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"Mainstreaming, Embedding, Integrating:" What difference does stakeholder engagement make on the impact of S&T research on public safety and security?

It will adress the link between stakeholder participation in European R&D for public safety and security, the responsiveness of the R&D agenda and the kind of impacts out of it. Illustrative cases will be drawn from the study of ethical, legal and social aspects of security-relevant R&D and their relevance for practice. Each of the invited speakers will elucidate the interface among researchers and policy makers, security providers, technology developers and entrepreneurs and the civil society.

26 July 2016 - 26 July 2016

Associated with that is a move towards stronger bottom-up agenda-setting to enhance responsiveness and societal relevance of research, but also towards integrating other societal stakeholders, than merely ‘embedding’ or ‘mainstreaming’ SSH participation in secondary roles. ‘Upstreaming’ of practitioners, along with ‘downstreaming’ of researchers can foster mutual awareness and commitment, and help produce socially robust, actionable knowledge for policy and societal practice.

Moreover, making research more demand-driven seems to be a prerequisite in order to enhance diffusion, uptake and impact out of it in policy and society. Instead of ‘blind’, indiscriminate promotion, targeted exchange with societal stakeholders from policy-making and public authorities, or with the for-profit and not-for-profit third sector facilitates and valorises research into innovation. By directing attention towards the study of organisational and institutional contexts of application, researchers should rethink about non-technological enabling or constraining conditions for innovation.

Challenge and questions to be addressed

The field of public safety and security is characterised by contentious politics and major societal controversies. Research in that field, as practised in Europe since the mid-2000s, attempts to respond to gaps both in knowledge and capacity with regard to disaster and crisis management, counter-terrorism and radicalization, organized crime and cyber-crime, as well as border control. Yet the risks of policies, and by default, also of research, to have non-intended and non-anticipated undesirable impacts, such as curtailing freedoms and liberties, and fostering inequalities, injustice, and discrimination of social, racial, and religious minorities, and thus ‘backfire’ on society are high. At the same time, the hurdles for useful research results to reach the right ‘users’ are rather high.

Given the current salience of protecting citizens against disasters, crime and terrorism, while adhering to fundamental rights and liberties, questions at this symposium will comprise:

1) Where ‘productive interactions’ which promote and consolidate impact of research take place among researchers and other stakeholders (Science-Policy-Society interface)?
2) How to foster reflexivity and legitimacy in shaping research agendas, so that research can become a societal ‘barometer’ and, in a forward-looking, anticipatory manner, also a ‘compass’ for emerging societal challenges to be addressed by policy and society?
3) Which procedural checks can ensure that R&D responds to citizens’ needs and concerns, that R&D is set to serve the public good, and that R&D can minimize if not prevent undesirable impacts?

Presentations of the Symposium
The business of societal impact / Societal impact as business

Gemma Galdon Clavell
Director of Eticas Research & Consulting

Why and how should we care about engaging civil society when it comes to security research
Vincenzo Pavone

Consejo Superior Investigaciones Científicas

Academic research and security practitioners

Francesc Guillén Lasierra
Direcció General Administració de Seguretat Departament Interior

More information about the symposium:

More information about the 1st Conference on Social Impact of Science (SIS2016):