Anticipation in the Biosciences and the Human Right to Science

27 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2023

Date Written: July 27, 2023


Anticipation entails contemplating the beneficial and harmful impacts of scientific and technological progress. Anticipation has a long history in science, technology, and innovation (STI) policy partly due to the future impacts of scientific progress being inescapable. The link between anticipation, an undertheorized concept, and human rights law are yet to be fully explored. This paper links anticipation to the rights to science, a lesser-studied human right codified in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The paper argues that the normative content of the right includes anticipation entitlements and duties. Combining the entitlements and duties with anticipation typologies leads to identifying three forms of anticipation that governments (and, in some cases, scientists) must carry out: beneficial, responsible, and participatory anticipation. The paper concludes by identifying three ways in which further conceptual work can enrich human-rights-based anticipation.

Keywords: human rights, human right to science, anticipation, anticipatory governance, bioscience futures, human gene editing, risk governance

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Boggio, Andrea, Anticipation in the Biosciences and the Human Right to Science (July 27, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Andrea Boggio (Contact Author)

Bryant University ( email )

1150 Douglas Pike
Smithfield, RI 02917
United States
4012326455 (Phone)

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