Citizen participation processes in political decision-making have been taking hold in countries where democratic progress (understood in its true etymological sense as the "people's government") has made it possibleto extend the concept of citizenship, moving from what is known as a "formal democracy" to a democracy of a participative nature in which the citizens hold, both individually and collectively, true power.

At the same time, the need to become involved in science as a fundamental component of people's culture is becoming increasingly obvious, as it enables us to comprehend reality, understand the world and have more awareness in decision-making related to our surroundings, at both an individual and collective level. As part of this trend, it is essential to recall the words of Barack Obama in his vote of confidence speech on 29 January 2009: “We will restore science to its rightful place”.

To make this integration of science in culture become a reality, it is firstly important to make citizens understand why and how science is made, promoting scientific communication, from both the public powers and the scientists themselves. This is the only way that society will be able to support and understand the work of scientists and the contributions made by the public powers in relation to scientific and technological subjects.

With the purpose of encouraging citizen participation by integrating the three areas of society involved: the citizens, the scientist and the political decision-maker, the Spanish government launched an innovative and unique project in the first half of 2010, during its Presidency of the European Union: the Citizen's Agenda of Science and Innovation. The initiative was designed as a new route in scientific communication in which citizens, in addition to being able to discover the faces behind great discoveries and innovations could pass on their concerns and priorities in the field of scientific and technological research to the European political decision-makers.

The project presented fourteen European citizens whose creations or research form part of everyone's daily life, even though we are often not aware of the extent to which they have changed our lives. Selected by a committee of experts, the fourteen European personalities came up with and formulated the challenges proposed to the citizens, so that they in turn could value and prioritize which should form part of the Agenda of the ministers of science and innovation. Those proposing the challenges included very well-known people such as the architect Norman Foster, the biologist Jane Goodall and the physicist Juan Ignacio Cirac; and others whose names are less recognised, but whose contributions have undoubtedly changed people's lives, like Franck Biancheri (the creator of Erasmus grants), Karlheinz Branderburg (the inventor of the mp3) and Matti Makkonen (main contributor of SMS)

The citizen participation process was centralised on a website, www.reto2030.eu, for one month and received votes from more than 100,000 citizens. The final result was displayed to the European ministers of science and innovation during the Competitiveness Council which took place in May 2010 using a scoreboard located in the hall of the European Council in Brussels.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Citizen's agenda of science and innovation
An innovative scientific communication way towards citizen participation

César García   Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology - FECYT

Rosa Capeáns   Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology - FECYT

Gonzalo Remiro   Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology - FECYT

Citizen participation processes in political decision-making have been taking hold in countries where democratic progress (understood in its true etymological sense as the "people's government") has made it possibleto extend the concept of citizenship, moving from what is known as a "formal democracy" to a democracy of a participative nature in which the citizens hold, both individually and collectively, true power.

At the same time, the need to become involved in science as a fundamental component of people's culture is becoming increasingly obvious, as it enables us to comprehend reality, understand the world and have more awareness in decision-making related to our surroundings, at both an individual and collective level. As part of this trend, it is essential to recall the words of Barack Obama in his vote of confidence speech on 29 January 2009: “We will restore science to its rightful place”.

To make this integration of science in culture become a reality, it is firstly important to make citizens understand why and how science is made, promoting scientific communication, from both the public powers and the scientists themselves. This is the only way that society will be able to support and understand the work of scientists and the contributions made by the public powers in relation to scientific and technological subjects.

With the purpose of encouraging citizen participation by integrating the three areas of society involved: the citizens, the scientist and the political decision-maker, the Spanish government launched an innovative and unique project in the first half of 2010, during its Presidency of the European Union: the Citizen's Agenda of Science and Innovation. The initiative was designed as a new route in scientific communication in which citizens, in addition to being able to discover the faces behind great discoveries and innovations could pass on their concerns and priorities in the field of scientific and technological research to the European political decision-makers.

The project presented fourteen European citizens whose creations or research form part of everyone's daily life, even though we are often not aware of the extent to which they have changed our lives. Selected by a committee of experts, the fourteen European personalities came up with and formulated the challenges proposed to the citizens, so that they in turn could value and prioritize which should form part of the Agenda of the ministers of science and innovation. Those proposing the challenges included very well-known people such as the architect Norman Foster, the biologist Jane Goodall and the physicist Juan Ignacio Cirac; and others whose names are less recognised, but whose contributions have undoubtedly changed people's lives, like Franck Biancheri (the creator of Erasmus grants), Karlheinz Branderburg (the inventor of the mp3) and Matti Makkonen (main contributor of SMS)

The citizen participation process was centralised on a website, www.reto2030.eu, for one month and received votes from more than 100,000 citizens. The final result was displayed to the European ministers of science and innovation during the Competitiveness Council which took place in May 2010 using a scoreboard located in the hall of the European Council in Brussels.

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

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