BioGovernance Commons Concluding Forums

After 12 months and as the world is resuming normality, I’d like to think that ‘Season 1’ of our BioGovernance Commons initiative is coming to an end (more information about this initiative see our recent article in Issues in Science and Technology). That is, rather than online monthly meetings, we can continue the dialogue with hybrid in-person and online exchanges – as before the pandemic. It has been a real privilege to work with Kathleen, Sonia, Ruipeng and so many other brilliant people over the past year. To conclude ‘Season 1’, we are having two concluding online forums. Details are below.

Forum 1: How to Build Better Global Governance of Science: A US-China Dialogue

Beijing Time: 8:00-11:00 August 25, 2022; US Eastern Standard Time: 20:00-23:00 August 24, 2022

Chaired by Kathleen M. Vogel (Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University.)

US Eastern Standard TimeSpeakers
20:00 –Kathleen Vogel: Chair’s Welcome remarks
20:05 –Xian-En Zhang, Professor in Faculty of Synthetic Biology, Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
20:16 –Shoukhrat Mitalipov, Professor and Director of the Center for Embryonic and Gene Therapy at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon
20:27 –Leifan Wang, Associate Professor at Tianjin University School of Law and researcher at Tianjin University Center for Biosafety Research and Strategy.
20:38 –Nancy Connell, Senior Scientist at the US-National Academies in Washington DC and Professor Emerita at Rutgers University.
20:50 –Hepeng Jia, Professor of Science Communication, Soochow University, Suzhou, China.
21:01 –Aaron Mertz, Founding Director of the Aspen Institute Science & Society Program
21:15 –Yuhan Bao, Human Practices Program Officer, iGEM Foundation
21:26 –Chunliang Fan, Professor of School of Public Policy and Management, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences.
21:37 –Ben Hurlbut, Associate Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University.
21:48 –Guangxi He, Director of the Institute of International Relations on Science and Technology, China Academy of Science and Technology Development Strategy.
22:00 –Reflections on the BioGovernance Commons initiative from co-organizers Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley (Associate Professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University) and Ruipeng Lei (Executive Director of the Centre for Bioethics, School of Philosophy, Huazhong University of Science and Technology)
22:15 – 23:00Group discussion

Forum 2: How to Make the “China Story” of Science and Innovation More Informative: An EU-China Dialogue

Beijing Time: 15:00-18:00 September 6, 2022; British Summer Time: 8:00-11:00 September 6, 2022; Central European Summer Time: 9:00-12:00 September 6, 2022

Chaired by Joy Y Zhang (Founding Director, Centre for Global Science and Epistemic Justice, University of Kent)

The world would undoubtedly benefit from a better understanding of China’s contemporary scene on research and innovation. Both at the social and political levels, China, too, has increasingly recognised the importance of ‘effectively communicating the China story’ (jianghao zhongguo gushi). However, circulating more ‘stories’ does not necessarily make the audience better informed. To differentiate and uphold meaningful communication from propaganda requires not only engagement skills, but also cultural-political knowledge and experience. At times, a mismatch between the narrative to be conveyed and basic facts to be clarified could lead to further frustration and distrust from both sides. In other words, while Chinese stakeholders may have stories to tell, these narratives may not always address the knowledge gap that non-Chinese audience want or need to know.

In this forum, we bring together a group of early- and mid-career academics in China who have been contributing to the ‘BioGovernance Commons’ initiative over the past year and a group of leading European academics who have promoted meaningful scientific and regulatory dialogues with China. In particular, we ask the China-based participants to share their personal insights on the opportunities and challenges in articulating the ‘China stories’ of the scientific research they are most familiar with. For example, what are the China stories that they feel are under-represented or misconstrued? What is needed to overcome such under-representation? We ask the non-China-based participants to share their views on what is needed for the ‘China story’ of science and technology to be more informative to a global audience. For example, what are the gaps of knowledge that are often ignored? What are the communicative channels that could be further explored? Who could be new science diplomats that may bridge cultural and political divides?

To make the China story of science and innovation more informative is to help promote global understanding of China. We emphasise that ‘understanding’ does not necessarily lead to agreement, but it is a precondition for constructive and accountable collaboration.

British Standard TimeSpeakers
8:00 –Joy Y. Zhang: Chair WelcomeOpening remark – Ting Wang, Director of the China Research Institute for Science Popularization,Executive Vice President of the China Science Writers Association
8:15 –Anna L. Ahlers, Head of the Lise Meitner Research Group “China in the Global System of Science” at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
8:26 –Brian Salter, Professor of Politics and Director of the Global Biopolitics Research Centre, Department of Political Economy, King’s College London
8:37 –Haidan Chen, Associate Professor, Department of Medical Ethics and Law, Peking University
8:48 –Li Du, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Macau
9:00 –Mark Smales, Professor of Industrial Biotechnology, University of Kent
9:11 –Jesus Gamiz, Communications Director at the Spain China Council Foundation
9:22 –Zhimin Zhang, Deputy Director of Popular Science Writing Research Division of China Research Institute for Science Popularization, Deputy Secretary General of China Science Writers Association
9:33 –Dapeng Wang, Associate Professor of the China Research Institute for Science Popularization,
9:45 –Arron van Rompaey, Council Member and Project Coordinator for the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding 
9:57 –Lu Gao, Associate Professor of Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences
10:08 –James Keeley, China analyst and project manager specialising in agricultural technology and innovation
10:19 –Di Zhang, Associate Professor of Bioethics, Chinese Academy of Medical Science & Peking Union Medical College
10:30-11:00Group Discussion

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