Strategic science translation in emerging science: Genetically modified crops and Bisphenol A in two cases of contested animal toxicity studies

Monica Racovita, Armin Spök

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

When controversies develop around scientific facts or technologies, the potential of science to become a tool in plays of interests and power between different actors is not well recognized. Cordner's concept of Strategic Science Translation (SST) shows that such actions are enabled by the uncertainty and the complexity of the scientific processes that allow the use of science in support of various, often contradictory interests and goals. Two high-profile controversies around animal toxicity studies in two different fields of European regulatory science (genetically modified food and food contact materials) were chosen as case studies to explore and expand the SST concept. Both studies involve emerging science issues, emphasizing tensions between regulatory and academic science. Communications from key Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and industry groups were used for analysis of each controversy. We found that both groups of actors try to present their own interpretation of scientific results, taking advantage of the lack of scientific consensus, of the uncertainties associated with the negotiation in the interpretation of results, and of the wider scientific and political context. In the same time, each actor attempts to challenge the credibility of the other. The lack of formal acknowledgment of the limitations of the emerging scientific fields, as well as of different research approaches between regulatory and academic research contribute to the continuation of controversies in the public domain, as the public cannot easily assess the information presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-155
Number of pages14
JournalGM Crops & Food
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Crops, Agricultural
  • Organizations
  • Phenols
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Uncertainty

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology

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