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A European Multimedia Repository of Science

Final Report Summary - EMRS (A European Multimedia Repository of Science)

Progress in life sciences and biotechnology offers opportunities to improve human health, create new business and thus stimulate the economy. Provision of health to the people of Europe is one of the cornerstone activities of Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). Integrated multidisciplinary research and public acceptance of new research areas are central themes in the search for useful applications. It has been clearly stated by the European Commission that dialogue and quality information are essential in building up trust in new technologies and the decision making processes. Without this trust, there is little hope of going forward with innovation and increasing the competitiveness of the European Union on the world markets.

Although EU-wide surveys on biotechnology and the life sciences indicate that most Europeans are in favour of medical applications of biotechnology, constructive communication and dialogue efforts are needed to minimise unfounded concerns and maximise public empowerment. The EMRS project aimed to narrow the gap between science and scientists on the one hand and key stakeholders on the other. The EMRS project looked closely at European coordinated LifeSciHealth scientific research and its application for health. The objectives of this 60 months long project were to present pan-European health related research in a form that is easily understood and accessible to target groups (stakeholders), that included educators, the general public and media. The stakeholders were reached by using three communication platforms: multimedia DVDs, broadcasters and the internet.

Partners held three focus meetings, prepared seven films and three knowledge packages, created and expanded project website services and established a rapid response network to bring scientists in close contact with the stakeholders.

The European Union (EU) aim is to create a knowledge based economy through sustainable and responsible policies for life sciences and biotechnology. Open dialogue with our society is essential to ensure responsible development and application of life sciences and biotechnology and a competitive and proactive European presence on an international scene. Moreover, opening and bringing science to the stakeholders should create an environment where concerns are identified and dealt with before they become newspaper headlines and encourage participation of our society in exchange of information, opinions and debates. To that end, the EMRS project aimed to bring the latest advances in genomics and biotechnology research to the attention of key stakeholders and to engage target audiences in the discussion of health related issues. The expertise of the EMRS project members and their complementing expertises allowed the project to effectively address its objectives. During the 60 months project duration, partners organised focus meetings, created high quality films and knowledge content to be presented on different delivery platforms with high impact values, whether it is television, multimedia DVDs or internet. In this respect, the project website had been set up in format that is inviting to the general public as well as the youth. The EMRS project had its highest impact in formal and informal educational settings.

Teachers were especially happy to be offered new, up to date and high quality products for their classrooms. However, the importance of the general public was also acknowledged within the project by preparing content specifically directed towards this target group. An interesting bonus to the project is the fact that most deliverables will find an extra, future use in a current EU-funded project, the COMSCIENCE network, providing added value to EU research dissemination efforts at regional level. Here, deliverables of the EMRS project will be the subject of public meetings in Sweden, Spain, Belgium (French), Germany and the United Kingdom.

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