Society-Technology Interactions

… interconnections between society and the technologies on which it depends

We develop methods and models, conduct analyses, and produce tools that create knowledge and insights useful in anticipating, planning for, managing, and understanding responses to a wide variety of technologies. Thus, we emphasize the importance of framing questions in the appropriate context, gathering question-relevant data, and conducting ‘honest broker’ analyses. >>More

The Society-Technology Interactions team represents varied disciplines, including anthropology, economics, and planning. Team members regularly collaborate with social science, natural and physical science, technology R&D, engineer, intermediary group, and industrial partners. Though empirically oriented, we take varied methodological approaches including behavioral, experimental, and regional economics; ethnographic inquiry; and surveying. Our analyses and products are designed to meet diverse customer needs and range from models and decision-support tools, to technical reports, to peer-reviewed publications, to informational and training materials for varied audiences.

Selected Research Areas

Energy, Technology, and Behavior

Builds on Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s extensive experience in analyzing decision making and behavior in markets and other contexts to focus on today’s energy challenges.

Ethical, Legal, and Societal Implications

Systematically analyzes the dynamic and evolving societal implications of emerging science and technology.

Intellectual Property Rights Management

Explores patenting issues associated with emerging technology R&D to ensure the best available information is used both in policy making and in technology transfer programs.

Regional Economic Analysis

Helps government agencies predict, assess, monitor, and intervene when necessary to improve the regional impacts of national policies through research, analysis, tool development, communication and training, thus enhancing agency efficiency and effectiveness.


The Science-Technology Interactions group engages in a variety of assessment activities that evaluate the effectiveness of federal and local programs, as well as interpreting the impacts of those projects. 

ORNL Sustainable Campus Initiative

Combining ORNL’s R&D with facilities and operations management to integrate energy efficiency, cutting-edge technologies, operational and business processes, and behavior to achieve sustainability at work, home, and in the community

Key staff members

For more information, contact:
Amy K. Wolfe (, 865-574-5944)