Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Policy Synthesis of EU Research Results, Series no 12: Science, Governance and Society, EUR 23169

Funded under: FP6-CITIZENS


This Synthesis Report reviews research commissioned over the past decade by the former DGXII of the Commission, on the theme of 'Science, Society and Governance'. This theme has become increasingly salient over that period, as the relations between science and its societal context have become problematic. For completeness, the Report also analyses the Science & Society Action Plan published by the Commission in 2003. All the reports are of high quality, and they are generally illuminating and useful studies of the topics concerned. As a set, they show an evolution over time, of depth and articulation in the study of the basic issues. Several of them raise issues that would well repay study in future research projects. On the basis of those reports together with the Action Plan, I am able to recommend a new strategic direction for research in the area. This would explore the consequences of the asymmetries among stakeholders in the current dialogues on science & society issues.
The background to this set of projects extends through the previous half-century, when the experience of the atomic bomb led eminent scientists, along with thinkers in society, to realise that science does not offer society unalloyed benefits. Science had become problematic, and ever since then, along with its increasing benefits to society have come increasingly severe and troubling problems. By the 1990's, these problems had evolved to the point where quite specific research projects could be organised around them. At first they were more on the positive side, exploring ways in which science could be better deployed and utilised in the European context. But during the decade, it became increasingly clear that the interface between science and society was itself quite problematic. Hence the later projects in the series are more focused on these new problems, and accordingly are deeper in their analysis of the issues.

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