Recently, the consulting report “Construction of New Mechanism to Handle Scientific, Technological and Social Conflicts” written by Associate Professor Zhang Li and PhD candidate Guo Liang from Professor Sheng Xiaoming`s team of the School of Humanities, Zhejiang University, was published in the 33rd Special Issue of College Think Tank of MOE Briefing in 2016. It is the second report of the School of Humanities and of Zhejiang University that has been published by the journal this year, with the first one also written by Professor Sheng Xiaoming`s team. These reports are helpful attempts to promote the development of application-oriented research and the establishment of think tanks.
The reports are the interim achievements of Prof. Sheng Xiaoming`s study on the reshaping and constructing of scientific spirit, scientific morality, science and research ethics and academic norm supported by the Key Project of Chinese Ministry of Education. As stated in the report, modern science and technology can, on the one hand, increase social welfare and on the other hand bring about social controversies if clear boundaries between S&T and politics are absent. These controversies may, under certain condition, become social conflicts that may destabilize our society. Since the problems caused by science and technology are usually specialized and special ones, they can hardly be solved by simply adopting the established problem-solving mechanism, but requires a new mechanism particularly designed for these problems. One of the most important reasons for social conflicts is that the public do not have sufficient scientific knowledge and transparent information about the projects, while the fundamental causes are inappropriate risk allocation and profit distribution.
The report suggests that we should set up a fair mechanism for proper risk allocation, interest compensation and sharing. Besides, the new science and technology popularization model that enlarges availability and prioritizes key areas should be established and promoted. These efforts will help prevent and solve the problems caused by science and technology related social controversies, thus enabling science and technology to develop side by side with society. Targeting at specific problems, these suggestions are highly feasible.
The Special Issue of College Think Tank of MOE Briefing was founded in 2015 by Chinese Ministry of Education under the guiding principle of the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee and the direction of central leadership to build new think tanks with Chinese characteristics, following the requirements of the Promotion Project of the Construction of New Types of Think Tanks with Chinese Characteristics. As a publication only available for MOE staff, in every issue, it publishes one report, which will be sent to relevant policy makers and researchers. Focusing on major issues and serving for national strategies, the special issue is intended for policy-making departments of the party and the government. Most of the reports published on the issue come from college professors and scholars who give advices to policy making on the basis of their research about strategy, prediction, and policy response. It provides high-quality intellectual supports for the party and the government to make rational policies and promotes the construction of new types of college think tanks.
Source: School of Humanities, Zhejiang University