To achieve social inclusion and political engagement in setting research agenda’s, the PERARES project advanced the number and ways of operating of Science Shops throughout Europe. Moreover, the project piloted some novel approaches in upstream, interactive Science Communication that empowers both scientists and community groups / civil society organisations (CSOs). Science Shops are intermediaries (often at universities) between researchers and civil society (in any discipline, ‘science’ taken broadly). Often, research is done by students -under faculty supervision- as part of their curriculum. This is offered without financial barriers (often for free), which makes research available to those without budgets as well, thus empowering communities and including their views in local research agendas. The PERARES-project (Public Engagement with Research and Research Engagement with Society), funded by the European Commission from 2010-2014 (25 partners, 16 countries), set up ten new Science Shops throughout Europe and trained staff and researchers in working with civil society groups (empowering the research world), and shared good practices. Project co-ordinator Henk Mulder will tell about this and discuss other approaches in the project to get more interaction between science and civil society in setting research agenda’s. One approach is to use dialogues on science to articulate research questions. What do experts and citizens (and their organisations) agree that we don’t know but should know? This differs from traditional dialogues, which focus on obtaining policy recommendations (or raising awareness). One action has been to set up an on-line dialogue forum, which builds on prior local, face-to-face meetings of researchers and CSOs. Questions from these (on-line) dialogues move ‘upstream’ into agenda setting by forwarding them to Science Shops (specific questions) or to research funders (themes and broader agendas). This was piloted on nanotechnology developments and in later dialogues on social science topics. We made first steps but still face challenges, which will be shared. As part of a new EU-funded project, Engage2020, we are now preparing an overview on public engagement activities for uptake in EU funding programs under H2020. These should empower researchers and funders to actively engage citizens in all four stages of research: Policy making, Program development, Project definition and Research itself. Initial results will be mentioned.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Including society in setting research agendas

Henk Mulder   University of Groningen, Netherlands

To achieve social inclusion and political engagement in setting research agenda’s, the PERARES project advanced the number and ways of operating of Science Shops throughout Europe. Moreover, the project piloted some novel approaches in upstream, interactive Science Communication that empowers both scientists and community groups / civil society organisations (CSOs). Science Shops are intermediaries (often at universities) between researchers and civil society (in any discipline, ‘science’ taken broadly). Often, research is done by students -under faculty supervision- as part of their curriculum. This is offered without financial barriers (often for free), which makes research available to those without budgets as well, thus empowering communities and including their views in local research agendas. The PERARES-project (Public Engagement with Research and Research Engagement with Society), funded by the European Commission from 2010-2014 (25 partners, 16 countries), set up ten new Science Shops throughout Europe and trained staff and researchers in working with civil society groups (empowering the research world), and shared good practices. Project co-ordinator Henk Mulder will tell about this and discuss other approaches in the project to get more interaction between science and civil society in setting research agenda’s. One approach is to use dialogues on science to articulate research questions. What do experts and citizens (and their organisations) agree that we don’t know but should know? This differs from traditional dialogues, which focus on obtaining policy recommendations (or raising awareness). One action has been to set up an on-line dialogue forum, which builds on prior local, face-to-face meetings of researchers and CSOs. Questions from these (on-line) dialogues move ‘upstream’ into agenda setting by forwarding them to Science Shops (specific questions) or to research funders (themes and broader agendas). This was piloted on nanotechnology developments and in later dialogues on social science topics. We made first steps but still face challenges, which will be shared. As part of a new EU-funded project, Engage2020, we are now preparing an overview on public engagement activities for uptake in EU funding programs under H2020. These should empower researchers and funders to actively engage citizens in all four stages of research: Policy making, Program development, Project definition and Research itself. Initial results will be mentioned.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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