Infoscience

Presentation / Talk

Mind the Gap? Translating science and technology projects with TED

The term ‘translational research’ appeared in Pubmed for the first time around 1993 (van der Laan & Boenink, 2012). Translational research aims to identify and challenge the “translational gaps’’ (T gaps) hindering the transformation of discoveries in the life sciences into societal profit from basic research (van der Laan & Boenink, 2012). Since then, different types of gaps have been identified and systematized in translational methods (Dougherty & Conway 2008). However, a public sphere-related phenomenon has emerged in the last 10 years that has not yet been considered by translational research: the rise of TED Talks. Indeed, these formatted talks contribute to translating science projects in general and more specifically those projects related to technological innovation. This paper seeks to investigate the TED infrastructure for translating Science and Technology (S&T;) projects (Callon, 1980, 1986; Law 2006). The analysis uses the concepts of recognition (Honneth, 2012) and cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1979) as interpretative lenses for analyzing the dynamics enforced by or emerging from the TED infrastructure, questioning their relationship to selection and outcomes of presenter-related S&T; projects. The paper contributes to the STS literature by integrating recognition and cultural capital in the analysis of translation, which we believe is relevant to understanding not only how relationships between the shareholders in S&T; projects are constructed, but also how participation in the project reinforces individual and institutional cultural capital. Finally, the paper will present results from an exploratory case study, adopting an interpretive approach to case study research (Creswell, 1998).

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