical, and regulatory aspects. 

  • Oral presentation. I. Eisenberger & A. Kallhoff: "The ethics of nano-regulation. Proposals for curing some shortfalls in EU law at the nano-nature interface"
  • Poster presentation: A. Praetorius et al.: "Detection of engineered cerium oxide nanoparticles in soil"