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CORDIS - EU research results

Quality of Scientific Information in the E.U. Governance Process


Specific Objectives:
The work proposed for this action addresses a number of objectives:
1. " Progress report of best practice in relation to e-governance (electronic and extended); production of guidelines (including analysis of pitfalls associated with potential information divide due to poor information quality) SOFTWARE TOOL AND BEST PRACTICE PROTOCOL;
2. To develop tools and methods to compare risk assessment methodologies and risk analysis results; to develop a strategy for assessing integrated risk, disseminate validated information and provide training on risk methodologies with special emphasis on Candidate countries. To enhance expression and communication of uncertainty and risk by coupling formal (e.g. sensitivity analysis) and informal (e.g. participatory) methods. To investigate issues of risk and trust in the relationship between science and governance;
3. To perform specific work on internal market indicators (including the internal market scoreboard) and for the Structural Indicators initiative. Basic statistical work on indicators, including composite indicators. To combine formal methods (such as sensitivity, institutional and multi-criteria analyses) and informal ones (e.g. participatory) for the construction of composite indicators.
Planned Deliverables:
1. Software tool and best practise protocol: based on a demonstration of best practice in relation to e-governance (electronic and extended); production of guidelines(including analysis of pittfalls associated with potential information divide due to poor information quality);
2. Workshop and associated proceedings: Organise a workshop on Science & Society interfaces to produce guidelines of best practice for communication between scientific and non- scientific audiences;
3. Case study selection and supporting information: Selection of a case-study chosen on the basis of its relevance for the inclusion of sustainability criteria in a sectoral policy context where scientific inputs are essential. Directorate K/DG RTD and the JRC will co- operate to develop conceptual approaches of new knowledge policies and methods required for quality assurance of policy making with regards to sustainable development;
4. Review of approaches for knowledge quality assurance for risk governance: Consolidation of work on knowledge quality assurance for risk governance;
5. Design, specification and prototype implementation of a multi-criteria tool for the selection of sub-sets and aggregation of composite indicators;
6. Guidelines for quality assurance of composite indicators derived through participatory research.
Summary of the Action:
The action aims at the development, testing and deployment of quality assessment methodologies of knowledge used to underpin EU policies having a possible impact on sustainability and e-governance in a knowledge-based society. Secondly, it aims at contributing to the development of a risk assessment platform by integrating expression and communication of uncertainty and risk by coupling formal and informal methods and investigating issues of risk and trust in the relationship between science and governance. In both tasks, innovative methodologies need to be developed and tested to assess the quality and reliability of knowledge across the systems involved in its production, use and communication. Rationale In a knowledge-based society new policies will be necessary to address the production, use and communication of information. These policies are inherently cross-sectoral and explicitly recognise the production of knowledge outside the traditional scientific sphere. New Information & Communication Technologies (the INTERNET, etc.) play a fundamental role on the development of this interface. The JRC experience in knowledge assessment methods and quality assessment procedures, both in terms of formal and informal methods, can contribute to addressing this challenge.

The procedures to be followed may be summarised as: stakeholder mapping, scoping and scenarios, multi-criteria evaluation methods, extended quality assurance and scientific pedigree. They include a set of complementary methods, both quantitative and qualitative, which in their combination provide an integrated approach to assess uncertainty, reliability, quality and legitimacy of scientific inputs to decision and policy making. This is based on NUSAP and PET (a Pedigree Scheme) and on methodologies for extended peer review deploying Information Technologies based social research (tuning contexts). The latter relates to key developments at the JRC on the design and implementation of ICT based tools for communicating scientific issues within policy and decision situations where science is relevant, contributing to enhance the e-governance process (electronic and extended).

This action is directly linked to the new governance initiative (relevant documents: EUROPEAN GOVERNANCE - A WHITE PAPER, COM(2001) 428 of 25/07/2001 and document "Democratising expertise and establishing scientific reference systems (group 1b)": and the Science & Society Action Plan initiative, which seeks to contribute to implementing the aforementioned White Paper. The key principles of the White Paper are: "Participation, openness, accountability, effectiveness and coherence". Specifically, this action is at the cutting edge developments for the Risk Governance chapter of the latter document, including the use of the Precautionary Principle.

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