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Expertise, Regulatory Science and the Evaluation of Technology and Risk: Introduction to the Special Issue


Regulating technologies, innovations and risks is an activity that, as much as scientific research needs proofs and evidence. It is the site of development of a distinct kind of science, regulatory science. This special issue addresses the question of the standards of knowledge governing how we test, assess and monitor technologies and their effects. This topic is relevant and timely in the light of problematics of regulation of innovation, regulatory failure and capture. Given the enormous decisions and stakes regulatory science commends, it becomes crucial to ask where its standards come from and gain credibility, but also what valuations of technology and appreciations of their risks or benefits do they embed, and who controls them? This paper introduces the four contributions comprising the special issue, and outlines a perspective from which to question the construction of regulatory science or, in the terminology adopted here, the authorization and standardization of regulatory knowledge, particularly the role of networks of scientific experts therein.

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  1. 1.

    I thank the participants in the workshop “Regulatory agencies as sites of regulatory knowledge” I organized in 2012 in Paris. I acknowledge the support of the Institut Francilien Recherche Innnovation Société (IFRIS) for funding the workshop and overall support. I benefited from the perceptive comments of Arthur Daemmrich, François Dedieu, Alex Faulkner, Pierre-Benoit Joly, Ashveen Peerbaye, Lee Vinsel and two anonymous reviewers to improve previous versions of this text. The usual disclaimer applies.


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Demortain, D. Expertise, Regulatory Science and the Evaluation of Technology and Risk: Introduction to the Special Issue. Minerva 55, 139–159 (2017).

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  • Regulatory science
  • Regulatory knowledge
  • Expertise
  • Technology
  • Risk
  • Innovation