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Dialogue Workshops

Strengthening the dialogue between European research and the changing European society

The European Commission launched in year 2000 a series of 'dialogue workshops' with the objective of mobilising research in social sciences and humanities for the benefit of citizens, policymakers, non-governmental organisations and business. The workshops were first launched within the framework of the Key Action 'Improving the socio-economic knowledge base of the 5th Framework Research Programme' and continue under the Priority 'Citizens and Governance in a Knowledge-based Society' of the 6th Framework Programme.

:: Aims of the 'dialogue workshops'

The European Union is undergoing radical changes in its social, economic, political, technological, demographic, cultural and institutional make-up. Changes range from the establishment of a common currency to the introduction of a European citizenship, and from new family structures to new ways of working. All this is taking place at a time when European enlargement is high on the agenda and Europe's global role is becoming more clearly defined.

Research can play a constructive role in helping us to understand these changes, by identifying opportunities and risks, and assessing the feasibility, acceptability and impact of different policy options. It is clear, however, that this lead can only be taken if research is open to those who are at the same time potential users of research, actors of change, and holders of important forms of practical knowledge. In other words, research should not only aim at 'communicating its results' to the people 'outside' the research system, but should also 'listen to and learn from' the experience and concerns of the various social actors or- as it is often said- the various 'stakeholders'.

Through its series of 'dialogue workshops', the EC Socio-economic Key Action intends to improve two-way communication - as opposed to the traditional one-way distribution of information - on a number of different but related issues or functions. Namely with a view to supporting policy formulation and implementation (e.g. by identifying options and assessing them in terms of perceived equity, economic efficiency, effectiveness in achieving stated objectives, etc.), formulating research agendas (e.g. in preparation of the next EC Framework Programme), providing evidence and arguments for informed public debate.

:: Issues/topics

The subjects addressed in the 'dialogue workshops' include topics based on 'mature' research and topics of a more exploratory nature. The first will relate to research supported under former programmes , such as the Targeted Socio-economic Research programme of 4th Framework Programme (FP) the Key Action 'Improving the Socio-economic Knowledge Base' of the 5th FP and Priority 7 'Citizens and Governance in a Knowledge-based Society' . The more 'exploratory' topics relate to emerging socio-economic issues and potential research priorities for future European research.

:: Format

The 'Dialogue Workshops take place normally in Brussels and involve between 40-50 participants from various fields (research from diverse disciplinary backgrounds: policymakers, non-governmental organisations, business representatives, etc.). To ensure in-depth and productive discussion sessions, a limited number of places are available in addition to the invited speakers and participants.

:: Plan of activities for the next months

  • The Social Europe, 2006
  • Migration, Social Cohesion and Diversity, 2006,
  • Europe in the World Context, 2006

:: Past Dialogue Workshops

  • Youth and European Identity project : Orientations of Young Men and Women to Citizenship and European Identity workshop , Brussels, 8 July 2004
  • EUROPUB: A European Public Space Observatory: Assembling Information that allows the monitoring of European Democracy workshop . 18 June 2004, Brussels.
  • EURONAT : Representations of Europe and the nation in Old and New member states media, elites and citizens workshop . 7 June 2004, Brussels.
  • INFOWORK - Social Cohesion, the Organisation of Work and Information and Communication Technologies (cluster activity workshop), March 2004.
  • Loc Nis - Labour, Organisation and Competence in National Innovation Systems (cluster activity workshop), February 2004.

:: Dialogue Workshops' Proceedings

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