PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)
What role for public engagement institutions?

Marzia Mazzonetto  

In recent years, RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation) has become one of the most spoken acronyms by European Commission's representatives and several professionals working on EU financed projects in the field of Public Engagement with Science and Technology. But how is the role of institutions, ranging from science museums to science communication agencies, shaping within the difficult task of contributing to making scientific research more "responsible"? The presentation will focus on personal experience accumulated in 5 years of work on the field in one of the only European networks dedicated to public engagement (Ecsite, the European Network of Science Centre and Museums) as well as 3 specific case studies of innovative participatory processes in scientific governance. The first example concerns a EU-wide experiment of engaging citizens in shaping priorities in a specific field of research, as well as bringing new ideas oriented to better social innovation (VOICES). The second example focuses on a wide experiment of citizens and stakeholders involvement in influencing better policies for oceans conservation as well as fostering better empowerment of citizens towards oceans protection (Sea for Society). Finally, the last example concentrates on a sharing experience initiative of several European institutions - with a long lasting experience in Public Engagement - aimed at developing useful tools to make available to whomever (from educators to policy makers, scientists and civil societies) would like to embark in the RRI mission (RRI Tools). Finally, special attention will be dedicated to not only pros and cons of the above-mentioned examples, but also to how the institutions involved have benefited (or not) from them, how they have eventually seen their role shifting from "classic" public engagement instruments to active actors in the RRI process, and in some cases how have their actions been perceived by the scientific community and business industry.

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