The use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is controversial in Europe. There is low value consensus between different stakeholders whether it is desirable to use GMOs in agriculture. Consequently, policy making regarding the authorization of GMOs is challenging. Currently, European regulation regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is the most restrictive in the world. Members of the scientific biotech community express concerns that this hinders public sector research in agricultural biotechnology and the development of products for society, with severe implications for Europe and developing countries. Research objective Our qualitative research project aims to investigate how academic or public sector scientists could be motivated to participate in policy making regarding GMOs in Europe. Therefore, it first explores what role scientists could take in GMO policy making. Then, it investigates which factors determine the motivation of academic biotech scientists to take a role in GMO policy making. Finally, it discusses what actions could motivate scientists to actively participate in GMO policy making. Methodology A conceptual framework regarding the intention of scientists to participate in policy making was developed based on a multidisciplinary literature study in diverse research domains (Science Communication, Science Technology and Society, Science Policy and Environmental Studies). Semi-structured indepth interviews were done with 17 scientists active in the field of agricultural biotechnology to empirically test the conceptual framework and explore whether other factors play a role in their motivation to participate in policy making. Results and Conclusion The results of this study indicate that most scientists have a positive attitude towards more active involvement in policy making. Their motivation seems mainly determined by their commitment to the public good, instead of for instance impact on professional career or judgments of their academic peers. Many scientists themselves would like to take an active role, rather than using science mediators. Our study concludes with three suggestions to motivate and support scientists to take an active role in policy making. In the discussion we elaborate on the role of communication professionals in this process.

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Science communication in policy making a qualitative research to the motivation of academic biotech scientists to participate in policy making in Europe

Hilde Coumou   Technical University of Denmark, Denmark

Zuzana van der Werf Kulichova   Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

Caroline Wehrmann   Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

Patricia Osseweijer   Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

The use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is controversial in Europe. There is low value consensus between different stakeholders whether it is desirable to use GMOs in agriculture. Consequently, policy making regarding the authorization of GMOs is challenging. Currently, European regulation regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is the most restrictive in the world. Members of the scientific biotech community express concerns that this hinders public sector research in agricultural biotechnology and the development of products for society, with severe implications for Europe and developing countries. Research objective Our qualitative research project aims to investigate how academic or public sector scientists could be motivated to participate in policy making regarding GMOs in Europe. Therefore, it first explores what role scientists could take in GMO policy making. Then, it investigates which factors determine the motivation of academic biotech scientists to take a role in GMO policy making. Finally, it discusses what actions could motivate scientists to actively participate in GMO policy making. Methodology A conceptual framework regarding the intention of scientists to participate in policy making was developed based on a multidisciplinary literature study in diverse research domains (Science Communication, Science Technology and Society, Science Policy and Environmental Studies). Semi-structured indepth interviews were done with 17 scientists active in the field of agricultural biotechnology to empirically test the conceptual framework and explore whether other factors play a role in their motivation to participate in policy making. Results and Conclusion The results of this study indicate that most scientists have a positive attitude towards more active involvement in policy making. Their motivation seems mainly determined by their commitment to the public good, instead of for instance impact on professional career or judgments of their academic peers. Many scientists themselves would like to take an active role, rather than using science mediators. Our study concludes with three suggestions to motivate and support scientists to take an active role in policy making. In the discussion we elaborate on the role of communication professionals in this process.

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