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Mapping STS in the Asia-Pacific: Building Regional Research Capacity


The newly emergent Asia-Pacific Science, Technology and Society Network (APSTSN: see: is holding a whole-of network workshop to further build the regional research capacity of the APSTSN through raising better understanding and awareness of the histories, directions and activities of the Network’s participating and diverse STS communities.

The APSTSN is grateful for sponsorship from 4S, to be complemented by further funding from the STS community hosting the event as the major APSTSN event for 2012, following this year’s annual meeting at Northeastern University, Shenyang, China (19-21 July 2011: The 3-day workshop will undertake a regional comparative study of STS histories, approaches, and focus areas and issues of the Network’s participating STS communities.

‘Asia-Pacific’ (as shown in the map above) is defined as countries and STS communities of Australasia, South East and East Asia, and Oceania with participating STS communities so far representing China, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, in addition to Asia-Pacific Indigenous ones, and any other regional communities that may wish to join the network and attend the workshop.

The project and workshop — embedded in the region’s unique east-west and Indigenous cultural perspectives — is informed by the secondary aims of:

  1. Creating fundamental knowledge with regard to an Asia-Pacific STS field of inquiry and scholarship, which is new and innovative
  2. Building the emergent APSTSN regional STS research platform for deepening existing collaborations and developing new ones
  3. Building the APSTSN through better understandings of convergences and divergences, differences and diversity for shared explorations and investigations of STS areas and topical issues in a diverse number of areas.

Topics will include, but are not limited to, cultural histories; public participation, citizenship and community engagement; new modes of governance, public administration, politics and public policy; post-colonisation; environment, and sustainability transitions; life techno/sciences; medicine, health, bio-medicine; and media and science communication.

History of the Asia-Pacific Science, Technology and Society Network

The APSTSN formed in late 2008 as the idea of the current convenor Richard Hindmarsh (Snr. Associate Professor, Environmental Politics and Policy and STS, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia) and the 2009 Convenor Karen Cronin (Science Leader STS, Environmental Science and Research, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand).

It became consolidated in late 2009 with its first annual conference held in Brisbane (, with over 80 members joining from STS communities across the region. Over the last year, membership has doubled to 160 members and is steadily growing. APSTSN members are typically researchers within Australasia, SE and East Asia and Oceania; or researchers outside the region conducting STS research within it or who have a keen interest in STS research within the region.

The Network offers a new Asia-Pacific regional identity for STS scholars to complement their local, national and sub-regional, as well as wider international, STS networks, societies and associations.

It focuses on developing collaborative networks and collegial relationships through a bi-annual meeting and other key events. For members there is also an online directory of members and a 2-3 monthly e-newsletter, including member profiling. There are no formal membership criteria or fees.
The aims of the APSTSN are:
  • Encourage STS research, teaching and collaboration in the Asia-Pacific region and foster critical discussion on current themes and issues in the field.
  • Fill an important Asia-Pacific regional gap in global STS scholarship and knowledge.
  • Seek wide representation from regional STS communities to increase professional and scholarly capacity (with special focus on including Indigenous members).
  • Foster collaboration between STS researchers with other scholars and researchers, and ‘end users’ in government, industry and the community, particularly of relevance to generating practical insights for decision-making and policy.

This offers three distinctive qualities. First, a regional ‘Asia-Pacific’ focus; second, active Indigenous STS involvement; and third, a strong focus on generating practical insights for decision-making and policy, in addition to other STS areas.

If you are interested to join the Asia-Pacific STS Network: please go to, explore the website more, and note the online membership form which takes 5 minutes to fill out.

The APSTSN thanks 4S again for the invaluable and primary sponsorship of the 2012 APSTSN whole-of-network workshop.

Richard Hindmarsh