D-STIR - We are honoured to welcome Associate Professor at Arizona State University Erik Fisher


Associate Professor at Arizona State University Erik Fisher will join D-STIR Project as an external expert. Find bellow interesting interview with the professor about STIR method, expectations for Eastern European region and interesting thoughts about past experiences from STIR implementation in developed countries.

As a professor from Arizona State University - what is your personal motivation for taking part in a Danube Transnational Project?

As a professor from Arizona State University, I am very excited to participate in the Danube Transnational Project. Science and innovation play central roles in national and regional economies, and this project of course recognizes this. But it also recognizes that we need more effective tools for anticipating and responding to both economic and non-economic dimensions of science and innovation in order to ensure progress and social well being. I look forward to partnering with the project members as we work to build capacities for promoting innovation in socially responsible ways.

What was your motivation when first started developing STIR methods?

My original motivation for developing the methods used in the STIR process was to understand whether it was possible and useful to integrate societal considerations into science and engineering. The US Congress had mandated this type of integration for the emerging field nanotechnology in 2003, and many people were skeptical about whether it could be done. Even if it could be done, would it prove to be useful or would it only amount to an unwelcome burden for scientific researchers? These were the kinds of questions I set out to answer using an interdisciplinary approach.

What are the most important STIR results from the past?

Based on an initial pilot study in a mechanical engineering lab in 2006 and about three-dozen additional studies in labs across the world between 2009 and the present, we have learned that the STIR approach is able to enhance creativity in research that increases alignment between social and scientific considerations. This enhancement, however, usually takes several weeks to occur and takes place in discrete steps. Collaborators from the social and natural sciences first describe the laboratory processes and goals, which is the first step to expanding decision options. We have documented improved decision outcomes that include changes in experimental techniques, worker safety practices, and more productive research directions, among other things.

You have just carried out STIR method in the developed countries, what are your expectations for Eastern European Countries regarding the implementation of STIR methods?

I believe that scientists and engineers working in Eastern European settings have a unique role to play not only as researchers but also as knowledge experts who are helping to shape the future of their rapidly changing societies. I am very much looking forward to learning from them about how they related their work to broader social, economic and cultural goals and questions that are normally not considered in the laboratory setting. I expect that the STIR approach will change and adapt in mutually beneficial ways.

What is your message to the D-STIR community?

This is an exciting and very timely project and I am honored to be part of it. The experiment that you are undertaking will take place at a larger scale than we have seen before. It therefore has the potential not only to stimulate greater socio-technical integration inside individual laboratories, but also to do so across larger regional and organizational settings. In the process, I believe you are creating a unique community that will be as well equipped as any to take an active role in imagining and shaping future pathways of science and innovation in light of social needs, goals and values - something that expert communities around the world are still only beginning to understand how to do.


Programme co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)