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CIMULACT Report Summary

Project ID: 665948
Funded under: H2020-EU.5.c.


Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Our societies are rapidly changing as a consequence of a new conjunction of societal developments, such as globalization, new technologies, and climate changes. Solutions considered efficient to overcome these challenges twenty years ago no longer seem adequate if we are to witness the futures we dream of.

STI (Science, Technology and Innovation) is seen as one of the most promising paths for the EU to handle the challenges our societies are facing by e.g. creating jobs and improving the quality of life in Europe. The everyday life of the European citizen is thus greatly affected by the advances in Research and Innovation (R&I) which calls for an enhanced cooperation with science and society in order to combine scientific excellence with social awareness and responsibility.

CIMULACT stands for ‘Citizen and Multi-Actor Consultation on Horizon 2020’. It is a three-year project funded by the European Commission. The project has 29 partners and is led by the Danish Board of Technology Foundation. By involving citizens in consultations across Europe, CIMULACT provides a concrete and unique input to the future European and national level R&I agenda. The citizen consultations gather citizens’ perspectives about the future in the form of visions for a sustainable future. These visions serve as the basis for achieving the objective of the CIMULACT project, namely engaging citizens and stakeholders in the co-creation of European research agendas based on real, validated and shared visions, needs and demands.

Taking citizens’ concerns, needs and visions into account, policy makers render STI programmes and policies more relevant and accountable to societies in Europe, thus, fostering the closer connection between science and society. In this way, the project will provide a unique contribution to European R&I policies, create dialogue and shared understanding among the actors, and build strong capacities in citizen engagement.

In short, CIMULACT will:

• Provide concrete and unique input to the identification of the future European research agenda by uncovering societal needs of more than 1000 citizens in 30 countries in Europe.
• Develop and experiment with methods for citizen and multi-actor participation, as well as build capacities in already existing methods.
• Inspire the research community with a broad range of options for citizen and multi-actor engagement in R&I priority setting.
• Make the building of the future more accessible, so it is no longer only a question discussed by policy makers and experts alone.

The methodology of CIMULACT is inspired by a co-creation approach and besides the 30 national citizen consultations, it involves a co-creation workshop where citizens and experts meet to co-create research programme scenarios, based on the aggregated citizen visions and the identified overarching social needs.

A second consultation phase will follow where the co-created research programme scenarios will be tested, validated, enriched and prioritised in two tracks: face-to-face consultations and an online consultation. A workshop for experts and policy makers will transform the results of the second consultation phase into prioritised actions for Horizon2020, including policy options, possible research topics and recommendations.

Throughout the project the forms and methods developed and implemented will be documented and assessed. The methodological learnings will be collected and extracted in an inspiration catalogue for further engagement processes in R&I priority setting. The hope is that the CIMULACT project will set new standards for public participation by engaging citizens in R&I programming and policy making within the field of STI, hereby contributing to a greater democracy and more responsible research and innovation (RRI) in the EU.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The work of the first reporting period has been highly dedicated to designing and implementing the participatory process of the project. From November 2015 to January 2016, the first consultation phase was carried out. The National Citizen Vision (NCV) workshops were successfully held in the 28 EU member states and Norway and Switzerland. All national results – the citizens’ visions for a desirable and sustainable future – were delivered, and the next step of the project was kicked-off.

The process of developing the citizen visions into research programme scenarios was initiated. The CIMULACT consortium together with 10 external “challengers” analysed the citizen visions at the Cluster Workshop in Paris in February 2016. Jointly the participants extracted 29 social needs each underpinned by several citizen visions from different countries.

From this material an exhibition of social needs was developed with an image representing the need surrounded by supporting “original voices” from the citizens. This exhibition was the starting point of the Co-Creation Workshop in Milan in April 2016 where citizens – one from each national workshop – together with experts from the fields related to the social needs, and CIMULACT researchers worked for two days co-creating 48 research programme scenarios.

The partners’ preparations for the second consultation phase which consists of a new round of face-to-face consultations (WP3) and an online consultation (WP4) were then intensified. In this phase the co-created research programme scenarios will be enriched and prioritised. The face-to-face consultations which will be held in all 30 participating countries will take place from 2nd of September – 8th of October 2016. The online consultation was launched 25th of August 2016. The results from the second consultation phase will be ready for the Pan-European Conference to be held on 1st of December 2016. This highly participatory conference will transform the results into prioritised actions for Horizon2020 and beyond.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

CIMULACT has a main purpose of proving and providing a process of making citizen-based scoping papers and topics for the last phase of Horizon 2020. This has been accomplished in the first reporting period by several activities. First of all, all produced visions, societal needs and research scenarios have been made available to project officers (POs) as they were produced. This has provided options for the POs to find inspiration in and/or direct references to the outcomes of CIMULACT when writing scoping papers or topics. Secondly, two very effective seminars have been made between the project and 10-15 POs, during which the results have been presented and discussed in order to make the outcomes more easily useful for the POs.

In the next reporting period the “enriched research scenarios” will be produced in a series of experimental methods in all 30 countries. These will be transformed into “pre-topics”, which will be worked upon in collaboration between the consortium and the POs during a working conference in December 2016. The outcome is expected to be several topics, which can be implemented in the next programme period of Horizon 2020.

CIMULACT has already proven to be beyond state-of-the-art of engaging citizens and other societal actors in making research agendas. The project has implemented an effective vision-producing method and has delivered rich material, which provides insight into the visions and societal needs of citizens and the research activities these call for.

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