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Specific objective

The aim is to build effective cooperation between science and society, to recruit new talent for science and to pair scientific excellence with social awareness and responsibility.

Rationale and Union added value

The strength of the European science and technology system depends on its capacity to harness talent and ideas from wherever they exist. This can only be achieved if a fruitful and rich dialogue and active cooperation between science and society is developed to ensure a more responsible science and to enable the development of policies more relevant to citizens. Rapid advances in contemporary scientific research and innovation have led to a rise of important ethical, legal and social issues that affect the relationship between science and society. Improving the cooperation between science and society to enable a widening of the social and political support to science and to technology in all Member States is an increasingly crucial issue which the current economic crisis has greatly exacerbated. Public investment in science requires a vast social and political constituency sharing the values of science, educated and engaged in its processes and able to recognise its contributions to knowledge, to society and to economic progress.

Broad lines of activities

The focus of activities shall be to:
(a) make scientific and technological careers attractive to young students, and foster sustainable interaction between schools, research institutions, industry and civil society organisations;
(b) promote gender equality in particular by supporting structural changes in the organisation of research institutions and in the content and design of research activities;
(c) integrate society in science and innovation issues, policies and activities in order to integrate citizens' interests and values and to increase the quality, relevance, social acceptability and sustainability of research and innovation outcomes in various fields of activity from social innovation to areas such as biotechnology and nanotechnology;
(d) encourage citizens to engage in science through formal and informal science education, and promote the diffusion of science-based activities, namely in science centres and through other appropriate channels;
(e) develop the accessibility and the use of the results of publicly-funded research;
(f) develop the governance for the advancement of responsible research and innovation by all stakeholders (researchers, public authorities, industry and civil society organisations), which is sensitive to society needs and demands, and promote an ethics framework for research and innovation;
(g) take due and proportional precautions in research and innovation activities by anticipating and assessing potential environmental, health and safety impacts;
(h) improve knowledge on science communication in order to improve the quality and effectiveness of interactions between scientists, general media and the public.