PE2020 – Public Engagement Innovations for Horizon 2020
00014 Helsingin Yliopisto
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
€ 424 731,60
Pilvi Toppinen (Ms.)
Sort by EU Contribution
€ 92 294,25
€ 138 400
VIESOJI ISTAIGA VILNIAUS UNIVERSITETO TARPTAUTINIO VERSLO MOKYKLA
€ 116 310,69
LABORATORIO DI SCIENZE DELLA CITTADINANZA
€ 154 050,30
€ 70 537,60
€ 3 017,16
Grant agreement ID: 611826
1 February 2014
31 January 2017
€ 1 227 325,88
€ 999 341,60
This project is featured in...
Tools for public engagement will make European research more effective
Grant agreement ID: 611826
1 February 2014
31 January 2017
€ 1 227 325,88
€ 999 341,60
This project is featured in...
Discover other articles in the same domain of application
Final Report Summary - PE2020 (PE2020 – Public Engagement Innovations for Horizon 2020)
PE2020 identified, analysed and refined innovative public engagement (PE) tools and instruments for dynamic governance in the field of Science in Society (SiS). PE2020 continued the work began in the MASIS project (2010-2012) by going deeper in analysing the dynamics of PE innovations and contributing to the potential and transferability of new governance innovations. The vision guiding the work of this consortium was that more effective and socially acceptable decisions on science, technology and innovation (STI) are needed to solve the looming problems related to the grand societal challenges of the Horizon 2020, and, that public engagement has an untapped potential in addressing such challenges, and making research governance more dynamic and responsible. The work of this research project was, therefore, focused on tools and instruments for public and societal engagement that are necessary to boost the quality, capacity and legitimacy of European STI governance.
Reflecting this vision, the PE2020 project set two ambitious objectives. First, PE2020 aimed to create new knowledge of the status quo and trends in the field of public engagement in science. Following actions were carried out to reach this objective:
• an updated inventory of current and prospective European PE innovations was created (WP1)
• the dynamics of PE innovation was modelled through a sophisticated conceptual model emphasizing a systemic and contextual perspective (WP2)
• the feasibility of new PE tools and instruments was studied through pilot cases in the context of the grand societal challenges (WP3).
Second, PE2020 aimed to refine innovative PE tools and instruments and propose new ones. Following actions were carried out to reach this objective:
• seven innovative PE processes, collectively relating to the seven grand societal challenges of the Horizon 2020, were designed and tested in real-life contexts (WP3)
• an easily accessible web-based toolkit supporting the design of PE practices was created for the help of research managers, science policy actors and other interested users (WP4)
• dissemination activities were carried out extensively, in order to support the transfer of innovative PE practices among European countries and research and innovation actors (WP4).
Thus, PE2020 stood on two legs, one in academic research, the other in the practice public engagement. All the objectives of the PE2020 were met during the three year research process. Some of the key results include the catalogue of 38 innovative PE cases (D1.2) a conceptual model of public engagement in dynamic and responsible governance of research and innovation (D2.2) lessons from seven real-life PE pilots that were carried out in collaboration with international research programmes and analysed in a related report (D3.2) development of a webtool on public engagement in science (http://toolkit.pe2020.eu/) and organisation of a high level policy conference, where the key results of the PE2020 project were discussed with researchers, policy makers and other users of knowledge, and published in a Policy brief (https://pe2020.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Policy-brief-3_FINAL.pdf).
Project Context and Objectives:
Public engagement (PE) has become an important theme of European research and innovation activity. By setting PE as a key thematic element of its policy for responsible research and innovation (RRI), the European Commission has promoted fundamental changes in the ways, in which civil society and other stakeholders outside the scientific community influence – and are expected to influence – research activities. Promoting PE means giving more weight to citizens and stakeholders in the definition of research needs, in the critical reflection of current and future research priorities, and in the implementation of R&I activities. Yet there is limited understanding of the transformations that widespread use of PE will involve in R&I activities. Can PE remain an add-on to research and innovation activities, or does it involve some new functions, or even structural changes in the ways that research will be designed, funded, implemented and evaluated? How can PE contribute to a more dynamic governance of research and innovation, and what makes it successful in it? Without clear answers to these issues, there is a risk that PE does not serve RRI, but on the contrary, becomes a burden for R&I activities, and an obstacle for bridging of research and society.
In order to address these issues and questions, the overall objective of the PE2020 was to develop and disseminate a theoretically rich but practical conceptual model and toolkit of public and stakeholder engagement processes for science policy actors, and thus facilitate the cross-country transfer and localisation of European PE best practices. PE2020 also aimed to identify and develop new tools for dynamic governance of research and innovation, to help better addressing grand societal challenges. The objectives of the PE2020 were aligned with the underlying research programme SiS.2013.1.1.1-6 – Tools and instruments for a better societal engagement in "Horizon 2020".
In order to achieve these objectives, the PE2020 project set two ambitious goals, one being in the area of academic research, another in the area of PE practice and development of better governance practices.
As regards to academic research, PE2020 aimed at creating new knowledge of the status quo and trends in the field of public engagement in science. In particular, PE2020 aimed to identify and analyse innovative PE tools and instruments contributing to dynamic governance in the field of Science in Society. Compared to the MASIS project, PE2020 aimed to go deeper in such an analysis by a) creating an updated inventory of current and prospective European PE innovations, b) analysing the dynamics of PE innovation through a sophisticated conceptual model emphasizing a systemic and contextual perspective, and c) studying the feasibility of new PE tools and instruments through pilot case studies in the context of the grand societal challenges.
As regards to the development of better governance practices, PE2020 aimed to refine innovative PE tools and instruments and propose new ones. To support an easy access for policy makers to new PE tools and instruments, PE2020 aimed at: a) context-tailoring and piloting 2-6 best practice PE processes related to the grand societal challenges of the Horizon 2020, b) developing an accessible net-based PE design toolkit for science policy actors that c) helps identify, evaluate and successfully transfer innovative PE practices among European countries.
In addition to the direct objectives stated above, the project acknowledged indirect objectives that were related to the increased and sustained efforts to study and develop SiS governance capacity in Europe. It was acknowledged that continued analysis of innovative PE tools and instruments, by using a conceptually refined framework, can lead towards deeper understanding of innovative and context-wise PE practices that will aid the diffusion of PE practices across the European nations. Thus, a larger systemic transition toward more responsible and dynamic culture of research and innovation, was acknowledged as an important task, even though beyond the capacity of one single project.
In order to boost its capacity, the PE2020 project aimed to build on the outcomes of previous projects that had explored the dimensions of public and stakeholder engagement in STI (e.g. STEPE, SET-DEV, TECHNO-LIFE, VALUE ISOBARS, EU DEEPEN, PACITA, SYNTH-ETHICS, NANO-CODE, CIVISTI and FUTURAGE), and build new collaboration with on-going sister projects. Aligning activities with parallel research processes, PE2020 aimed at building such momentum that would contribute to the EU’s goals in stimulating citizens' active participation in EU policy-making, particularly in the forthcoming Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation.
Based on these objectives and goals, the PE2020 project defined following indicators that it used to monitor and evaluate the fulfilment of these goals:
A) as regards to the achievement of the main outputs of the project:
I. completion of the updated inventory of exemplary and innovative PE tools and instruments, including 50 internally reviewed case studies that are easily available through the webtool
II. creating of a theoretically rich but practicable conceptual model of PE across the dynamically governed research policy cycle and related participatory performance factors
III. organizing 2-6 pilots of context-tailored PE processes related to the societal challenges of the Horizon 2020
IV. developing an easily accessible net-based PE design toolkit for science policy actors that helps identify, evaluate and successfully transfer innovative PE practices among European countries.
B) as regards to the (existence of conditions for) high quality of the outcomes:
I. quality of the inventory (WP1):
• use of systematic methodologies to analyse the cases (including NVivo software for computer-assisted qualitative data analyses)
• reviews of the used analytical categories internally and across WPs (WP1 & WP2) using the organizers or managers of the case projects as informants (when applicable)
• organizing an international scientific workshop for reviewing the inventory and related analysis
• using the advisory panel and other external contacts as experts to ensure the quality and relevance of the catalogue provided.
II. quality of the conceptual model (WP2):
• building the conceptual model on high-level scientifically reviewed publications (many of which have been published during the last 5 years)
• reviewing the models internally by the social science experts among the consortium
• using the policy experts among and beyond the advisory board to review the models before they are reported
• presenting the models in international scientific conferences and publishing in peer reviewed jo testing the validity of the theoretical concepts in the practical contexts of the pilot evaluations.
III. quality of the pilot exercises (WP3):
• 2-6 pilots are organized in connection to research and innovation processes (e.g. research programmes) that are evidently linked to the grand societal challenges of the Horizon 2020
• pilots are planned and organized in close co-operation with the ‘host programmes’ (e.g. BONUS) thus ensuring that the stakeholders of PE tools and instruments will be actively involved
• planning the pilots in a manner that supports comparative insights and learning
• collecting participant feedback on the pilots and developing a formal protocol for data gathering and analysis
• publishing about the pilot case studies in academic publications
IV. quality of the PE design toolkit (WP4):
• building the toolkit on the basis of theoretically sound and practically tested elements created in WPs1-3
• explicitly documented requirements for the webtool
• minutes depository of communications with the web producer
• toolkit design documentation
• feedback data collected from the test users
• webtool visitor counter.
In addition to the substantial objectives of WPs 1-4, WP5 was dedicated to dissemination, with the aim of ensuring that all the results of the project be effectively disseminated to relevant STI actors, including EU and national level STI policy makers, researchers of public engagement and STI governance, and other users of knowledge. As a culmination of the dissemination activities, a Final Workshop was planned, where relevant stakeholders and collaborators would be invited. Finally, WP6 provided management services for the project, with the main objective to ensure that the project would be implemented according to the plan, and the Milestones achieved in the planned time schedule.
PE 2020 moved towards meeting its objectives via a closely linked chain of activities under six work packages. The key results were developed in WPs 1-5 as follows. New knowledge of the status quo and the trends in the field of public engagement was generated mainly in WP1 and WP2. New PE tools and instruments were experimented in WP3, by taking into account contextual factors that impact the successful design and implementation of such processes. A web-based toolkit that can be used in the identification and transfer of PE practices in EU member countries was created in WP4. WP5 was responsible for the dissemination activities, but it also coordinated the final policy conference that had an important role in the refinement and potential implementation of the results. WP6 (management) didn’t contribute to new knowledge, but ensured that the research process was as smooth as possible.
WP 1 - Exploring Public Engagement Innovations in Europe and beyond
The two main outputs of WP1 include an up-to-date inventory of 256 prospective European public engagement innovations that encompasses 76 mechanisms and 256 initiatives (D1.1) and a catalogue of 38 innovative cases (D1.2) that sets out to explore some of these innovative and cutting edge practices in depth and across different engagement categories and objectives to explore the breath of PE formats and their different relations to the Horizon 2020 societal challenges. In addition, the work package produced a report on the participation on a conference where the results were discussed with other social scientist (D1.3) and a summary report of the work package (D1.4). In the following sub-sections, the two main contributions of WP1 – an ‘inventory’ and ‘catalogue’ of PE – will be discussed in more detail.
Inventory of PE mechanisms and initiatives
The main objective of the first task of the data collection was twofold; to construct a systematically ordered inventory of public engagement innovations in Europe and beyond, and to crystallize an analytical approach that is able to capture variation in PE objectives and formats as well as their particular degrees of orientation towards the societal challenges identified in Horizon 2020. The inventory (D1.1) functions as an independent output that illustrates the scope and heterogeneity of both national and cross-national PE activities organised in Europe and further afield in a growing universe of PE initiatives worldwide. The construction of the inventory relied on a multilevel approach that was applied in the data collection process: desk research of research literature, surveys of innovative PE mechanisms and initiatives globally, and feedback from the partners and the international members of the advisory panel of PE2020.
As an empirical starting point were 37 national country reports of a previous European project Monitoring Policy and Research Activities on Science in Society in Europe (MASIS, 2010-12), but a significant and a more up-to-date input was reached through a co-operation with the simultaneously organised, yet shorter, Engaging Society in Horizon 2020 -project (Engage2020, 2013-2015). The Engage2020 project, a sister project to PE2020, conducted a survey among international scholars in the field of research and innovation in order to map the use of methods for societal engagement in activities related to research and innovation. The PE2020 inventory adds in these survey results where supplementary mechanisms and specific initiatives are located. A third data source consists of 50 SiS case studies conducted by the Technopolis group (1st version, May 2012) as a part of the mid-term SiS programme evaluation. Relevant examples of PE mechanisms/initiatives among these 50 case studies, which include cross-national PE activities have been reviewed and added to the PE inventory. Other relevant current or completed EU SiS projects were also reviewed, although less systematically, and incorporated into the PE database.
Furthermore, a literature review was conducted comprising of both academic journals as well as ‘empirical’ reports addressing PE activities. The academic journals Public Understanding of Science, Science Communication, Science, Technology, and Human Values, and Science and Public Policy were examined for recent articles concerning ‘public engagement’, since these journals represent primary outlets for academic analysis of PE activities. This systematic procedure included recent articles published from 2008 onwards. External sources such as internet sources (e.g. homepages of institutions, organisations, centres etc. engaged with public engagement activities) supplemented data collection. Additional cases suggested by project partners and international advisory board members were also added to the inventory.
The inventory of current and prospective European public engagement innovations encompasses 76 mechanisms and 256 initiatives. The inventory is presented under the five headlines specified in the section below: public communication, public activism, public consultation, public deliberation and public participation, which form a typology of PE mechanisms or initiatives. The inventory furthermore applies a simple, dual classification scheme distinguishing between PE mechanisms (which are generic ways of enacting public engagement) and PE initiatives (which are the concrete examples of specific engagement activities). This basic classification scheme primarily functions as a means for arranging the empirical cases in an accessible and informative way, and it is meant to reduce complexity in a highly complex database.
• Public communication – the aim is to inform and/or educate citizens. The flow of information constitutes one-way communication from sponsors to public representatives, and no specific mechanisms exist to handle public feedback (examples include public hearings, public meetings and awareness raising activities).
• Public activism – the aim is to inform decision-makers and create awareness in order to influence decision-making processes. The information flow is conveyed in one-way communication from citizens to sponsors but not on the initiative of the sponsors as characterizes the ‘public consultation’ category (examples include demonstrations and protests).
• Public consultation – the aim is to inform decision-makers of public opinions on certain topics. These opinions are sought from the sponsors of the PE initiative and no prescribed dialogue is implemented. Thus, in this case, the one-way communication is conveyed from citizens to sponsors (examples include citizens’ panels, planning for real and focus groups).
• Public deliberation – the aim is to facilitate group deliberation on policy issues of where the outcome may impact decision-making. Information is exchanged between sponsors and public representatives and a certain degree of dialogue is facilitated. The flow of information constitutes two-way communication (examples include ‘mini publics’ such as consensus conferences, citizen juries, deliberative opinion polling).
• Public participation – the aim is to assign partly or full decision-making-power to citizens on policy issues. Information is exchanged between sponsors and public representatives and a certain degree of dialogue is facilitated. The flow of information constitutes two-way communication (examples include co-governance and direct democracy mechanisms such as participatory budgeting, youth councils and binding referendums)
Catalogue of public engagement innovations
The second task of the work package aimed to identify a number of initiatives for in-depth exploration in terms of innovative characteristics, orientation towards societal challenges, advantages and obstacles etc. The main purpose of the catalogue was to further explore and understand innovative PE practices, and provide a platform for international inspiration and learning within a PE setting that is constantly in a state of flux. The data served as a foundation for further conceptual analysis in terms of dynamic governance of the PE (WP2) as well as the pilot selection (WP3) and the toolkit construction (WP4).
As a basis for selecting the case studies included in the catalogue, a nomination procedure was implemented, that included the full consortium and the international advisory board (10 nominators in total). Each nominator was invited to select and rank 10 innovative initiatives each using a specific tailored template. Nominations were to take into account six sets of criteria of innovativeness delineated below, and nominators were requested to qualify each nominated initiative by providing a reflection on the initiative on the backdrop of the selection criteria. If supplementary criteria were used for nomination, each nominator was kindly asked to state these as well.
The following six pre-constructed criteria of innovativeness were applied sin the case selection and qualification (see D1.2 for more details):
• Hybrid combinations
• Methodological novelty
• Inclusive new ways of representation
• Potential impact
• Bearing on societal challenges
• Societal challenges
The criteria put forth were based on prior theoretical and empirical knowledge of the field, and in agreement with the explorative approach, they remained fairly open, inclusive and broad in order to reach a more comprehensive assessment of innovativeness and to deepen and complement our evolving understanding of the notion of innovativeness in public engagement. On the basis of the nomination process, a total of 62 nominations were obtained. Subsequently, case coordinators were identified as informants of the survey. Based on a common contact-protocol, each consortium partner personally contacted a number of case coordinators with information on the project and the objectives of the survey. Upon these personal contacts between the consortium partners and the informants, 56 questionnaires were dispatched. Following a procedure of reminders and follow-up contacts with targeted informants, a total of 38 case descriptions were collected.
The catalogue of PE innovations is a collection of detailed case descriptions and reflections provided by individual case coordinators with particular expertise with the initiative in question. The approach of including expert descriptions allowed for in-depth and first-hand reflections, experiences and information at a level of detail, which would have been difficult to access otherwise. Each coordinator completed an open-ended survey exploring key features of the initiative, including the innovative dimensions of the particular PE case; outcomes and impacts; case relations to policy decision-making processes; the advantages and challenges associated with the case and according to the Horizon 2020 societal challenges. The common survey structure allowed for horizontal comparisons of PE innovations while the open and qualitative approach simultaneously enables a more inductive and nuanced examination of the concept and features of innovative practices. Each case was classified according to the following main categories:
• PE category: Public communication, Public activism, Public consultation, Public deliberation, public participation
• Mechanism: Generic ways of enacting public engagement, e.g. consensus conference, participatory budgeting etc.
• Main purpose of initiative: Awareness raising, education and capacity building, protest, community building, consultation, dialogue/deliberation, knowledge co-production; co-governance.
• Geographical scale: Global, European, National, Regional, Local/urban, and institutional.
• Organizing entity: National governmental body, local governmental body, academic institution, NGO, community based organisation, non-profit organisation, science museum/centre, industry and business.
• Target groups: Lay publics, researchers, stakeholder organisations/groups, experts, public officials
• H2020 Societal Grand Challenges: Health, demographic change and wellbeing; Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research, and the Bioeconomy; Secure, clean and efficient energy; Smart, green and integrated transport; Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials; Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies; Secure societies - protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens.
It has been stressed that ‘innovations are more than ideas and theories; they are ideas in action’ and that ‘good innovations depend on ideas that can be implemented successfully’ (Newton 2012:5). The initiatives included in the catalogue cover a wide field: from small-scale experiments to large-scale innovations, from local settings to transnational co-operations, from grass-root activities to national institutionalised mechanisms, and from awareness raising activities to direct power sharing exercises, among others. Common to all of them is their successful implementation and achievements of objectives and actions stated.
In our view, the case collections carried out in WP1 have been especially valuable in the following ways:
• The cases have provided illustration, examples, and inspiration for researchers, research managers, policy makers and other actors interested in PE, who either hesitate in starting to invest in more inclusive governance practices, or who are convinced that it should be done, but lack examples of how to do it practically.
• Knowledge of the experience (of success and failure) from these cases, has helped to refine and ‘context tailor’ new PE initiatives toward more successful activities than would have otherwise be possible.
• Collaborating with pilot PE processes has helped to recognize that the study of contextual factors is challenging. Research programmes are in many ways rooted in their local and international contexts, in ways far more complex than what can be accounted in the relatively short (c. 5-10 pages) case descriptions in D1.2.
• The PE cases collected in WP1 have been an invaluable data for the development of a conceptual model of the dynamic governance under WP2.
• The catalogue of innovative PE cases has also provided the basis for selecting seven PE pilot initiatives that were organized and evaluated under WP3.
• The innovative PE cases were an important element in the building of the PE2020 toolkit that help RDI policy designers to identify and develop PE practices for their own purposes in WP4 of the PE2020 project.
WP2 – Conceptualising PE’s role in dynamic and responsible governance of R&I
The main output of WP2 is the ‘Conceptual Model of Public Engagement in Dynamic and Responsible Governance of Research and Innovation’ (D.2.2) that aimed to elaborate a conceptual framework of PE, where innovativeness, participatory performance and dynamic governance are on the focus. D2.2 provides unique theorising and empirical findings on 38 innovative PE processes scanned globally and analysed systematically by using a ‘PE footprinting’ method that was created for this purpose. D2.2 was later modified to a form of a book manuscript that was submitted to an academic publisher (Routledge). Other outputs of WP2 include a refined typology of PE tools and instruments (D2.1) a summary report (D2.3) and a literature review that was an additional (non-formal) deliverable of the project. The results of WP2 are summarised in the following sub-sections, and key observations indicated at the end of the section.
New methodological issues and approaches
Resulting from the collaboration of WP1 and WP2, we built a new categorisation of PE methods in five main methodological clusters: public communication, public consultation, public deliberation, public participation and public activism (Figure 1– see the attachment). The categorisation is based on a fusion of two classic models, Arnstein’s (1969) ‘ladder of participation’, which pays attention to the levels that political power assigned to the participants, and Rowe and Frewer’s (2005) model, which pays attention to the directions of information flows between sponsors and participants. Both formal (e.g. organised deliberation process) and non-formal (e.g. public activism) PE processes can be included in these categories.
We found this categorisation to be useful in acknowledging different supportive and functional roles of PE processes in contributing to R&I activities (Figure 1 – see the attachment). At the same time, however, we found these five categories to ‘leak’ in two ways. First, per definition, public communication and public consultation are ‘one-way’ approaches, while at the same time we found most of the innovative PE processes to be essentially ‘two-way’ processes. Second, many individual cases were difficult to allocate under one category only. For example, a highly exploratory PE case, ‘Breaking and Entering’, was classified under ‘public communication’, even though we recognised that this endeavour tried to go beyond the limits of traditional science communication. In future mapping of PE processes, there clearly is room for further conceptual elaboration.
In order to study the characteristics and trends of innovative PE, and build a conceptual model of PE, we developed a new ‘footprinting’ methodological approach to study the inputs and outputs of PE. The footprinting resulted in ‘cognitive maps’ that describe the most essential features of each PE case. An example is provided in Figure 2 (see the attachment).
As PE processes are often complex and fuzzy processes and therefore difficult to capture and compare, we found the footprinting method to be a useful approach combining both bottom-up and top-down approaches in the analysis. We recommend the footprinting approach to be used in occasions, where there is a need for comparing and analysing highly diffuse processes such as PE activities.
Reflection on the categories of PE
In D2.1 we qualified and critically discussed the categories used in WP1 analysis of the case studies (see Fig. 1).
Most literature suggested that public communication or spread of information is not effective anymore, but remains an important basis for PE activities (Marks, 2013). We suggested that it is important pay attention to the different ways in which information is shared, including the following channels:
• Online communication refers to reading, writing and communication via computers, for example, e-newsletter, blogs, emails, Skype.
• Social networking refers to a structure or platform made up of a set of individuals or organisations, for example, Facebook, Twitter, charity organisations.
• Engagement transfers refer to technologies or other mechanisms which enables public to become engaged and involved, for example, Apps.
• Non-ICT-based communication refers to non-computer based communication (events, traditional media-based communication, etc.).
• Science education refers to delivery of PE activities in two-way-flow of information and it relates specifically to higher education institutions, focuses on issues like productive learning and quality. It is tied to formal educational system. First, engaging students in science learning and improving their ability to communicate science to wider audience, and, second, supporting and encouraging researchers to participate in such kind of engagement, for example, science communication subject in a study course.
Most of literature described public consultation as a process that elicits ‘raw’ opinions from the public. A general limitation of public consultation is the lack of political impact. A critical distinction is whether public consultation is targeted or non-targeted in regard to specific societal groups, which is often related to the topic of the consultation.
Considering public deliberation as one approach can also be questioned on the basis that there can be different sub-types of public deliberation. We found following instances of public deliberation that might be used in a more nuanced classification of PE processes (Embedding Impact Analysis in Research, 2013):
• Deliberative research is built on market research mechanisms, for example, citizens’ surveys.
• Deliberative dialogue is built on communication mechanisms, enabling experts and non-experts to work together, for example, citizens’ agenda.
• Deliberative decision making is built on partnership mechanisms, enabling public and decision-makers to decide jointly on programme priorities; for example, EC green papers.
Public participation was defined among the strongest ways of public engagement, where the aim is to assign partly or full decision-making power to citizens. We found the following examples of potentially relevant categories of public participation:
• Multiple-engagement refers to PE at different times with varying degrees and forms of participation to achieve desired goals, i.e. different segments of population will respond differently to different strategies. In some cases, it might mean Facebook, in other cases, face-to-face communication.
• Multiple-partnership is built on partnership with various organisations or states in order to enable them to develop skills for engaging with each other which enables them to work effectively for the same goal, for example partnership between university and museum, cooperation between two or more countries.
• Multiple-funding refers to a variety of funding, i.e. co-funding, for example, a programme financed by national foundation and EU programme.
Public activism, can be characterised as a category, where self-determination for PE is emotionally interlinked to individual values and emotions provoking a sense of urgency. For this reason, public sensitiveness is an important aspect of public activism.
We conclude that there has been a shift of PE from traditional models of public communication and consultation, where dialogue between decision makers and the public is narrow and restricted, to public deliberation where such dialogue is intensive and influential and that PE is the major element for successful implementation of responsible research and innovation policy.
Understanding dynamic governance
Dynamic governance refers to the ability of policy making to handle issues in a rapidly changing environment requiring continuous adjustment of policies and programmes. In this framework, dynamic governance involves dynamic interactions between scholars, citizens, industry and government as an exploratory, inductive approach in setting performance standards for responsible research and innovation. Following Neo and Chen (2007), we included anticipation, reflexivity and transdisciplinary mobilisation of resources among the key capacities that help policy makers to manage complex issues dynamically in modern research and innovation policy systems. We also included continuation as an additional key capacity for dynamic governance. Continuity is needed to balance accelerated change caused by increasingly dynamic governance actions.
In D2.2 we also tracked activities that contributed to the four capacities of dynamic governance: anticipation, reflection, transdisciplinarity and continuity. In addition, we tracked other activities and capacities, and analysed whether they were substantively, practically or normatively oriented. Table 1 summarises this analysis and gives an extensive list of example of how in practice innovative PE can contribute to such capacities that can contribute to more dynamic and responsible governance of research and innovation.
A tradition view of policy cycle is based on the notion that changes in research policy are usually a response to a societal problem or set of problems in different sectors: energy, security, economy, culture, etc. starting with a monitoring and appreciation of these sectors and their contexts. An expectation is that topical societal issues of different political areas are likely to affect the agenda setting and decision making and even implementation processes of research policy.
However, we observed that the process of policy making is more complicated than presumed by the traditional view of policy cycle. The substance, pace and scope of the policy cycle is no longer dependant only on the leaders of the organisations or from dynamics fully internal to the organisation. Instead, policy making implies networking among different stakeholders. In particular, while introducing participatory mechanisms into the policy cycle further involves and sustains dynamism in governance activities. Therefore, a more realistic representation of a policy cycle under the condition of dynamic governance is that of a chaotic and confusing network (Figure 3 – see the attachment).
Evaluating the success of PE
An important task of WP2 was to understand the characteristics of successful PE, and propose how success could be evaluated. This process resulted in several evaluation criteria (Table 2) as well as a general definition of successful PE: Successful PE involves relevant people with appropriate methods and goals, while leaving a big ’footprint’ on research, innovation and society.
Considering that both the definition and the synthetic model of PE evaluation are both based on a systematic study and reflection of different success criteria, they can provide a more solid and holistic basis for future evaluations of PE processes.
We defined innovative PE as new participatory tools and methods that have the potential to contribute to a more dynamic and responsible governance of R&I.
We distinguished two types of drivers for the changing practice of PE:
• Necessity to find more effective responses to the societal challenges and other problems of governance, such as decreased trust toward decision makers or societal acceptance of technological solutions.
• Emerging opportunities provided by new information and communication technologies that provide new tools for the practice of governance, for example, crowd-sourcing for the formulation of public policies, or citizen science for providing evidence of new phenomena and research issues that are important for the public at large or some local groups of citizens.
We found out innovative PE processes as reflecting following characteristics: 1) institutional hybridity; 2) methodological solutions; 3) levels of representation; 4) impact; 5) responsiveness to societal challenges; 6) groups’ involvement; 7) cultural dimension; 8) policy relevance; and 9) communication flows. In addition, we evidenced that ‘upstream engagement’ (e.g. Joly and Kaufmann, 2008) is an increasingly supported approach among innovative PE processes. Further, we observed that innovative PE has contributed to new capacities that help research actors to address societal challenges and complex governance problems better. In particular, we found innovative PE to be effective in conducting international science diplomacy, creating collaborative efforts and enduring networks that can foster and spread new SiS practices in EU partner countries and beyond. Finally, we found that Innovative PE seems to have truly versatile impacts, not only on research and innovation but also on the environment, society, politics – and individuals. Innovative PE only limitedly contributed to new scientific knowledge.
A model of participatory performance
‘Participatory performance’ refers to the functions of PE, and to the scope and intensity of such activities. To study and understand participatory performance we elaborated two conceptual frameworks. First, we created an analytical model that focused the analysis of the 38 innovative PE cases. Second, synthetising the main findings of the analysis, we created a ‘composite model of participatory performance’ (Figure 4 – see the attachment) that put PE in the perspective of dynamic and responsible governance of research and innovation. We analysed participatory performance by tracking such activities that contributed to the capacities of dynamic governance, including anticipation, reflection, transdisciplinarity and continuity. The ‘composite model of participatory performance’ explains how functions and capacities of PE contribute to dynamic and responsible governance of R&I and integrates the various elements and aspects discussed: capacities, linkages between capacities, able people, agile processes and dynamic and responsible R&I policy, as well as policy culture (including not only the EU’s strategic priorities related to openness, but also the five thematic pillars underlying the EU’s RRI policy – PE, open access, gender, ethics, science education).
Considering that the ‘Composite model of participatory performance’ is based on an original yet systematic analysis of most innovative PE processes globally, this conceptualisation could provide substantiated theoretical perspective on how PE can contribute to better governance of R&I within and beyond the activities of the European Commission and its RRI and PE policies.
A positive vision of PE – and its obstacles
In D2.2 defined our ‘vision of PE benefitting European R&I activities’ as follows:
Better involvement of actors occurs when the ‘right people’ are gathered together to address the ‘right issues’ through the ‘right PE tools and methods’, which can contribute to a better quality of research and R&I governance.
This is not a simple fact to happen along with careful use of even the best PE tools and instruments, as there are several obstacles that make this process challenging in many ways. The key obstacles identified included (in a decreasing order of influence): 1) capacity-based obstacles, 2) motivational obstacles, 3) technical obstacles, 4) low impact, 5) Financial and resource based obstacles, 6) cultural obstacles, 7) external or environmental obstacles, and finally 8) ‘deficit based’ obstacles that didn’t play a remarkable role.
• There has been a shift of PE from traditional models of public communication and consultation, where dialogue between decision makers and the public is narrow and restricted, to public deliberation where such dialogue is intensive and influential.
• PE is a major element for successful implementation of responsible research and innovation policy. In particular, innovative PE tend to cause truly versatile impacts, not only on research and innovation activities but also on the environment, society, politics – and individuals.
• Compared to the high expectations, however, PE is currently too weak to redeem its promises of increased societal relevance and high impact on research and innovation. An inadequate capacity of the organisers of PE to manage complexities involved is the main challenge.
• Studied PE processes were highly limited in their contribution to the production of scientific knowledge. At the same time we acknowledge that citizen science and science shop activities have been highly successful in this area, and that they will most likely expand in the near future.
• For successful PE it is crucial to engage different groups of public, which should be equipped with skills required for each level of policy cycle. In particular, we found that three quarters of the PE cases studied involved the ‘fourth sector’ by including e.g. randomly selected citizens, individual philanthropist or hybrid networks.
• We evidenced that ‘upstream engagement’ is an increasingly supported approach among innovative PE processes, especially in anticipatory projects.
• Creation of continuity should be acknowledged as an important capacity that is needed both to balance dynamic governance, help structuralize PE, and sustain dynamism in the long run.
WP3 – Context-tailoring and piloting of best practice PE processes
WP3 designed and implemented seven PE pilots (or ‘pilot initiatives’ as they were called during the project) that were organised in the context of on-going research programmes in Finland and Italy. WP3 was carried out in phases that marked a participatory and dynamic process. The work began with dialogues with the major science policy actors in Finland and Italy, aimed at preparing the ground for co-designing the pilot initiatives. Such actors provided access to similar bodies abroad and useful information for the design of the pilot initiatives. In the second phase, the task was to identify potentially transferable practices (task 3.2) by scanning the most innovative and suitable PE practices from among those identified in Work Package One (WP1). This was done in co-operation within the contexts of the pilot initiatives, and the main criterion was to emphasise feasibility and innovativeness. WP3 also supported the overall mission of the PE2020 project: to identify, analyse and refine innovative public engagement (PE) tools and instruments for dynamic governance in the field of Science in Society (SiS).
The experiences of organising the pilots and key results of subsequent analysis are reported in the following subsections. Key observations from WP3 are reported at the end of this section.
Organising seven pilot initiatives
The pilot initiatives of WP3 represent different types of cases, with a mix of bottom-up and top-down led cases, as well as others with up-stream and down-stream dimensions. Overall, the organisation of the pilot initiatives was considered to be ‘product development’, during which on-going PE practices would be boosted with the knowledge gained from the research in PE2020.
The seven pilot initiatives were co-designed and implemented with our target research projects and programmes by funding agencies. They were carried out with the WP3 guidelines, taking into account contextual requirements, creation of a comparative research perspective, documentation of the pilot initiatives and the experiences for further evaluation purposes.
As a result of the preparatory discussions held with the major science policy actors on the identification of potentially transferrable practices, the pilot initiatives were initiated having taken into account:
• that the international research programmes and prioritisation of research were acknowledged as interesting contexts for pilot initiatives
• that the pilot initiatives should be chosen on the basis of not only their cutting edge PE activity but also their (expected) feasibility in practice
• the limited time devoted to the pilot initiatives and the difficulties in trying to align the schedules of PE2020 project and the partners
• the importance of keeping in mind the limited resources available for the pilot projects.
In the next phase, context tailoring workshops were organised. The intention was to design and implement public engagement tools and instruments in local contexts, to establish guidelines for future context tailoring workshops, and to establish detailed guidelines for pilot initiatives based on the available resources. The purpose of the context tailoring was to consider the factors that precondition successful design and implementation of PE tools and instruments in local contexts.
WP3 identified and started to work with six pilot initiatives related to Societal Challenges. The design of the PE processes to be tested took into account a) contextual requirements, b) creation of a comparative research perspective and c) documentation of the pilot initiative experiences for further evaluation purposes (participant observation, and manager and participant surveying and interviews). Practical scripts were prepared and included in report D3.1 to support of the implementation of the pilot initiatives.
Pilot initiatives were chosen on the basis of their cutting-edge PE activity. New types of institutional collaboration and hybrid activities were considered to be particularly interesting themes.
In Finland, a context tailoring workshop was organised to help in designing and implementing the following pilot initiatives:
• BONUS young scientists’ initiative
• Global change living lab
• Societal impacts and stakeholder involvement in research grants
• Societal interaction in the Strategic Research Council
In Italy, context tailoring activities were organised to support the following pilot initiatives:
• Empowering young researchers in PE in energy efficiency (Rome)
• Dialogue Workshop on mobility and transportation (Naples)
• Educating science-society relations and public engagement (Turin)
In the analytical process of the pilot initiatives we identified innovative PE methods that had created positive results with regard to the quality of the research projects, as well as the actors involved in them. The PE methods used in the pilot initiatives varied from more conventional science communication and focus group discussions to highly collaborative co-creation practices. They were implemented in varying contexts and circumstances, and in different scientific disciplines. However, in all the pilot initiatives, the PE methods that were chosen and applied in the research projects were found to be useful by and for the projects in question.
Interestingly, while evidence of impact could be traced in each of the seven pilot initiatives, it was not always with regard to policy. Rather, in some cases – such as the Living Lab (Finland) – the impact was clearly visible but focused towards the practice and spreading of PE, rather than policy as such. In other words, responsiveness to the interests of collaborative partners should be included in the list of indicators of PE impact. PE actions within projects can have an effect through a method of repeating similar exercises that develop partners’ skills in PE while remaining open for actions to be adjusted during the process, if such needs arise from the collaboration itself. Another finding with regard to the process of studying pilot initiatives was the evidence. The pilot initiatives were expected to increase knowledge on new institutional collaboration and hybrid activities as reported in PE deliverables D1.2 and 2.1.
In four of the seven pilot initiatives, collaboration with the PE2020 project was reported to have directly positive effects. These were reported as part of the reflective feedback process that was built into each of the pilot initiatives. The process provided an opportunity for the core staff as well as participants of the workshops, training sessions, funding calls etc. to provide their views and describe the impact that participation in the pilot initiative had on their own work situation, the setting in which they work and the ways in which they address PE after the initiative.
While all these initiatives had a proactive and positive attitude towards public engagement to start off with, there was strong motivation and ability to test PE tools and develop their functions during the process of cooperation and analysis. This openness to applying new working methods was visible in both on-going research programmes (Global Change and BONUS) as well as programmes that were in the final planning or initial application phases (SRC and JPI/MYBL). Such a constructive attitude at the programme level seems to have trickled down to individual research projects. These benefits were seen, above all, in the fact that the pilot initiatives improved the quality, awareness and effectiveness of the activities tested in the pilot initiatives. The feasibility was verified in connection with the BONUS pilot initiative, for example. Regarding the use of ICT technology (including social media platforms), the extended dissemination and opportunities were improved especially for young researchers of the projects.
Overall, a key finding of all the pilot initiatives and the study of them in WP3 is the steep learning curve that is strongly present. Learning, as a result, corresponds with the variations found in aspects of the impact of PE activities. As regards to impacts, we found them to vary from those related to policy, to more practice-focused or discussion activating impacts. As for learning, the working methods, timeframes and approaches of PE activities have changed as part of the piloting. This reflects the participants’ understanding of the context in which they work and the need to accept that a ‘one size fits all’ solution is neither available nor desirable. Such reactions are visible in the SRC and JPI/MYBL cases, for example. In the case of the pilot initiatives carried out in Rome and Turin, the learning process was favoured by the interest of the researchers involved, who wanted to have a better understanding of their own professional work and role. In the case of the pilot initiative in Naples, the learning process was activated by the interest of the parties in interacting with each other in a common public space. It is therefore not surprising that the pilot initiatives and WP3 itself have evolved during the process. They have altered plans as a reaction to realisations that the methods or practices initially planned could not produce the results they were after or help to meet the strategic goals they had defined. This type of learning can be seen in the Living Lab and BONUS pilot initiatives.
Some practical lessons have been learnt from the analysis of the pilot initiatives. These lessons are transferrable to other research projects that have public engagement in the overall approach, and where interaction with broader society is built into the working methods of the project. The main lessons can be summarized through the following points that we found to be critical for a successful design of PE pilots:
• identifying a basic cultural platform
• embedding PE initiatives in a broader change perspective
• incorporating the private sector in public engagement
• taking professional and disciplinary resistance seriously
• reducing the use of participants’ / partners’ time
• the importance of motivation and investing in a positive attitude should never be underestimated.
The pressure to find solutions that match the style and obligations of the new funding programmes has been strong. However, the research consortia that have been successful in the initial phases have demonstrated their ability to develop both their knowledge and skills in public engagement. A major contributing factor that was visible in the pilot initiatives is a process that encourages commitment from researchers and partners alike. In practice, a critical impetus has been created by workshops that were arranged by the research consortia in the early stages of the projects. The workshops enabled the researchers to examine critically who their central partners could be and the type of societal impact that was being strived for with the project.
The project consortia have been able to create a joint commitment to a shared cause. They have allowed space for scientific, practitioner and ‘field’ expertise to flourish within the project. As such, they have created opportunities for the cross-breeding of ideas and the exchange of different types of knowledge. As a result of the process, the researchers have gained new competencies and found new ways to study major societal challenges.
The organisation of the pilot initiatives was considered to be ‘product development’, through which on-going PE practices are boosted with the knowledge gained from the research in PE2020. The method of testing in the pilot initiatives followed a dialogue-based approach in which the logic of co-creation was outspokenly present. In addition to producing systematic, comparable knowledge from the seven pilot projects, the efforts in WP3 have also allowed for the development of an understanding of the internal processes and logics which push for change in the working methods of research groups.
WP4 – Toolkit for the design of public engagement
The main result of WP4 was a web-based toolkit on public engagement in science that aims to help research managers, policy makers and other users to adopt, adjust and implement PE processes for their different needs. The construction of the Toolkit was based on the overall experience and deliverables produced under the PE2020 project, including the Catalogue of PE initiatives, the theoretical work made under WP2 on the conceptual model of PE, the relations between PE and dynamic governance and the notion of innovative PE, and finally, the six PE pilot initiatives carried out in WP3.
The main results of WP4 are reported in the following sub-sections, followed by key observations at the end of the section.
Analysis of existing PE toolkits and design and development to the PE2020 toolkit
As a preliminary activity of WP4, around 30 existing toolkits were identified and 18 of them were analysed in-depth. The results of this analysis have been published in D4.1 which is also a document where the design of the PE2020 Toolkit was drafted. The design encompassed all the aspects of the Toolkit, such as contents, structure, components and layout.
While the content of the toolkit was developed by the consortium, in particular the leader of WP4, the technical realisation of the webtool was done by a sub-contractor (Danish Board of Technology Foundation, DBT). To make the toolkit user friendly, feedback from eight experts coming from different walks of life was collected and used in the revision of the tool. Moreover, the first version of the Toolkit was presented at the Hands-on session of the final policy conference, titled “Public Engagement for Research, Practice and Policy. Exploring Policy Options for Responsible Research, Sustainability and Innovation” held in Brussels on November 16-17 2016. All the comments gathered were processed, leading to the final version of the web-based Toolkit that was published at the end of the project period (http://toolkit.pe2020.eu/).
The analysis made under WP4 allowed to identify some trends which revealed to be particularly relevant to the Toolkit development process.
• A bottom-up movement for PE. Some elements coming up from the analysis made under PE2020 show the existence of a social and political movement towards the diffusion of PE practices. However, as suggested by the data drawn out of the Catalogue about the target groups and the promoters of PE initiatives, this pro-PE movement only marginally involves academic institutions as such.
• The EC commitment and the RRI strategy. There is a favourable policy context for PE, especially related to the EC commitment on this issue, also as funding entity, and to the inclusion of Public Engagement as one of the five keys of the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) strategy launched by EC in the context of Horizon 2020 . The development of the RRI strategy is bringing EC to increasingly focus on the involvement of research institutions with PE.
• The transitional condition of PE as social practice. A third relevant finding concerns the transitional condition of PE as social practice. On the one side, PE is becoming a consolidated approach for improving science-society relationships, also thanks to the robust pro-PE movement and the favourable policy environment mentioned above. On the other side, many obstacles are hampering the diffusion of PE in the Academia, including cultural obstacles, political obstacles, the lack of an institutional anchorage of PE initiatives in research organisations or the lack of standardised PE practices.
• The dominant view of PE. Finally, some findings concern the dominant view of PE in science and technology prevalently shared by the editors of guidance-like publications on PE. Editors tend to see PE as an event, to be held once in a while or periodically, lasting one day or some weeks as a whole; they tend to adopt a technical approach to PE, overlooking or even ignoring its political nature and its links with the governance of science and even with the research process; they seem to be little interested in connecting PE to the key policy challenges that any research institution has to address in a post-academic environment, such as, e.g. competing for funds and scientific recognition, ensuring high-quality standards in teaching and research, attracting new talents, internationalising staff and students, and boosting research-based innovation.
Aims and structure of the Toolkit
Taking into consideration these findings, the Toolkit was designed as a tool helping research managers, researchers and policy makers: understand the pivotal role PE may play in improving the governance of science; increasing their capacities in activating PE programmes and strategies; embed PE in research organisations so as to make it a permanent and institutionalised function; play a role in making PE a social practice widely shared by stakeholders, NGOs and the public at large.
The Toolkit includes an introduction and four sections.
Introduction: The Toolkit. This section provides information on the toolkit: institutional background, aims, for whom the toolkit is for, how the toolkit is organised, how to use it.
Section A. Strategic Framework. This section provides guidelines and resources for interpreting PE in the context of the many change processes affecting science (which, in turn, are mirroring broader transformations across contemporary societies) and for appropriately placing PE in the current European policy framework.
Section B. Methods and tools. This section is focused on PE methods and tools. It allows to categorise the many PE approaches and mechanisms, to plan and implement PE initiatives and to recognise recurrent obstacles and resistances. Connections of PE practices with policy cycle and research phases are also explored.
Section C. Institutional anchorage. This section deals with how to permanently embed PE in the current practices of research institutions, by activating, developing and evaluating a PE-oriented action plan involving leadership and staff. Examples of PE strategies, programmes and tools devised by research organisations are given.
Section D. Societal anchorage. This section dwells upon strategies and tools that research institutions may develop in order to contribute in making PE with science a current social practice, thus promoting the consolidation of a scientific citizenship. This implies an increase in the capacity of research institutions to communicate science, educate to PE, implement networking activities and boundary work and support national or local policies on public engagement.
WP4 allowed to make some key observations concerning the development of PE in the current development state of science and technology policies in Europe.
There is undoubtedly a gap between, on the one side, the potential role PE may play for developing the quality and the social robustness of science and innovation, and, on the other side, the present diffusion of PE both in research institutions and in society. The existence of such a gap and the need to bridge it have been placed at the basis of the activities carried out under WP4.
Understanding this gap may help understand what is at stake with PE.
• Science is a social institution linked to modernity; and like any other institution connected with modernity (such as trade unions, political institutions or the State), it is suffering a crisis in its relations with society. This crisis manifests itself in different ways: distrust toward science; loss of authority, unity, autonomy and social status of science; demands for transparency and accountability; lack of interest by citizens with regard to the future of research institutions; lowering social status of researchers. Paradoxically, science is now technically stronger (i.e. it is more capable to influence our lives) and socially weaker than it was in the past. PE may therefore play a pivotal role in strengthening science institutions and creating new bridges between them and societal actors.
• At the same time, this crisis is also a big opportunity for improving the governance of science and the quality of research, providing the institutional and cultural context for developing more advanced forms of coordination between different types of knowledge and more stable synchronisation mechanisms among the many players already involved with the different phases of the research and innovation process (funding, research design, implementation, etc.).
We are therefore in the midst of a transitional process where old solutions are lesser and lesser applicable and new solutions are not fully available yet. In this framework, PE can be also viewed as one of the most powerful tools for effectively managing such a process and for allowing new solutions to grow and consolidate.
As we said above, there is a favourable context for consolidating PE as a key approach for enhancing the governance of science, improving the quality of research and coping with the multiple relations between science and society. However, this implies the activation within research organizations of institutional changes connected to PE, making it: 1) an irreversible practice fully integrated within research institutions and research systems; 2) able to modify, to some extent, the way in which such institutions and systems work; 3) inclusively involving all the relevant players and stakeholders when it is needed and how it is needed; and 4) fully tailored to the organisation’s and national science system’s features and demands.
To succeed in that, it is necessary to understand the non-linear relation between PE and society. The will of people to participate cannot be taken for granted: they may not want to participate, may feel a distrust in science, may believe that participation is not useful or do not believe that their own participation could make the difference in making science or in taking decisions on science. At the same time, other people and many civil society organisations interested in science and innovation do not know how to get involved. Hence the decision to include, in the Toolkit, a section (Section D) fully devoted to how to sustain the consolidation of a “scientific citizenship” by creating the conditions for people to participate and to contribute in changing the governance and practices of science.
WP5 – Dissemination and policy conference on Public Engagement in Science
WP5 focused on disseminating and communicating the results and insights from the PE2020 project to academic and broader communities, and to interact with science policy actors and societal stakeholders involved with research and innovation processes. By engaging in an extensive dialogue and exchange with those actors, the project aimed to contribute to an increased awareness of best PE practices and to the implementation of better societal engagement in Horizon 2020. As dissemination activities are more fully reported in Section 3 of this report, this sub-section only lists the key activities resulting from this WP, and presents the key discussions that took place in the final police conference, as they contributed to the identification of the core issues, questions, opportunities and challenges related to the advancement of PE in European research and innovation activity.
The project implemented a website that can be found in Deliverable D5.1. It includes pages describing the project and its tasks (About and Activities) as well as the consortium members (Partners), the Scientific Advisory Board and the Team. The Results page has been updated with new reports, policy briefs and deliverables of the project as soon as they are finalised. The project has also implemented a regularly updating news blog. In addition, there is a page for the PE2020 Toolkit (http://toolkit.pe2020.eu/) and a Contact page.
The focus of the PE2020 project has been on the stakeholder engagement throughout the project. This engagement has taken different forms in different work packages. In WP1, the administrators and managers of innovative PE initiatives were engaged with the project through the survey and the preceding telephone contact as well as through follow up activities once the catalogue of innovative PE initiatives was published. In WP3 such interactions had a critical role in a joint conceptualisation, design and implementation of the seven pilot processes. Some of these co-creation activities have resulted in further stakeholder and public engagement activities that continue beyond the scope of the PE2020 project.
Deliverable D5.2 which presents the overall dissemination activities of the PE2020 project, lists all publications of this project. The publications include the deliverables of the project, submitted or accepted peer reviewed articles and a book manuscript, as well as other reports presenting the work executed, posters, policy briefs and the PE2020 leaflet. Several dissemination and communication activities took place during the project, such as multiple conference presentations, social media activity and individual communications with key stakeholders. These are presented in D5.2 in more detail.
The PE2020 project has published three policy briefs during the duration of the project. The policy briefs can be found in the website of the project and in deliverable D5.2 “Publications”. The first policy brief gave the overview of the project and showed the way it had headed. The second policy brief described the main messages from the conceptualisation of a model of public engagement in dynamic and responsible governance of research and innovation and presented lessons learned from the pilot projects of the PE2020 project. The third policy brief focused on presenting the perspectives from the policy conference emerging from the interaction of different stakeholders, and the PE2020 toolkit that was designed to increase users’ understanding of public engagement in general, as well as its method, objectives and impacts.
The PE2020 project has communicated the results to the general public in addition to the website also through news blogs and papers of other organisations and projects such as blog writings in the website of the PE2020’s sister project CASI (Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation) 22.01.2015 “Innovative methods for engaging the public” with 66147 views and 11.09.2015 “Public participation in defining research priorities to global problems” with 722 views.
Aim of the policy conference
The conference “Public Engagement for Research, Practice and Policy” was organized to discuss best public engagement and sustainable innovation practices and identify common European priorities on how to stimulate societal engagement for sustainable innovation activities in European regions, scientific institutions, SMEs and other societal actors. The conference was organized in collaboration with the CASI-project (Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation, www.casi2020.eu/). It took place in Committee of the Regions in Brussels, in Belgium, November 16th -17th 2016.
Structure of the policy conference
The conference was organized under four thematic blocks:
• Public Engagement (PE) and sustainable innovation focused on identifying most innovative practices and tendencies underlying PE activities, and discussing how help addressing societal challenges and develop better sustainability policies.
• Societal impacts of public engagement focused on activities that help maximize the impact of PE, and how to design new research programmes and projects in ways that contribute to increased societal relevance of research.
• Public engagement – the present and the future anticipated how the field of PE is evolving, including reflections on the best ways to evaluate PE, support it through incentives and ideas of an emerging RRI system that is under construction in ERA countries.
• Public engagement – towards new research agendas was oriented at sketching a vision of PE in future European research and innovation activities, including reflections from sister projects and external stakeholders from industry, research, media and regional policy.
The programme of the conference covered 56 number of presentations on issues related to PE and sustainability policy. External stakeholders, commentators and the audience contributed to the discussion on future policy options, priorities and recommendations for European Research Area that were specifically approached in the last round panel of the conference.
Content of discussions
Status of PE activity in the EU. Public engagement involves different types of processes, where there is a distinct role for citizens and stakeholder groups to contribute to research and innovation activities.
Overall, we observed that PE has become an important theme for European research and innovation activity. In many ways, it is the heart and spirit of responsible research and innovation: it opens practices of research and policy to the public and stakeholders; it involves ethical principles that highlight responsibility, gender equality, democracy, as well as effectiveness and efficiency of public decision making; it explores new ways of informing the public about prospects and risks of technoscience, and it mobilises citizens’ capacities to address related societal challenges.
By setting public engagement (PE) as a key thematic element of responsible research and innovation (RRI), the European Commission has promoted fundamental changes in the way in which civil society and other stakeholders outside the scientific community influence – and are expected to influence – research activities. Ensuing challenges for the research community need to be carefully reflected.
Where and why PE innovations are needed? Innovative PE can be defined as new participatory tools and methods that have the potential to contribute to a more dynamic and responsible governance of R&I. Better understanding of innovative PE processes contributes to a better capacity to renew R&I governance. Therefore, it remains an important task to both continue inventing, innovating, testing and demonstrating new PE processes, but also to develop evaluation practices that help gain insight and understanding of the successes and costs of such activities.
Where is this field developing? The field of PE is developing ‘fast and furiously’ through hundreds if not thousands of participatory processes oriented at R&I. Innovative PE processes are mostly initiated by non-profit organisations such as non-government organisations (NGOs), unofficial networks and associations. Development occurs mostly through broad scale institutional collaborations, involving also research institutions, governmental agencies, foundations and think tanks, and to a lesser extent, business companies.
Methodologically there has been a comprehensive turn from one-way communication processes towards multiple-way communications. Innovative PE is largely oriented towards addressing societal challenges. Methods of upstream engagement are being largely developed, especially in anticipatory projects. One of the key findings of this conference was that innovative PE can have, and as we heard from several presentations, has often had truly versatile impacts, not only on R&I but also on the environment, society, politics and individuals.
Another important turn is that attention has shifted from ‘one-off’ PE events to the links of different PE processes and more traditional governance institutions. While bold institutional hybridity characterizes the actual development of the field, academic researchers of PE are turning their attention on emerging systemic innovations, including the notion of ‘deliberative system’.
A striking finding is how strongly the ‘fourth sector’ is participating in innovative PE activities. The ‘fourth sector’ is an emerging field composed of actors or groups of actors whose foundational logic is not in the representation of established interests, but rather in the idea of social cooperation through hybrid networking. Examples of fourth sector actors included hybrid experts, randomly selected participants, ‘life world experts’ and ‘field experts’.
Much positive development has occurred during two latest Science in Society working programmes, and most recently, supported by EU’s RRI policies. While new activities are emerging and institutional conditions for research funding and performing organizations are becoming more robust, some new questions emerge. Below is a list of some emerging research questions that deserve further attention by the academic communities in particular, but also by practitioners and policy makers.
Findings and initial ideas emerging from the conference
The conference proved that there is indeed demand for policy level reflection of PE, as the conference attracted 208 registered participants from highly different institutional backgrounds. The sessions included lively debates that continued and spread in social media. It was strongly voiced by the participants of the conference that public engagement should become a current practice both in research institution and in society to be effective and that it should even be mandatory.
The presentations and discussions brought forth the topic of changing research landscape and revealed some worrisome trends, such as the spread of anti-scientific tendencies in national political discourses, cuts in European research budgets, and global socio-environmental challenges. It was recognised that there are increasing interests for reorienting research towards strategic, interdisciplinary applied research, applying extra-academic criteria in research evaluation, and co-designing research processes with citizens and users of knowledge. The discussions led to a conclusion that in a situation where the research landscape is transforming intensively, the better alternative is still a conscious transition rather than an ungoverned drift.
There are high institutional stakes in engaging the public in research governance. The EU has a strong commitment for public engagement through its RRI policies. National funding agencies are revising their funding schemes, as for example the Academy of Finland that recently introduced a programme for ‘strategic research’ to support high quality research contributing to societal challenges. Universities, governmental funding agencies and foundations increasingly support challenge driven research. User driven research and innovation has been a continued trend in the business sector. Internet and social media applications makes it possible for ordinary citizens to adopt roles as ‘citizen scientists’, hackers and environmental activists. All these trends have contributed to the emergence of the so called fourth sector, i.e. actors and groups of actors whose foundational logic is not in the representation of established interests, but rather in participation to social cooperation processes through ‘hybrid networks’. Realising that the fourth sector is becoming more pronounced in the field of R&I, and that it can governed through PE processes, it was concluded PE in the current situation is no more a matter of whether but rather a matter of how.
In order to facilitate the change of the research and innovation landscape, it is necessary to show different stakeholders the benefits of PE. There is also a need for moving from the focus on individual PE events to broader structural issues, where separate PE processes are better linked and embedded in the established structures of R&I policy. Gender policies and Social Corporate Responsibility (including its ISO standards) serve as positive analogies of the change ahead. Giants’ steps to institutional transformation could be taken by changing funding criteria, introducing stronger policies, establishing new institutions and developing capacity supporting PE as part of dynamic and responsible governance of research and innovation.
New models of public engagement are continuously being developed, in particular in the area of public deliberation and two-way communication. A real challenge for the research community is to find ways to combine high-quality science with PE. Citizen science and crowdsourcing are two examples where top level research has successfully met with involvement of citizens and civil society actors, additional ideas can be gathered from the research community by requesting them to develop plans for societal interaction, not only dissemination. European research and innovation could also benefit of new, self-sustaining models of PE, based on mutually beneficial collaboration across institutional domains (e.g. research, science communication, policy, innovation activity) and stronger business models underlying PE activities (e.g. PE as new type of innovation platforms). New models can best be introduced through piloting taking place in real contexts and enabling deeper learning.
As the research of PE2020 has suggested, innovative public engagement can effectively contribute to the three guiding principles of the EU’s RRI policy: Open Innovation, Open Science, and Open to the World. Recent changes and turbulences in the European policy landscape suggest that public engagement is not only about harmonious co-design of research. It is also about publics and stakeholders challenging research and research institutions. This calls for the inclusion of fourth O, i.e. Openness to conflicts, which means better sensitizing to the openings from other institutions.
There are many ways to scope the potential impacts of research projects. In this report we will follow the same structure that we used in the analysis of the impacts of innovative PE processes, namely a distinction between three types of impacts:
• substantive (e.g. new knowledge and ideas)
• practical (e.g. new products, practices, skills, social acceptance)
• normative (e.g. democratization and empowerment).
Furthermore, we will reflect how these impacts may potentially occur in the following areas:
• impacts in partners
• impacts in collaborators and stakeholders
• impacts in organisations
• broader institutional impacts
As it was not the intent of the PE2020 project to study self-reflectively such impacts, what will follow, is merely speculation of some of the ramification that our project may have caused in the
Substantive impacts include new knowledge on PE and its use as an instrument of governing research and innovation activities, or more generally, as an instrument that supports better science-in-society activity and societal engagement related to technoscientific issues.
As many EU projects, also PE2020 involved partners, some of which were highly familiar with the research tradition related to public engagement, while for other partners this may have been an exploration to a new terrain, even though familiar from some alternative research tradition. Considering that all partners have actively contributed to several co-authored deliverables and publications, there is evidence that the scholarship of PE has expanded to involve new partners, both in terms of new researchers and integration of different research traditions and frameworks. In Finland, for example, the PE2020 project helped to make the research on public engagement more familiar in the context of higher education research that is for historical reasons a more familiar track of research in the country. Similar impacts can be expected in other partner countries, particularly in Italy and Lithuania.
Seven PE pilots that were carried out in PE2020 relied upon the philosophy of co-design and co-creation. This has proved to be an effective way in creating trust, and conditions for an equal and influential exchange of ideas on how to develop organisational practices through the research findings that were done in PE2020. We found that many of the innovative models of public engagement that were identified in WP1 and analysed in WP2 have been received with great interest by our collaborators and stakeholders. Future Earth Finland, for example, which was one of our pilot collaborator, adopted the Living lab and Town hall meeting concepts from our research materials that were presented and discussed with them. Similar impacts can be expected from other similar programmes.
WP2 and WP4 have provided new systematic knowledge on and concepts supporting the design, implementation and evaluation of PE activities. The results of this research has been presented in several academic and professional fora, as indicated in Section three of this report, as for example in Finland through direct consultations with the Academy of Finland, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, and Prime minister’s office, and internationally, through the final policy conference, where around 200 participants were present. Dissemination of the results of PE have resulted in new initiatives, increased understanding of the requirements and capacities needed for effective and successful PE activity, as well as plans for evaluating PE activities by relying on the concepts introduced by the PE2020 project. To give some concrete examples, a new project continuing the work of PE2020 by applying the webtool on public engagement in science, FIT4RRI, was granted funding by the EC; the coordinator of PE2020 has served as a consultant for Sitra on its new project on national level citizen deliberations with an intention to conduct an evaluation on it by using the PE2020 evaluation framework; the Academy of Finland has been informed by the results of PE2020, particularly concerning the evaluation of the societal interaction plans used in their novel strategic research programme – and dialogue about the possibilities for piloting the societal interaction plans was initiated in the final policy conference that provided a concrete platform for such reflections.
In line with current academic research on deliberative democracy and public engagement, the PE2020 project has emphasized and supported an institutional or ‘systemic perspective’ on PE. It has consciously contributed to such research frameworks, theoretical concepts (e.g. ‘synthetic model of participatory peformance’, introduced in D2.2) and empirical evidence that can help developing such capacities and organisational strategies that can facilitate a structural change needed for developing a more responsible and dynamic culture of research and innovation in Europe and beyond. Among the main resources for such transformative work include the Webtool on public engagement in science, which anchorages the development in PE in broader sociological debates, and in the report D2.2 which was also modified to a book length manuscript (currently under review in a highly reputed academic publisher, Routledge).
Practical impacts include e.g. new products, practices, skills, an increased social acceptance of research and technological innovations.
As PE2020 involved practical arrangement (and evaluation) of PE activities, evident is that new skills, attitudes and orientation needed for the effective implementation of PE has been learned by several partners and collaborators, to whom this was new kind of activity. Future Earth Finland, again, is perhaps the most encouraging example, where we can see how critical even a slight ‘nudging’ toward new type of activity – actively involving, deliberative and ‘workshop type’ – can be. Future Earth Finland has reported that the collaboration with PE2020 was in a critical role for their initiation of series of Living lab and town hall meeting that they have ever since used in the definition of the national agenda for global change research.
Quite interestingly, the societal interaction plans that were introduced by the Academy of Finland in their new programme of strategic research has stimulated a wave of consideration and consultation around more effective PE in Finland. As the new programme requests all academic applicants to provide extensive and carefully prepared plans for extensive societal engagement, this has resulted in a new division of labour, where various consultants of PE services have emerged, as well as rethinking of the logic of putting societal engagement among the core functions of research as well as anticipation of the need for new incentive structures for academic research. All this confirms the finding in the final policy conference about the critical role of funding agencies as a primus motor or institutional change. To summarise, what we have witnessed in the case of the Academy of Finland and its requests for societal interaction plans is that new practices are suddenly requested and tested in large-scale in Finland. PE2020 has analysed these interaction plans (Aarrevaara & Pulkkinen, 2016), and these lessons can potentially help in piloting of this activity in a larger scale in the context of the Framework Programme 9, if this idea becomes topical.
The main investment of PE2020 toward practical implementation of PE practices was the building of the Webtool on public engagement in science. As the FIT4RRI project that will initiate in the Spring 2017 has planned to apply this tool, it seems probable that this tool does not remain unused, but instead, will benefit research funding and performing institutions in national contexts where the tool will be used during the project. As the European Science Foundation has promised to put the PE2020 webtool in its website, there are prospects of having it distributed and applied more broadly in the European research area; this is supported also by the webtool sub-contract that requested the service provider to link that tool to several sister projects to encourage its use in the planning of PE activities.
As for other practical results, PE2020 produced some research results that may have more practical and generalisable role in the analysis and evaluation of PE activities. In particular, we observe that the ‘method of PE footprinting’ that was developed in D2.2 as well as the ‘synthetic PE evaluation framework’ built in the same report may become useful tools in future research and evaluation activities. That these results are being considered worth publication through a global academic publisher (Routledge) may support broad dissemination of these tools.
Normative impacts include aspects of democratization of decision making on research and innovation, changes in national culture of policy making, as well as less empowerment of people in terms of their everyday lives and role as citizens and decision makers. Such normative impacts are particularly difficult to measure, as it is evident that they result from several sources: from education, institutions and norms prevailing in the society, examples of leaders and peers, encouraging examples from multiple walks of life. In this context, the impact of one single project can be very limited.
PE2020 has taken its best efforts to contribute to a transformation that would lead to more responsible and dynamic culture of governing research and innovation in Europe: the policy conference was among the major efforts toward facilitating a cultural change. Realising that more than 200 people were registered to this conference is telling of the high interest in this issue. The conference itself resulted in converged views about some basic ideas that may turn to be supporting of such a cultural change. Among such findings were in particular the following three notions:
• showing the benefits of PE is a necessary condition for facilitating a broader cultural change
• there is a need for moving from the focus on individual PE events to broader structural issues, including linking to established structures of R&I policy
• giants’ steps to institutional transformation could be taken by changing funding criteria, introducing stronger policies, establishing new institutions and developing new capacities supporting PE.
In more practical terms, the PE2020 project has contributed to changing norms, rules and cultures of public engagement by consulting and advising several national stakeholder organisations as well as the EU’s SwafS team, for instance by providing feedback on the ‘Vademecum document on Science in Society activities’ in the Autumn 2014.
Finally, PE2020 has confirmed through its analysis the generally known fact that public engagement, when carefully organised, will contribute to the empowerment of participants – be they citizens, representatives of marginalised groups, youngsters, elders or atomistic actors from the ‘fourth sector’. We found this to happen for instance in the case of our pilot with BONUS programme, where we involved young researchers and doctoral students in learning how they can use social media to communicate their research perspectives to broader publics. As this indicated, even small-scale ‘nudging’ toward better public engagement can result in major changes: in this case we evidenced an activation in their use of social media and multiple channels in communicating and debating scientific matters in societally relevant fora. We have every reason to expect that even more dramatic changes in the empowerment of researchers will follow from the Academy of Finland strategic research programme, as researchers are encouraged to make even a more radical jump toward societal debating and political relevant reflection of their research efforts.
List of Websites:
PE2020 website: www.pe2020.eu/
PE2020 toolkit: http://toolkit.pe2020.eu/
Coordinator: Dr. Mikko Rask, Consumer Society Research Centre, University of Helsinki, P.O.Box 24, Unioninkatu 40
FI-00014 University of Helsinki
Tel: +358 50 3222 012
Grant agreement ID: 611826
1 February 2014
31 January 2017
€ 1 227 325,88
€ 999 341,60
This project is featured in...
Deliverables not available
Publications not available
Grant agreement ID: 611826
1 February 2014
31 January 2017
€ 1 227 325,88
€ 999 341,60
This project is featured in...
Grant agreement ID: 611826
1 February 2014
31 January 2017
€ 1 227 325,88
€ 999 341,60