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Accepted Paper:

Co-creating solutions for meaningful public engagement with policymakers  
Esther baar (Rathenau Instituut) Anne-Floor Scholvinck (Rathenau Instituut)

Short abstract:

Citizens’ engagement in science and innovation can help to address complex societal challenges, but it requires institutional support to flourish. Together with policymakers, we explore views on and policies by research funders in the Netherlands and look for leverage points to improve their work.

Long abstract:

Citizens’ and public engagement in science and innovation is increasingly heralded as a way to support sustainability transformations and address complex societal challenges, both in the Netherlands and abroad. But whether these collaborations are meaningful (here defined as contributing to the democratization of knowledge development) or not, depends on many factors (e.g. time, flexibility, and institutional support) and does not come easily within the current science system. Indeed, a growing body of scholarship is exploring what is needed to enable, monitor and evaluate meaningful citizens’ engagement, with researchers looking at questions both big (e.g. the repoliticization of inclusion, Turnhout et al. 2019) and small (e.g. flattening power hierarchies among stakeholders, Kareem et al. 2022).

Within this broad field, we zoom in on the role of research funding organizations (RFOs) and the design of research funding programs, given their influence on how research is conducted and where and how research capacity is utilized (Schneider et al. 2023). Based on interviews and workshops with policymakers, we provide an overview and analysis of the current policy landscape and dominant perceptions surrounding citizens’ engagement in science. We show, for example, that there exists (language) confusion of almost Babylonian proportion about what participating in science can or should look like, and about who is responsible for and capable of guiding projects in the right direction. From this, we distill key challenges that research funding bodies face in and we propose solutions to catalyze more meaningful collaborations.

Traditional Open Panel P376
What are we missing, what do we take for granted? Disruption and reconfiguration of public participation in science and technology studies
  Session 1 Friday 19 July, 2024, -