• Source: Scopus
1991 …2022

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Personal profile

Research profile

Rinie van Est (1964) Ph.D. has more than twenty years of experience at the intersection between academia, government, politics and civil society. He is a leading expert on technology assessment, governance and public engagement in the Netherlands and internationally. Van Est is a physicist and political scientist by training, who is specialized in the politics of innovation. He studied applied physics at Eindhoven University of Technology and political science at the University of Amsterdam. His PhD-thesis Winds of Change (1999) examined the interaction between politics, innovation and economics in the field of wind energy in California and Denmark.

In 1997, Rinie van Est started to work at the Rathenau Instituut, which stimulates the public and political debate on societal and ethical issues related to science and technology and encourages policy makers to formulate adequate measures. Since 2006, he is a research coordinator / trend catcher, and since 2016 he coordinates activities around the theme Smart society. He has led numerous projects in the field of both emerging technologies (such as robotics, artificial intelligence, persuasive technology, and synthetic biology) as well as sustainability and energy. As a result, he has a wealth of experience in signaling trends in innovation, managing scientific projects, designing debates, and guiding and coaching junior and senior researchers. Translating and communicating the results of projects to parliamentary and governmental bodies, both on the national and international level, is at the core of his job. He has been involved in many projects for the Dutch and European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, UNESCO, Dutch ministries and the European Commission.

Since 2001, Rinie van Est also lectures at the School of Innovation Sciences of the Eindhoven University of Technology. He has developed, taught and coordinated various lectures and developed learning objectives for students with respect to technology foresight and assessment methods. Since 2009, he has published extensively on the social, ethical and political dimensions of science and technology, and made particular contributions to the debates of public engagement and technology assessment. Besides English, some of his publications have been translated in French, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese. He regularly comments on social, ethical and political issues related to new technologies in the media. Finally, he is frequently sought after both as a speaker at (inter)national congresses and as a member or chair of various advisory bodies.

Some relevant publications: Human rights in the robot age (2017), Urgent upgrade: Protect public values in our digitized society (2017), Just ordinary robots: Automation from love to war (2016), Working on the robot society (2015), Intimate technology: The battle for our body and behaviour (2014), From bio to NBIC: From medical practice to daily life (2014), Check in / check out: The public space as an Internet of Things (2011), Energie in 2030: Maatschappelijke keuzes van nu (2011).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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