Public Engagement in Responsible Research and Innovation

Public engagement (PE) in Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is about co-creating the future with citizens and civil society organisations, and also bringing on board the widest possible diversity of actors that would not normally interact with each other, on matters of science and technology.

Public engagement (PE) leads to multiple benefits:

  • it contributes to building a more scientifically literate society able to actively participate in and support democratic processes, and science and technology developments,
  • it injects differing perspectives and creativity in research design and results, and
  • it contributes to fostering more societally relevant and desirable research and innovation outcomes to help us tackle societal challenges.

PE implies:

  • the establishment of iterative and inclusive participatory multi-actor dialogues between researchers, policy makers, industry and civil society organisations, NGOs, and citizens;
  • to foster mutual understanding and co-create research and innovation outcomes and policy agendas effective in tackling societal challenges, and
  • fostering wider acceptability of results.

Implementing public engagement in Horizon 2020

  1. Build participatory Research & Innovation (R&I) actions

    PE can be specifically called for or voluntarily built-in to projects to promote more societally relevant outcomes. Ideally this engagement would be embedded in the research design and process from an early stage, and in an iterative fashion, so that the learnings can contribute to enriching the process and outcomes (citizen science actions could also fall under this category).
  2. Provide inputs to influence EU R&I policy agenda

    Launch more widespread initiatives (similar to VOICES) involving citizens’ engagement that employs face-to-face as well as on-line participatory methods to provide input to policy and participatory foresight for selected themes. Such initiatives would require high-level commitment, transparency and traceability of outcomes, timely and legitimized integration into our existing Horizon2020 institutional mechanisms and strategy.
  3. Support the development and implementation of thematic policies

    A major aim of R&I policy is to provide knowledge and evidence to support the design and implementation of thematic policies (e.g. environmental, health, transport) at national to local level, in particular in relation to societal challenges. Public engagement has its rightful place in science/policy/society interfaces supporting both thematic policy development and implementation.