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The pilot projects in Italy at a glance

The pilot projects carried out in Italy presented in this website through three specific presentation sheets are certainly different from each other for what concerns the issues dealt with, the kind of players involved and the procedures adopted.

The first pilot, titled Educating science-society relations and public engagement was held in Turin, in partnership with Agorà Scienza, an inter-university centre specialised in public engagement and science communication. The pilot was organised to test the possibility of using PE mechanisms to raise the awareness of and transferring knowledge to young students on the complex and changing relationships existing between science and society. The context was given by the 2015 edition of the Scientific Summer School (SSA), a week-long informal education initiative targeted at 50 high school students that Agorà Scienza organises each year. The strategy was that of mobilising the involved researchers (around 20 from different universities based in Turin) for incorporating public engagement in the SSA and for organising an experience of public engagement involving all students.

Turin pilot workshop

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Context tailoring workshops to adapt the pilot initiatives to the particular local contexts

Work Package three (WP3) has as its objective to design and implement six pilot projects on innovative PE processes. Such projects (or ‘pilot initiatives’) are being organised in the context of on-going research programmes in Finland and Italy. PE2020 is being funded through the Seventh Framework programme, and it is developing tools and instruments for better societal engagement in Horizon 2020. The pilot initiatives are collectively linked to the six ‘Societal Challenges’1 of the European Commission. To ensure that there is an EU-wide dimension and relevance, three of the pilot initiatives have been conducted in the context of EU joint research programmes, European innovation partnerships or other types of research and innovation activities with a transnational dimension.

Workshop in progress

The six pilot initiatives have been co-designed and implemented with our target research projects and programmes. The original plan of the PE2020 project was that after a global survey and identification of the most innovative PE processes, two to six of the more interesting public engagement (PE) methods would be transferred and tested in new research policy contexts. Soon, however, it was realised that such a transfer process is far from a straightforward process. On-going research projects and programmes have their own priorities, expectations, quality criteria and cultures of operating; testing and introducing new PE processes need to be adapted to the preconditions of the target programmes.

Continue reading Context tailoring workshops to adapt the pilot initiatives to the particular local contexts

European Conference: Engaging Society in Responsible Research and Innovation: What’s Next?

The PE2020 consortium took part in a two-day conference Engaging Society in Responsible Research and Innovation: What’s Next? which took place 9th – 10th November 2015 in Brussels and was organised by the Engage2020 project (

Mikko at Engage2020)

The future of the European science and technology field depends on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). Wider engagement with European citizens, stakeholders and users is a crucial part of this emerging landscape. Regardless of what role you play in research and innovation in the future you will need to consider how societal actors can work with you to address societal challenges.
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PE2020 project consortium in Vilnius, Lithuania

The PE2020 project consortium got together in the beautiful capital of Lithuania, Vilnius, November 2-3, 2015. It was great to see the partners again especially as the project has reached a very exciting phase! Workpackage 2 is finalizing its work on the conceptual model of PE across the dynamically governed research policy cycle and related participatory performance factors. We are very glad to be able to soon publish the new conceptual model designed by the consortium! So stay toned!


Photo by Evaldas Liutkus, © Creative commons,

Please find here the first policy brief of the project that is aimed at introducing the reader to the aims of the PE2020 project and to the work done so far. There, we also shortly present our initial ideas of the core factors that enhance the factors for successful PE related to the quality of governance and research, as well as to better interaction and communication. These are transparency, balanced inclusion and improvement of policies in terms of effectiveness and responsiveness.


Future Earth Finland Living lab event discussed the challenges of sustainable urbanization 

Urbanization is a global megatrend and, in the future, the majority of people will live in cities also in Finland. In September 2015, Future Earth Finland gathered an extensive group of experts from different backgrounds to discuss the challenges of sustainable urbanization. The event was part of the “Living lab network for global change research” run by Future Earth Finland. Future Earth Finland is a pilot project of PE2020.

Changes in nature and societies are interlinked 

The day started with a talk by professor Markku Kulmala, a renowned climate scientist and the Chair of Future Earth Finland. Kulmala stated that if we want to tackle the grand challenges of our lifetime, we must grasp the big picture of the dynamic interactions between nature and societies.


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Complex environmental issues require new approaches

A new book on the emerging practice of global citizen consultation and deliberation provides tips and tools for increasing citizen participation and developing environmental protection in international politics.

The PE2020 project organises together with the Consumer Society Research Centre at the University of Helsinki a seminar “Public Engagement in Decision Making Related to the Global Environmental Policy”. In this seminar, a new book will be released that is based on a method that has been recognised as an innovative new way of engagement by the PE2020 project consortium.

WWWviews book pic

In Governing Biodiversity through Democratic Deliberation (Routledge, 2015), edited by Docent Mikko Rask and Professor Richard Worthington (from Pomona College, Claremont, California), an international group of 30 researchers evaluates the role of new deliberative processes in international environmental policy.

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First global change Townhall meeting

hereIn May 2015, Future Earth Finland organised together with the PE2020 project a Townhall meeting to discuss research priorities related to global change in Finland. The first Future Earth Finland Townhall meeting gathered over 60 participants from different fields of science from universities and research institutes, and included stakeholders from ministries, private companies, interest group organizations, and NGOs.

The objective of the workshop was to gain deeper understanding of global challenges in Finland and especially to increase the knowledge and collaboration to influence research agendas and research funding at the national level. Take a look at the post of the Future Earth Finland presenting the main results of the first global change Townhall meeting: Future Earth Finland blog.

Kuva FES blogin alusta

The efforts to deepen the understanding of the research needs related to global change problemmatic will continue in form of series of Future Earth Townhall meetings. The next will be organised in Tampere, Finland, in September. The focus of the second Townhall meeting will be to continue with the topic that was found important in the first meeting: sustainable cities. You can find more information here (in Finnish language).

Catalogue of innovative public engagement activities

The Pe2020 project welcomes you to take a look at the newly published catalogue of innovative public engagement activities!


The catalogue presents first-hand information gained directly from the organisers of the most innovative activities in Europe. The PE2020 project gratefully thanks the organisers of these cases for their valuable input in providing the consortium with first-hand information on their activities, without which the information included in the catalogue would have been difficult or impossible to gain.

You can download the catalogue here.

Pros and Cons for Public Engagement

Currently, we are finalising the report related to enhancing and hindering factors for public engagement (PE) combining dynamically governed research policy cycle and participatory performance model. Within the frame of literature review and survey analysis, we identified driving forces and barriers to get people engaged in science and research policy.

Picture1 for D2.2.

As a result, we collected a list of core enhancing factors for successful PE, which is related to quality of governance and research, better interaction and communication: 1) transparency; 2) balanced inclusion; and 3) improvement of policies (effectiveness & responsiveness). Moreover, PE is more successful when it is repeated, i.e. it helps to reorient public towards self-organisation and create overall dynamics. Despite promising keywords for the success of PE, inevitably, we are faced with barriers such as passivity and fatigue of lay people to get engaged. Continue reading Pros and Cons for Public Engagement