“Science, Technology, and Society (STS) in Asia: Tackling Socio-Technical Challenges from An Interdisciplinary Perspective” Training Program

Call For Applications

We are pleased to announce a call for applications for a June 2024 Training Program held at Tsinghua University


“Science, Technology, and Society (STS) in Asia: Tackling Socio-Technical Challenges from An Interdisciplinary Perspective”

Beijing, June 18-26, 2024 (Arriving on June 17 and departing on June 27)


Asian society is facing unprecedented challenges that simultaneously contain social and technical dimensions: digitalization and sustainable transformation are two such issues. Urban digitalization enables people to order food, call taxis, and shop for clothes from digitalized platforms, spawning new forms of economy but also creating algorithm-ruled regimes for workers. Automation technology has been embedded in the paperwork system of banks, airports, and government agencies, creating digital barriers for disadvantaged groups and ethical concerns about privacy. With the rapid development in artificial intelligence, robots are anticipated to replace human beings in both labor-intensive and knowledge-intensive industries, disrupting the way that many traditional professions work, including how we produce scientific knowledge. Digital technologies also consume a significant amount of energy through cloud computing and AI infrastructures, aggravating the crisis of global warming and calling for socio-technical solutions for sustainable transformation. Asian countries are actively engaged in carbon-reduction campaigns. Renewable technologies are widely deployed in the countryside of China, blending new scientific concepts and technological devices with traditional ways of farming, fishing, and herding. Sensing technologies are used to monitor pollution in air and water, creating a new mode of governance. These emerging socio-technical challenges are critical for the survival and future of society, demanding further conceptualization and theorization.

Since its inception, Science, Technology and Society (STS) has offered an interdisciplinary perspective that is vital to our understanding of the social and political dimensions of science and technology. As a constantly evolving field, STS has expanded in scope from social construction of scientific knowledge and technology to socio-technical practices in everyday life. This training program seeks to bring together the epistemic foundations of the field in conversation with critical challenges, new agendas and emerging problems in Asia. Drawing on the expertise of a wide array of prominent scholars working in STS related fields, we hope to spark more scholarly interest and research on the new challenges at both national and global levels. This training program will also create a post-pandemic platform for dialogue and collaboration between scholars in Asia and North America.


The lectures will cover fundamentals and key issues in STS, as well as how STS and sociology can benefit each other. The lecturers will also introduce cutting-edge topics in their own research to give trainees up-to-date knowledge about emerging agendas in STS. We will encourage the lecturers to design their lectures around the themes of digitalization and sustainable transformation.

The working language of the program will be English.

Confirmed Lecturers: 

Sheila Jasanoff
Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Stephen Hilgartner
Frederic J. Whiton Professor of Science & Technology Studies, Department of Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University

Ya-Wen Lei
Professor, Department of Sociology, Harvard University

Janet Vertesi
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Princeton University

Susan Greenhalgh
John King and Wilma Cannon Fairbank Research Professor of Chinese Society, Emerita, Harvard University

Zeqi Qiu (HYI Visiting Scholar, 1997-98)
Professor, Department of Sociology, Peking University

Lu Zheng (HYI Visiting Scholar, 2021-22)
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Tsinghua University

Jun Jin
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Tsinghua University

Yizhang Zhao
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Tsinghua University

Xiaofeng “Denver” Tang
Associate Professor, Institute of Education, Tsinghua University

Yu Huang
Associate Professor, School of Ethnology and Sociology, Minzu University of China

Jieying Zhang
Associate Professor, Institute of Sociology, The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Wen-Hua Kuo
Professor, Graduate Institute of STS, National Yang Ming Chao-Tong University

Chihyung Jeon
Associate professor, the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy, Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology

Akihisa Setoguchi
Associate Professor, Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University


The program is open to up to 20 Asia-based early-stage scholars (junior faculty members, post-doctoral fellows, and Ph.D. candidates) in STS or other related fields. A very small number of non-Asia scholars may be recruited to participate.

The applicant should:

  1. fulfill one of these conditions:
    a. be currently employed by an Asia-based institution of higher education and have received a PhD degree in STS or other related fields (awarded not more than 5 years prior to June 2024);
    b. be studying in an Asia-based institution of higher education for a PhD in STS or other related fields;
  2. have a good command of English and be able to understand academic lectures and take active part in group discussions in English for the duration of the training program.
  3. have embarked on an empirical STS project on sustainability or digitalization, and have substantial findings to present to other participants.
  4. Due to very limited availability, non-Asia based scholars should contact Dr. Wei Hong before submitting an application.

Up to five outstanding Asia-based trainees may be selected for a fellowship to enable a ten-month stay at the Harvard-Yenching Institute, located on the campus of Harvard University

Application Procedure:

Eligible applicants should submit their applications to Jing Hu at huj23@mails.tsinghua.edu.cn no later than March 31, 2024.

Your application packet should comprise the following:

  • The completed application form (Download application form here)
  • A one-page CV
  • One recommendation letter from your academic advisor (for PhD candidates and post-doc researchers)

[Letters can be directly sent to the above email, separate from the application package]

Acceptance notifications will be sent by April 15, 2024.

Financial Support

All trainees are exempt from tuition fees. Accommodation for trainees outside of Beijing are covered by Tsinghua University. Travel costs, insurance, visa application fees (if any), and other expenses are the responsibility of the participants. Need-based support for airfare may be considered for a very small number of students from other parts of Asia. International participants will need to manage their own visa applications. Tsinghua University will supply any required supporting documents.

For inquiries, please contact the organizer of the training program:
Dr. Wei Hong
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology & Center for Science, Technology & Society, Tsinghua University
Email: hongwei@tsinghua.edu.cn

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