EPP focuses on problems in science, technology and public policy in which the interaction of technology, humans and institutions play are of central importance. It addresses unstructured and complex problems that are best tackled by combining fundamental and applied knowledge from various traditional research fields using multidisciplinary research mechanisms and tools.
Strategy and aims - see +
The program focus on the idea of technical change and its implication for sustainable development under increasing uncertainty. Engineering and other scientific disciplines have contributed dramatically to technical change but the issue has been studied extensively mainly by economists. Thus, the study of technical change departing from an understanding of the technology is still largely missing, mainly under conditions of uncertainty. Engineers and scientists who develop new technologies understand specific technologies, but often have no interest in exploring their economic and social implications. This raises the need for them to understand technical change (and, therefore, innovation) departing from an understanding of specific technologies, and drawing from the conceptual framework of the interactive models of technical change and risk governance.
The challenge is to establish "technology and policy" as a field of study that focuses on complex engineering systems and products, viewing those systems and products in their broad social and industrial context. This requires faculty from engineering, management, and the social sciences committed to integrative, interdisciplinary engineering systems and policy programs.
Specific focal themes for advanced doctoral studies include:
The ultimate goal is to help training the future generations of science and technology policy leaders that will be able to add a social science dimension to the engineering and technological skills required to address unstructured and complex problems that can only be tackled by combining fundamental and applied knowledge from different traditional research fields using multidisciplinary research techniques and tools.
Strategy and aims (Portuguese Translations) - see +
O programa EPP foca problemas de cariz científico, tecnológico e de políticas públicas, nas quais a interação entre pessoas e instituições desempenha um papel central. O programa analisa problemas não estruturados e complexos através da combinação de conhecimento fundamental e aplicado a partir de várias áreas científicas usando métodos e instrumentos numa investigação marcadamente multidisciplinar.
Estratégia e objectivos
Propomos concentrarmo-nos na ideia de "mudança tecnológica" e suas implicações para o desenvolvimento sustentável em situações de crescente incerteza. A engenharia e outras disciplinas científicas têm contribuído significativamente para esse processo, mas engenheiros e cientistas que desenvolvem novas tecnologias nem sempre têm interesse ou oportunidade em explorar as suas implicações económicas e sociais, sobretudo em ambientes de grande incerteza e complexidade. Isto levanta a necessidade de aprofundar o conhecimento dos processos de "mudança tecnológica" (e, portanto, de inovação) partindo de uma compreensão de tecnologias específicas, tendo ainda por base um quadro conceptual dos modelos interativos de mudança tecnológica e de governança de riscos.
O desafio é estabelecer "tecnologia e políticas de desenvolvimento" (i.e., "policy") como um campo de estudo que se foca em sistemas complexos de engenharia, observando esses sistemas e produtos no seu amplo contexto social e industrial. O desafio passa por estabelecer um quadro de análise transdisciplinar, integrando engenharia, gestão e ciências sociais, de uma modo a facilitar a análise de incerteza e a governança de riscos.
Os temas focais específicos para estudos avançados de doutoramento incluem:
O objetivo final é ajudar a formar as futuras gerações de líderes em ciência, tecnologia e políticas de desenvolvimento, capazes de enfrentar problemas não estruturados e complexos. A questão central a ser analisada está associada à forma de criar, gerir e promover infraestruturas críticas, novos produtos, sistemas e políticas tecnológicas que promovam a sustentabilidade das sociedades, o que requererá a capacidade de lidar com complexidade e diversidade. Isto aponta para as seguintes questões centrais:
- Como criar infraestruturas e políticas para sistemas nas quais tecnologia, pessoas e instituições possam ter um papel central, que não possam ser apenas modeladas estatisticamente, mas que são - de forma imprevisível - orientadas por uma interação e conhecimento mútuo?
- Num contexto do desenvolvimento socioeconómico, no qual o conhecimento é a força motriz para o futuro sustentável, quais são os desafios que investigadores, engenheiros e políticos têm que lidar relativamente à inovação e à exploração e desenvolvimento de novos produtos e sistemas?
- No corrente contexto de crescente integração económica a nível mundial, como criar novas competências que promovam a capacidade de empreender a nível global e em redes integradas internacionalmente?
Para atingir estes objectivos, propomos um programa de investigação, abrangente e aprofundado, que permite promover uma aprendizagem de engenharia que incorpore novas competências associadas com a criação e gestão de desafios associados com sistemas complexos. Este programa irá facilitar competências transdisciplinares adquiridas em ambientes de colaboração internacional intensiva.
Approach - see +
The main long-term concern of developed countries is the construction of a sustainable future . Naturally, the idea of a sustainable future involves many dimensions, integrating economic, social and environmental concerns. A synthesis between these ample and often disparate concerns is not easy to accomplish, although it is consensual that any development in the next decades will involve digital infrastructures at large. We propose here to focus on the idea of science, technology and innovation and its implication for sustainable development, as the way to further evolve from the digital era.
The issue of technical change has been studied extensively in several disciplinary areas, from sociology and history, to economics. The study of innovation has, however, been particularly extensive and deep within economics. Naturally, the engineering and scientific disciplines have contributed dramatically to innovation, although typically without a concern for the economic and social impacts, but rather focusing on the technological merits of the inventions and discoveries.
In other words, the scientific and technological disciplines focuses, as they should, on developing specific inventions and innovations, and only afterwards to these disciplines show a concern with a possible economic impact. On the other hand, in study of innovation within economics the specificity of the technology is often ignored.
In fact, most economists lack the technical ability to understand the specificity of science, technology and innovation. Furthermore, in standard neoclassical economics innovation is seen in a linear way: it results from R&D efforts that are later translated into commercial products and processes. Still, within economics, there is a tradition of several approaches that do look at innovation in an interactive process. Both of these perspectives have been providing interesting and important insights.
However, what is still largely missing is the study of innovation departing from an understanding of technical change. The engineers and scientists who develop new technologies do, indeed, understand the specific technologies, but often have no interest in exploring their economic and social implications. Thus, as the figure below illustrates, this creates an approach to the understanding of science, technology and innovation that has yet to be extensively explored: departing from an understanding of specific technologies, and drawing from the conceptual framework of the interactive models of innovation.
Thus, we propose to build elite of graduate engineers that explore this still rather unexplored approach to the understanding of science, technology and innovation.
Figure. Interdependences between technology, institutions, innovation and processes of emergence for economic growth/qualitative and historical approaches through network analysis
The Challenge for a holistic approach to science, technology and policy
The proposed program will focus on system thinking and transdisciplinary research and education at operational and strategic levels, with emphasis on:
The figure below shows the way a holistic approach should be designed at a post-graduated level in order to accomplish with current need and challenges. The challenge is to establish engineering systems as a field of study that focuses on complex engineering systems and products, and that views these systems and products in their broad social and industrial context. This requires faculty from engineering, management, and the social sciences committed to integrative, interdisciplinary engineering systems and policy programs. We move, next, to a more precise definition of the themes suggested for analysis.
We adopt the view that the key to sustainable development is the promotion of economic growth along with the amelioration of social well-being. Improving the economy has a large overlap with the improvement of social well-being, but there is not a complete match. On the one hand, there are issues of well-being that are not directly related with the economy. On the other hand, there are those that, even though they participate in the economy (at very least as consumers), do not benefit from the minimum levels of well being. The figure below intends to illustrate the large, but not complete, overlap between economic aspects and social well-being.
The "inputs", or elements contributing, to economic growth and to improvements in social well-being are manifold and complex. However, it is possible to present the inputs to economic growth and social well-being as a set of three main groups. The first input is produced capital, which includes both physical capital and the ideas and disembodied knowledge used in production and distribution. The second input is natural capital, which provides the resources and absorbs and regenerates some of the "regrettable" of the economic and social processes. Finally, the third input includes human and social capabilities.
Given the broad conceptual framework presented thus far, it is clear that there are several issues of interest: the accumulation of the different types of capital, the drivers of this accumulation, the way in which the types of capital interact with each other, and, finally, how they contribute to social well-being and to economic growth. In the figure below we represent within ovals the specific themes that we suggest as the focus for the agenda identified in the new proposed set of post graduation activities. We also expand the "box" with the human and social capabilities to show that, within this box, there are interactions among human capital, social capital and the institutional arrangement that provide the context.
The central theme suggested is the process of technical change. Science, technology and innovation contribute directly to augmenting produced capital. However, beyond this aspect, we are equally interested in analysing the relationship between technical change and the environment (the environment is the umbrella concept under which natural capital can be understood) and also between processes of technical change and social exclusion. Finally, there are equally important links between the environment and social exclusion, and this is also a topic of interest that we suggest be included as a research theme. The look "inside the box" of human and social capabilities also shows that there is a need to consider, as a transversal research topic, the accumulation of human and social capabilities.
To conclude, we suggest specific focal themes for advanced doctoral studies, according to the main issues for research identified above.