The Society for the Social Study of Science has given its 2016 STS Infrastructure Award to the Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science, Technology, and Modern Culture, also known as WTMC. According to the prize committee: "In a pioneering series of summer schools run over some 30 years, WTMC has brought together PhD students in science studies from around the Netherlands and across Europe, creating cohorts that engage for four years of their graduate study – and often beyond."
"The WTMC’s project is an exemplar of infrastructural work. It works across institutional boundaries to create a common, stable platform shared by a number of Dutch universities, each of which contributes materially to WTMC. As a result, it offers students access to an expanded pool of STS scholars, and provides a mechanism for student participation in workshops and summer schools that are recognized for credit by their home universities. It is also infrastructural work in the sense of building cohorts: students, many of whom have gone on to sterling careers, have kept working and thinking together in a way that has further developed the intellectual infrastructure of our field. And as one of the nominating letters puts it: “WTMC acculturates students not only into a field, but also into an inter‐discipline, a form of engagement between science, invention and society, a sense of intellectual adventure.”
It is the first time this prize is awarded. On behalf of WTMC, its director prof. Sally Wyatt said she is honoured and delighted to accept the inaugural 4S Infrastructure Award. "STS scholars have made valuable contributions to the theoretical understanding of the role of infrastructures in modernity and in knowledge production, and to the recognition of the invisible work central to their smooth functioning. Therefore, it seems particularly apt that 4S has chosen to recognize this aspect of the field." "WTMC is truly a collective effort, that has been sustained by the activities of many people over almost 30 years. WTMC can trace its history of providing STS training for Dutch-based PhDs back to 1986. Over the years, the graduate training network gained national and international recognition, and in 1994, this network was transformed into what we now know as WTMC. It is a joint effort that seeks to put the needs of young scholars at the centre of all of its work. It has been made possible by the contributions of many people, who have all put the long-term survival of the field ahead of individual and institutional interests. This prize is a fantastic recognition of the work done by all of the support staff, teachers, researchers, and PhDs past and present."
CWTS is a member of WTMC and its director Paul Wouters is currently chair of the WTMC board.