Summer School “Disentangling Futures: Promises, Scenarios, Experiments”

UNIL principal investigator

Prof. Francesco Panese, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences

UNIPD principal investigator

Prof. Federico Neresini, FISPPA


Graduate Summer/ Winter program


In the last decade, Science and Technology Studies (STS) have devoted an increasing attention on the ways in which anticipatory expectations and “forward looking statements” concerning scientific and technological progress can orient real time technoscientific innovation providing cognitive and social resources to relevant stakeholders, such as policymakers, investors and directors of research laboratories.

The five-days Summer School titled “Disentangling Futures: Promises, Scenarios, Experiments” is intended to train doctoral students, post-doc and early-career researchers in investigating and understanding in which ways and under which conditions anticipatory expectations, promises and socio-technical visions and imaginaries, by means of cultural metaphors, narrative scripts or forecasting policies are produced and enacted in the public sphere as a resource for driving technoscientific innovation.


Aimed at about 20 international doctoral students, post-doc and early-career researchers in social science and humanities, as well as at those researchers working in STEM fields interested in considering epistemological, ethical and social issues related to the processes of science, technology, and innovation, the five-days Summer School offers an immersive 30 hours course that covers the current most pressing issues on science and technology, with a special attention to the role played by social and technoscientific and anticipatory expectations, “forward looking statements” and future-oriented scenarios in co-defining expert knowledge production and technological innovation.

Through a mix of lectures, group workshops, flipped classroom and individual mentoring programme, the Summer School teaching staff –with a transdisciplinary background in STS, sociology, cultural studies and philosophy of science– will illustrate core concepts and methodologies with examples from their own research concerning the following issues:

  • Science-society interface approaches, from technoscientific expectations to sociotechnical imaginaries and science fiction representations;
  • The role of future scenarios in shaping policies and processes of innovation;
  • Investigating technoscientific expectations and promises in newspapers and online media;
  • The relationship between imaginaries and fictional representations in shaping technoscience.
  • How to get inspiration from art and exhibitions to enhance the study of innovation in the future.

The Summer School will bring together a group of distinguished STS scholars working across Europe, international PhD students and early career researchers. The programme and location of the Summer School are intended to foster active networking and fruitful follow-up among participants and therefore enhancing cross-national community building.

Potential for follow-up activities

In designing the Summer School the following follow-up activities between Padova Science Technology and Innovation Studies research unit (Pa.S.T.I.S., FISPPA Department, University of Padova) and the STS Lab (Institut des sciences sociales, University of Lausanne) are envisaged:

  • establishment of regular PhD training activities;
  • visiting exchanges for PhD students;
  • PhD formal co-tutorships;
  • joint seminars for Ph.D. students of both universities;
  • the co-organization of international Summer Schools for PhD students and early career researchers at the University of Lausanne in 2023.



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