Commission brings science closer to society through new website
The European Commission has announced the launch of a new website for the MASIS ('Monitoring policy and research activities on Science in Society in Europe') project, which has been established as one of the strategic activities under the Science in Society (SiS) umbrella of the 2008 Capacities Work Programme.
The overarching aim of the MASIS project is to develop and maintain structural links and interaction opportunities between scientists, policymakers and society in general.
As part of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the SiS initiative aims to build an effective and democratic knowledge-based European society and help the European Research Area (ERA) to flourish. The MASIS project works like an observatory, designed to facilitate involvement and interaction between a wide range of stakeholders, and allow European citizens the chance to stay informed about SiS.
On the new site, users can find national reports on SiS policy and research activities across the Member States and Associated Countries. There are 38 comprehensive national reports covering a variety of issues.
Each report is structured around key themes. The first of these is the national context. Current debates surrounding the relationship between science and society in the respective countries are presented, as are national trajectories with regard to the place of science in society, and recent policy developments concerning science in society.
Priority setting, governance, and the use of science in policymaking in each country is also a key theme. The reports focus on the different actors involved in shaping the relationship between science and society, the kinds of formal and informal procedures facilitating public engagement with science, and national processes and procedures for using science-based knowledge and scientific advice in policymaking processes.
SiS-related research activities are also set out, with the aim of describing the scale and scope of research efforts in the respective countries, including emerging themes, targeted areas, strategies for embedding science in society issues in mainstream research, and funding structures and opportunities for SiS research.
The reports also monitor the variety of different activities concerned with public communication of science and technology, the intensity and complexity of science communication in the respective countries, and the different actors involved.
The SiS initiative was set up to tackle widespread concern and ambivalence about the role that science and technology plays in our everyday lives. The message is that science cannot work in isolation, and advances in science and technology are not an objective in their own right. The principal objective of the initiative is to communicate better on science and highlight its connection to other pillars of society such as democracy, law and ethics.
The website is therefore an opportunity to foster conversations between scientists and the general public.
In addition, it has become increasingly difficult to attract young people to take up a career in science, and there also exists a gender imbalance in science, engineering and technology. Although 59 % of graduates from European universities are female, only 18 % of professors are women. Another aim of the SiS initiative is therefore to inspire the next generation of scientists.
By encouraging dialogue between scientists and members of the public, promoting an adherence to ethical standards and developing wider access to research results, positive social engagement can ensure science maintains its rightful place at the forefront of the European public sphere.
For more information, please visit:
Science in Society portal:
Category: General policy
Data Source Provider: European Commission
Document Reference: Based on information from the European Commission
Subject Index: Policies; Scientific Research