MVI project ‘Shale Gas’

Project details

Project team members 
  • Dr. Ir. M. Dignum
  • Dr. A.F. Correljé
  • Dr. ir. B. Taebi
  • Dr. ir. E. Cuppen
  • Dr. ir. U. Pesch

Project duration:

January 1st 2013 – January 1st 2014

Recent experiences in the US and Europe have shown that shale gas is a technology witnessing societal acceptance issues. This contestation finds it roots in the diversity of (conflicting) stakeholder values and norms. 

’Responsible’ shale gas innovation means that it must appropriately reflect divergent stakeholders’ values. In this proposed project we start from the notion that both technologies and institutions incorporate values (and thereby exclude others). Contestation arises when not all values that are relevant to stakeholders have been incorporated in technology and institutions, or not in the desired way. The research question is:

To what extent do current shale gas technologies and institutions accommodate the variety of (conflicting) stakeholder values and (how) can technology and institutions be developed in such a way as to appropriately incorporate the variety of (conflicting) stakeholder values? 

We will develop an ex-ante approach for upholding human values with ethical importance based on the notion of Value Sensitive Design. We conceptualize ‘design’ broadly, covering technologies, institutions and stakeholders’ arena (e.g. who to involve). We furthermore see ‘design’ as a process rather than an outcome, acknowledging the emergent nature of value specification. Making use of a ‘value hierarchy’, we analyse how values have been specified into norms and how norms have been specified into technological and institutional design requirements. We will examine how this process has evolved in the Netherlands and in a number of European countries, so far. We will use these insights to, subsequently, analyse for the Dutch case how value-sensitive design of institutions and technologies could be developed and supported by relevant private and public stakeholders.

Valorisation panel 
  • The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), in the ‘Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Innoveren’ scheme.