FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
RegC&T - Scientific and Technological Risk Regulation in the Social Network Age
Political decisions are risky. They are often made in a context of uncertainty, time constraints, multiple pressures and economic restrictions. Decisions in (or involving) S&T routinely carry even more problems: potentially large negative impacts, insufficient or inappropriate information, public fears, ethical issues, and environmental impacts, among others. However, S&T is playing anincreasingly important role in political decisions and the importance of S&T in the economic development of nations is now unquestionable.Specifically, we propose to generate and analyze a large number of data sets, either from traditional library research and questionnaires or from state-of-the-art sentiment analysis and other text mining techniques. We will focus of the case of the Influenza (from research on flu viruses to epidemic control) and our hypothesis is that a better understanding of the risks, the fears and the external pressures can provide legislators with a more complete framework when devising new laws. Essentially, we expect to be able to evaluate how appropriate the current European S&T risk legislation is and, given the results we will obtain from our large data sets� analyses, we will propose specific and directed guidelines to be followed by legislators. These will include recommendations on how better to use the social media not only to transmit information, but also to collect it.