NIAS-DST Training Programme for Women Scientists on Social Responsibility of Scientists: Pathways and Outcomes
February 10 – 14, 2020
Venue: National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru, India
Last date for receiving nominations is 20th January 2020
Much as scientists may like to concentrate on pure science or on the development of specific technologies, their actions influence, and are influenced by, the society in which they operate. The results of their actions in the progress of science and technology have a profound impact on society. While much of this effect is widely believed to be positive, there is always the possibility of adverse consequences. Some of these adverse consequences may be unintended, as in the case of the environmental damage caused by the Green Revolution, but others, such as the results of the development of nuclear weapons, may be entirely intentional. What is more, scientists are themselves human beings with their own social and economic demands. Some of these demands may relate closely to their workplace, such as the status a society provides scientists or their place in the economic hierarchy. Others may be related more to their ability to deal with concerns outside the workplace, such as the needs of their families or larger social groups. Each of these dimensions is itself mediated through gender. This is not just a matter of women scientists having to come to terms with the larger gender inequalities in society. It is also quite possible that they may have a perspective that is different from that of their male counterparts.
This course is designed to help women scientists step back from the everyday life of science and technology and explore the social in what they do as well as in conditions around them. The resultant introspection on their role in science can be expected to enhance their sense of social responsibility. To this end, the course provides not just exposure to major thinkers but also opportunities for each of the participants to articulate their own perspectives on specific issues that will be given to them. While the mornings consist of lectures from experts, the afternoons will be spent on presentations by individual participating scientists where they will be encouraged to use their personal experience to address a specific previously chosen aspect of the relationship between science and society.
To help generate an all-round learning experience without losing focus, each day of the course will concentrate on a specific aspect of the relationship between science and society. The five days of the course will thus focus on the following five themes:
- Is there anything science should not do?
- What are the demands of science from society?
- What are the societal demands on science?
- Are there any social inclinations in the practice of science in India?
- Should we always trust science?
For over a decade, NIAS has been drawing attention to the need to build professional development models and institute formal mechanisms to ensure the enhancement of scientific capabilities of women scientists. The institution is fully committed to creating opportunities for interaction, collaboration and capacity enhancement for women scientists through a range of mechanisms and the training programme under the women component offers such a platform.
For the training programme the Institute seeks applications from Mid-level women scientists with experience in the range of 9 to 21 years from diverse scientific institutions and universities. The programme will be organized around five themes and will involve lecture demonstrations, audiovisual contents, and case studies followed by individual presentations by the participating scientists. NIAS firmly believes that for scientists to recognise their social responsibility we need to activate the commitment and networks of the best of women scientists in the country.
As a premier institution in the country engaged in research and development in science, humanities and social sciences, NIAS is an excellent place to conduct a training programme on the social responsibility of scientists. Building on its strength in various disciplines and advocacy issues, NIAS offers a unique multidisciplinary perspective that lends itself well to recognizing the important role scientists have in building a peaceful and flourishing society. NIAS is also fully committed to supporting women scientists and scholars in their professional domains. Situated in the beautiful green campus of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), NIAS offers excellent library resources and access to scholars working on issues of contemporary relevance. Taken as a whole, the training course at NIAS is designed and conducted in a way that leaves an imprint on the professional lives of women scientists.