Science and governance
A significant element of the European Life Sciences and Biotechnology Strategy is the dialogue with civil society, which is fostered through a number of activities. For example, the cooperation with relevant stakeholders is stimulated through projects on participative science in biotechnologies involving civil society organisations and universities.
One project, PSx2, "Participatory Science and Scientific Participation", explores the participatory role of civil society organisations (CSOs) in new scientific and technological developments, with particular reference to experiences in the development of agricultural biotechnology (GM plants, food and feeds). The overall objective is to increase the social relevance of scientific research through the promotion of public participation in European research activities. It involves Universities and CSOs in the conception and realization of a survey among CSOs in Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. They collected CSOs' current practices in relation with research in biotechnologies and learned from them with a view to improving the dialogue and cooperation between researchers and citizens. (Website address not yet available)
Other projects focus on the analysis of the mode of dialogue and involvement of civil society in scientific issues. For example, the Paganini project set out to investigate the ways in which participatory practices contribute to problem solving in a number of highly contentious fields of EU governance, areas in which traditional mechanisms of governance can be seen to hamper policy making, as a result of which institutional experimentation is likely to take place. The policy areas studied in the project stem cell research, genetic testing, food scandals and food scares, genetically modified food and nature conservation belong to a cluster of policy areas that can be understood as relating to the "politics of life". The project was set up on the premise that a quality exists to the politics of life that links it to civic participation, and that the ways in which and the extent to which participatory governance in this domain is becoming a component of the European policy merit empirical investigation. The final report for this project can be found at: http://www.univie.ac.at/LSG/paganini/finals_pdf/WP8_FinalReport.pdf .
For more information, please visit the
‘Science and Society in Europe’ website.