Accepted Paper:

Involving the public in research and innovation - A European horizon scanning exercise  


Linda Nierling
Simon Pfersdorf (Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis)
Rainer Kuhn (Dialogik non-profit institute institute for communication and cooperation research )
Grace Mbungu (DIALOGIK non-profit research institute )

Paper long abstract:

The intention to actively integrate citizen into science has already a long history and was inspired by the idea, that "normal" science can no longer deliver appropriate results for societal problems, e.g. Funtowicz & Ravetz 1993. This paper will discuss current scientific and political practices of involving public actors in science policy and research. Based on results from the ENGAGE2020 project (FP7), it will provide a structured overview of current literature as well as own empirical observations.

We will discuss relevant literature from five streams: democratic and political thinking; sociology of scientific knowledge and STS; participatory approaches in innovation studies; societal empowerment through scientific support; toolkit literature. Our empirical results are derived from desktop research and interviews with stakeholders focusing on (1) policies and activities supporting societal engagement in Europe and beyond and (2) different methods, e.g. hearings, funding mechanisms, expert forums, science shops or citizen science activities.

Analytically, we distinguish four different levels of engagement: policy formation, research program development, project definition and research and innovation activity. Additionally, we differentiate the public actors included in policy and research activities: Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), citizens, affected, users and consumers.

These insights will provide an overview of current policies and activities for societal engagement in Europe. Finally we will identify new trends of public involvement, discuss major barriers and highlight potential enablers of engaging various public actors in addressing current and foreseen social problems.

Funtowicz, S.O. & Ravetz, J.R. (1993): Science for the Post-Normal Age, Futures, 25/7, pp. 739-755

Panel C2
Solidarity and plurality: Dimensions of 'the public' in scientific engagement