Scientific culture and integration of all societal actors in the innovation and research processes is a requirement for the sustainable development of modern societies. The EU-funded PLACES (Platform of local authorities and cities engaged in science) project improved this area of action by establishing permanent working relations between policymakers, researchers, science communicators and citizens, and developing local action plans related with scientific or technical issues. An open web platform supported this network. The project engaged participants from over 60 cities and 23 European countries. About 290 museums, science centres, science festivals, universities, municipalities, regional development agencies, companies and non-governmental organisations collaborated with their respective local authority administrators, policymakers, research institutions and citizen associations. These actors, organized at local level in City Partnerships, conceived and implemented Local Action Plans and developed a series of innovative pilot initiatives; these constitute best practice examples and strategic visions addressing the future science communication policy development for over 50 cities. An international team of 23 experts developed a toolkit to evaluate and assess the impact of such initiatives at institutional, regional and national levels. Participating European Regions fostered networking between local and regional stakeholders and encouraged them to develop policies in science and technology communication through 18 workshops. Four international conferences attracted science communicators and policymakers from more than 60 cities to discuss potential cooperation. This resulted in training and support by science communicators for local and regional authority administrators. Additionally, the pilot activities, thematic working groups and impact assessments were put in place over the course of the project were deployed in the project Open Platform. It is currently being used as a dissemination tool, providing databases and resources for networking. The project produced surveys and reports describing how local actors and science interact in the various cities. These key documents make recommendations for building effective science communication policies in European cities. By empowering science communicators, decision makers and citizens alike, PLACES facilitated mutual understanding that supports concrete policymaking outcomes for science-related issues. PLACES was coordinated by Ecsite; other leading partners were Eusea, ERRIN and UPF-OCC."
Scientific culture, local authorities, scientific research, science communication