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.
Check out the video for interviews of experts about public engagement!
The PE2020-project organised in April a context tailoring workshop about living labs and public engagement. Some of the experts participating into the workshop expressed their expert opinions related to public engagement.
You will hear answers to questions such as:
What would be the benefits if research would take into account stakeholder engagement in greater extent?
Does public engagement have a role in social Innovation and reflective learning and why?
What kinds of problems do you see in science and governance?
How do you see that public or stakeholder engagement (for example in living labs) could find answers to societal challenges and the development of technology?
Please listen to Tanja Suni, Iina Koskinen, Maija Sirola, Timo Hämäläinen, Tony Gaye and Erkki Ormala and share us your views in the comment page!
Usually, informal education initiatives on science and technology tend to attract the interest of the audience by leveraging on the fascination of scientific discovery and technological innovations. This is obviously a right strategy. However, to a certain extent, it could be also risky.
The risk is that people could be led to see science and technology as something fully detached from society, something which comes from afar and produced elsewhere, something which could affect our life but which is not and cannot be affected by us. Like the children who think that milk is produced by the refrigerator and not by the cows, people could be led to think that science is only made in the single laboratories by single researchers and not the output of complex research systems involving many actors, infrastructures, policies and resources.
The PE2020 project partners at the two units of the University of Helsinki: Consumer Society Research Centre and HEGOM Research Group organise a workshop with the Center for Knowledge and Innovation Research (CKIR) at Aalto University. The aim of the context tailoring workshop is to contextualize and define Living Lab as a public engagement tool.
How does Living Labs as research strategy and methodology help in engaging people, cities, regions, public agencies and firms when solving major societal challenges of our time?