PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


How to value Public Engagement with Science?
Perspectives from Australian decision-makers.

Ruth O'Connor  

This paper will explore what decision-makers as publics value about science engagement. The existence of multiple publics who form and engage with science in different ways according to context is well established within Science and Technology Studies (STS). However, decision-makers have generally not been viewed as part of the public sphere within STS (Nowotny 2014). As such, they have received less attention within the discipline in terms of how they engage with science and how such engagement might be evaluated. The findings presented in this paper will be based on an analysis of data collected in late 2015 in a case study involving regionally-based Australian decision-makers who were engaging with science related to climate adaptation. The data was collected to validate a conceptual framework for evaluating Public Engagement with Science involving decision-makers. The development of such a framework not only provides a tool for evaluation, it is an opportunity to better understand the process of science engagement involving decision-makers who have the potential power to influence what science is done and how it is applied in the public domain.

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