For those who have not had the opportunity to take a look, let me share a few thoughts:
- Betting on ‘technology acceptance’ by way of good marketing is no longer a valid option for ensuring a good relationship between Science and Society;
- Diversity of actors in R&I is a must for achieving greater creativity and better results;
- Early and continuous iterative engagement of society in R&I is key to innovation appropriateness and acceptability
- Europe needs to foster a broader and deeper participation of society in knowledge creation … by promoting (formal and informal) science education, public engagement, Open Access, citizen science, science 2.0, digital science, inter- and trans-disciplinary research and social innovation.
Book recommendation: “Opening Science” just released at Springer Publishing
- We therefore have to listen better to the aspirations of the citizens for new knowledge; demonstrate the usefulness of and need for new knowledge generation and application in Europe; highlight the economic, societal and cultural value of scientific knowledge; be sensitive, inclusive and responsive to public concerns and worries; to place more emphasis on dialogue
While this is what the experts say, our scholarly side so to speak. The political conclusions, and the Commission’s response, however is not quite as satisfying. Ms. Glover herself seems to misconceive societal dialogue as a means to “enhance the confidence of citizens in science”. She advocates a society that “embraces science and technology” and wants to make “Europe less risk-averse”. Yet do such statements not indicate more that European policy-makers still often mean “public support” when they say “public engagement”?
Empirical data rather tells us that the perceived “decline in trust” (the so-called “myth of science” being able to sort out every problem) is more an increased ability of laypeople to question and criticise science, instead of believing in the presumed monopoly of truth (e.g. Martin Bauer’s Post-Industrial PUS hypothesis). The “scientific citizen” is not meant to be a “good citizen” but what makes him or her a “smart citizen” is to be a knowledgeable and critical citizen.
Our project has somewhat proven how participatory science communication can go way beyond disseminating and promoting science.