About The Science and Democracy Network

The Science and Democracy Network (SDN) was established in 2002 to enhance the quality and significance of scholarship in science and technology studies (STS) by training young professionals and by forging links between STS and related fields of study and practice, such as anthropology, political science, international relations, and law.

SDN is governed by an international Governing Council whose current members are:

Past members include:

Through an annual meeting and other activities, the Science and Democracy Network seeks to:

  • support an international network of scholars and practitioners interested in the democratic governance of science and technology;
  • promote scholarly exploration of the democratic design, steering, conduct, and uses of science and technology;
  • improve the quality, visibility, and dissemination of the research of young scholars;
  • connect the normative and political analysis of science and technology to relevant work in adjacent disciplines, such as law, bioethics, and political science; and,
  • communicate perspectives from STS to policy actors and contribute to social problem-solving.

The SDN Annual Meeting on the theme of Science and Democracy is usually held in the United States at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, MA; meetings have also been held in Berlin (2002) and Cambridge, UK (2007). The meetings provide a forum for presenting sophisticated empirical research on important topics in the contemporary politics of science and technology. These events train young professionals, foster dialogue among scholars and policy practitioners from the US, Europe, Asia, and elsewhere, and build an improved knowledge base for public policy by highlighting issues of importance to the United States and the global community.

The annual meetings focus on three core themes:

  • institutions;
  • citizenship and participation; and
  • representation and communication.

The meetings also include targeted topical lectures and panels on current issues of concern to SDN researchers.

Papers for each meeting are selected through solicitation across the SDN membership, as well as from scholars recommended by members. Selection criteria include relevance to major research themes in STS as well as intellectual development within and beyond the field. Young scholars participating in the workshops benefit from the critical review of their work on the politics of science and technology, in-depth discussion of methodological and theoretical issues in science and democracy research, significant networking opportunities with other participants, and opportunities to engage with senior scholars, scientists, and policy practitioners.

The SDN has been supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (Award No. SES-0350796; awarded February 23, 2004, concluded December 31, 2005). The final report submitted to the NSF in 2005 is available on the Reports page.

Members’ Comments

“SDN has both broadened and focused my ability to view work by junior scholars in the field and has resulted in my issuing invitations to some to visit my institution, my increased interest in their careers, and my looking toward SDN for potential candidates for academic job openings at my institution.”


“I have benefitted immensely from the depth and richness of discussions at SDN meetings and from relationships I have made and cultivated through SDN. It’s a unique, diverse and supportive community.”


“SDN is a very valuable network to foster exchange and research on the entanglements of science and democracy. It is a great project and should be continued. Thank you for organizing it, it is greatly appreciated!”


“I have invited SDN members to take part in conference panels or workshops, and vice versa. I have collaborated with SDN members on grant proposals (w/ and w/out success), and have co-authored or co-edited papers with SDN members (completed and ongoing). SDN has helped me find academic employment at a time of need.”


“My experience at the SDN meetings is always intellectually rewarding and I follow the latest writings of the members, and find ways to bring their insights into my work.”

Contact SDN

The primary administrative and logistical contact for this site is Shana Ashar. The primary technical contact is Alex Wellerstein. For other questions, contact Sheila Jasanoff.

About this Website

This site is administered by Gili Vidan, adapted from a site originally designed and coded by Alex Wellerstein. It uses the Vantage theme by SiteOrigin. The site is hosted by the Program on Science, Technology and Society at the Harvard Kennedy School.