A relevant part of the current debates about public acceptance of science and technology centers on the social acceptability of science and technology governance (including decision making, regulation and risk management). In this presentation we will argue, based on survey data, that the relationship between public and stakeholder acceptance of governance, on the one hand, and the level of public education, on the other, as well as current improvements in science and technology management is still unclear.

We present recent survey data from Spain on the public perception of science and technology governance, particularly on the perception of the importance of scientific knowledge and values in governance, precautionary regulation, as well as the role of experts in decision making. The survey’s data are particularly relevant due to the relatively limited availability of data on public attitudes towards regulation and decision making (instead of particular scientific-technological applications themselves).

The analysis also takes account of other recent data related to public participation and information in science and technology governance. The results indicate that neither the introduction of participatory decision making, nor increased scientific- technological education and fostering of scientific culture, nor the adoption of new regulatory frames (like the precautionary principle) are likely to significantly improve social acceptance of science and technology governance.

Such reforms may transform the focus of public debates on policy and governance, but do not necessarily lead to closure. In consequence, more research is needed on the complex relationship between information, participation, trust and acceptance, as well as their respective roles in decision making and regulation of science and technology.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Science and technology governance, and public acceptance

Carolina Moreno   University of Valencia

Oliver Todt   University of the Balearic Islands

José Luis Luján   University of the Balearic Islands

A relevant part of the current debates about public acceptance of science and technology centers on the social acceptability of science and technology governance (including decision making, regulation and risk management). In this presentation we will argue, based on survey data, that the relationship between public and stakeholder acceptance of governance, on the one hand, and the level of public education, on the other, as well as current improvements in science and technology management is still unclear.

We present recent survey data from Spain on the public perception of science and technology governance, particularly on the perception of the importance of scientific knowledge and values in governance, precautionary regulation, as well as the role of experts in decision making. The survey’s data are particularly relevant due to the relatively limited availability of data on public attitudes towards regulation and decision making (instead of particular scientific-technological applications themselves).

The analysis also takes account of other recent data related to public participation and information in science and technology governance. The results indicate that neither the introduction of participatory decision making, nor increased scientific- technological education and fostering of scientific culture, nor the adoption of new regulatory frames (like the precautionary principle) are likely to significantly improve social acceptance of science and technology governance.

Such reforms may transform the focus of public debates on policy and governance, but do not necessarily lead to closure. In consequence, more research is needed on the complex relationship between information, participation, trust and acceptance, as well as their respective roles in decision making and regulation of science and technology.

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