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Science and Society in FP6

Why Science and Society in FP6 ?

80 % of Europeans believe that science will one day overcome diseases such as AIDS or cancer, but also that almost half of Europeans are both uninformed and uninterested in science. Citizens do not always trust science and scientists. On top, it was found out in a survey that young people do not find scientific studies and careers very attractive.

Therefore, a Science and Society Action Plan was adopted by Commission on 4 December 2001. It covers 38 actions, dealing around three goals:

  1. to promote scientific education and culture;
  2. to bring science policy closer to the citizens;
  3. to put responsible science at the heart of policy making.

In a nutshell, one can say that the Science and Society Action Plan is a strategy towards enhancing synergy between scientists, citizens and politicians. For details on the Science and Society Action Plan and for general information on Science and Society in Europe, you might visit the Science and Society in Europe website

Science and Society in FP6: the legacy

"Science and society" is defined as a new general domain in FP6. However, science and society activities are not new. In former Framework programmes (within the programme "improving human potential"), we already dealt with activities such as gender issues and raising public awareness, including prizes and science week networking. Furthermore, about 100 projects across the Fifth Framework Programme were dealt with for an ethical review. As such, within FP6 we can build on several elements which existed already in the past.

Science and Society in FP6: 2 pillars

Pillar 1. Science and society as component of FP6 within the Programme "Structuring ERA"

This "pillar" covers direct actions, for which a budget of 80 million euro is foreseen within FP6. This pillar is concentrated around 3 main axes and a certain number of particular targets.

  1. Bringing research closer to society. Scientific advice, governance & reference systems.
    This is about creating a more dynamic interface between science and policy making. Such as strengthening synergies between national strategies and approaches; and about the development and implementation of appropriate means for channelling scientific advice to policy-makers. Further, this axis also aims encouraging the active participation of society at large in policy development.

  2. Responsible research & application of S&T. Ethics in science.
    This area covers:
    • dialogue and information exchange between groups concerned with ethical issues (networking and dialogue between ethics bodies in and beyond Europe; the creation of a systematic information tool on ethical issues in science).
    • Raising the awareness of researchers on ethical issues
    • Deepening the understanding of ethical issues.
    Uncertainty, risk, and the precautionary principle
    This is about strengthening synergies between national approaches through promoting methodologies for addressing scientific uncertainty, risk governance and the precautionary principle in policy-making.

  3. Stepping up the science/society dialogue and women in science. S&T culture, young people, science education and careers.
    This area is concentrated on promoting science and scientific culture, particularly among young people; awards for scientific achievements, collaboration and communication; and on the promotion of young people's interest in science, enhancing science education and monitoring scientific careers. Science Awards .
    Women & science.
    This area is focused on stimulating the policy debate at national and regional level and mobilisation of women scientists. Also on the development of a better understanding of the gender issue in scientific research.

Pillar 2. Embedding of "Science and Society" across FP6

Every FP6 project will be appraised on aspects lined to:
  • gender
  • ethics (one might recommend an ethical review).
  • communication (public awareness, debate and education).
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