Previous work on societal engagement has focused on specific technologies, notably nanotechnology, and their potential benefits and risks. The human dimension has also been considered, notably in manufacturing technologies. The proposal should build on this work, to engage with wider society in the broader context of key enabling technologies, in order to develop those technologies in ways that intrinsically reflect societal values and needs.
The proposal should launch a participatory multi-actor engagement process, including workshops, deliberations and working groups, using primarily existing practical models of engagement. The proposal should consider selected applications addressing global challenges, e.g. health, climate and the circular economy, as well as the changing nature of work.
This multi-actor engagement process should include appropriate disciplines of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), researchers, industry, manufacturers, professional users and citizens, paying attention to the roles of citizens as workers and consumers. The proposed action should take into account the diversity of cultural contexts of processes and communication within Europe, and start with an evaluation of previous related projects and societal debates on emerging technologies. It should use dynamic public engagement concepts designed specifically for co-creation. . The activities should take into account gender, social and cultural aspects, as well as existing knowledge on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU around EUR 1.5 million (depending on the additional activities pursued) would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Key enabling technologies[[https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/28e1c485-476a-11e8-be1d-01aa75ed71a1]] in addition to their importance to industry, provide new solutions to global challenges and are changing both societies and working conditions. Dialogue with citizens is therefore essential, in order to focus on the correct priorities and in identifying issues during development, as well as for building trust. The challenge is two-fold: (i) enhance public understanding of cutting-edge technologies and their diverse applications; and (ii) engage citizens in dialogue and co-creation on priorities, expectations and concerns.
- A toolbox, freely available to all stakeholders, for citizen engagement in key enabling technologies. This should cover practical steps to enable industry to work with citizens in order to recognise and respond to societal trends, and develop corporate social responsibility. This would subsequently be of use to technology projects and industrial partnerships.
- Recommendations and tested activities for citizen engagement in technologies, usable by industry, procurers (such as cities) and other stakeholders;
- An enhanced understanding of the role of key enabling technologies in society and in the workplace; and
- two-way citizen engagement in the strategies behind the support for, and applications of, key enabling technologies;