Anticipation – Serendipity – Control

Exploring Opportunities for Responsible Practice under Conditions of Uncertainty

Workshop for Life Scientists

11 May 2017, 09:00 - 13:00, Alte Kapelle / AAKH


Hardly anyone would deny that research is an uncertain business. Particularly in the field of the life sciences, many would argue that – besides skill, intellect and smart research strategy – it requires a good deal of luck to be successful and truly innovative. At the same time, there increasingly are expectations to anticipate where research processes may lead and to be accountable for one’s performance in terms of tangible output. Funding institutions, for example, expect projects to contain detailed research plans, timelines and promises of future impact, while societal actors call for increased reflection on - and assuming of responsibility for – implications of potential applications.

In this workshop, we want to move beyond the obvious tensions between anticipation, serendipity and control in research and ask: How could practices of anticipation look like that do not put researchers in the paradoxical situation of predicting the unpredictable or of being made accountable for luck or misfortune? And how could such a notion of anticipation help prevent negative outcomes and bring desirable futures into being?

Workshop Program

09:15 - 09:45: Welcome Talk
Ulrike Felt

09:45 - 10:00: Comment on Anticipation and Responsible Practice
Philip Macnaghten

10:00 – 10:15: Coffee Break and Snacks

10:15 - 11:30: 3 Working Groups
with Ulrike Felt, Maximilian Fochler, Lisa Sigl

11:30 – 11:50: Coffee Break

11:50 - 13:00: Wrap-up
Reports from Workshops, Observations and Reflections from Workshops
Renée Schroeder, Andreas Richter, Ulrike Felt and Philip Macnaghten


If you want to participate in the workshop, please register via e-mail:

If you are a PhD student and require a certificate of participation, please indicate that in your registration!



On the evening before the workshop, you have the opportunity to hear talks on „Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)“ at an event of WTZ Ost.

Date and place: 10 May 2017, 18:00 - 21:00, Aula / AAKH

Guests: Ulrike FELT (University of Vienna), Marie Céline LOIBL (Sparkling Science, BMWF), Philip MACNAGHTEN (Wageningen University, NL), Hanna MAYER (University of Vienna)

Event Location

Universitätscampus Altes AKH - Alte Kapelle
Spitalgasse 2
1090 Wien

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