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Exploratory Activities

Due to the need to access increasingly technical and specialised knowledge to cover the full breadth of its policies, the European Commission relies on both high-level internal and external expertise to develop its policies. Research policy is no exception, and outside experts are regularly invited to join groups to help Commission services. The field of science in society is even more demanding than others. It requires a variety of knowledge and values to understand and solve the issues at stake; issues that may be completely new or so polarised that it is difficult to find a consensus at national, European or global levels.

The information below is a sample of the projects, expertise, seminars and other initiatives that support robust debate and policymaking under the Science in Society Programme.

Exploratory activities: 2011

Science, H1N1 and society: Towards a more pandemic-resilient society

The European Commission’s (former) Directorate for Science, Economy and Society decided in mid 2010 to set up an Expert Group on Science, H1N1 and Society (‘H1N1 Expert Group’, or ‘HEG’) in order to clarify the ‘Science in Society (SIS)-related research questions raised by the H1N1 pandemic and associated crisis management. The HEG group reviewed various aspects relating to the involvement of scientific expertise in the management of the A (H1N1) pandemic through various documents from the WHO, articles in international health journals, European Union documents and some national reports. Read more ( 177KB)

Exploratory activities: 2010

Ethics and Governance of ICT and Security Technologies Workshop (Brussels, 18 November 2010)

The workshop discussed early results of research and coordination projects funded under the European Commission Science in Society programme (FP7). These projects yield insights on how our understanding of privacy may change in the light of those technologies, and how privacy is weighed against other ethical values related to security and practical convenience. These research and coordination efforts usually don’t address only single, particular technologies since the privacy issue will be shaped by the simultaneous use of various technologies and address relevant EC directives and national legislation. The workshop also discusses ways of involving the users and stakeholders as co-designers of new technologies, particular with a view on health care issues. Read more

Exploratory activities: 2009

Project: Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP): How to engage civil society in research and policy processes?

Although participation of civil society is considered crucial for the implementation of ambitious sustainability strategies like the EU Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS), many implementation programmes and activities do not yet consistently involve players from this field; they focus more on business actors (ETAP) and researchers (SCORE). The project addresses this gap by actively involving civil society organisations (CSOs) to identify research needs and to design elements of deliberative processes on SCP in the demand areas food, housing and mobility, which are responsible for 70 % of environmental damage in the EU. Read more.

Expert Group on Global Governance of Science

Science is a major driving force of globalisation. The internationalisation of the European Union's Framework Programme for Research and the accompanying challenges to address specific global aspects of the European Research Area (ERA), such as scientific misconduct, the possible emergence of 'ethics-free' zoned and non-transparent forms of mandated science at the global level, have led the European Commission to seek advice from a multidisciplinary expert group comprised of legal scholars, sociologists, philosophers and political scientists from Europe, China, South Africa and the US. The Expert Group on Global Governance of Science advocates global governance for the common good that invokes European principles of good governance and fundamental rights. Read more ( 1.19MB)

Exploratory activities: 2008

Goverscience seminar on Inclusive Risk Governance

'…defining risk is an expression of power. Whoever controls the definition of risk controls the outcome of the risk management process.' This sentence extracted from the subsequent report of the seminar held in Brussels, Belgium on 4 and 5 December 2008 captures the essence of the difficulties facing our society in dealing with the progress of science and technology. What is a risk and who should decide if society as a whole should take it? By the way, who represents society in that case? Read more ( 743KB)

Goverscience seminar on Energy and the Environment

Held on 9 and 10 December 2008, this seminar took stock of previously funded projects under the Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes (FP6 and FP7) related to energy, environment and governance, and of the main Community strategic documents pertaining to the respective field. The 2-day seminar in Brussels, Belgium brought together 10 experts and European Commission staff in an open and structured discussion on the status quo as well as the perspectives that lie ahead of us in sustainable consumption and production of energy. Read more ( 2.66MB)

Exploratory activities: 2007

Report: Integrity in Research – A Rationale for Community Action

Scientific integrity is generally looked at in a holistic way, encompassing the ideals of what constitutes 'good science' and a 'good scientist'. It covers aspects of both governance (e.g. peer review, authorship, whistle blowing, and code of conduct) and ethics (e.g. honesty, fraud, conflict of interest, and professional responsibility). Scientific integrity to date is mostly addressed at the level of institutions and scientific societies (i.e. self-regulation). There are, nevertheless, notable examples of national regulations and institutions that have a policing role (e.g. UK Research Integrity Office). This report outlines the main reflections of the experts that were invited to provide guidance on the key issues with regard to integrity in research. Read more

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