The Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) More Years, Better Lives (MYBL) was chosen as a pilot initiative for the PE2020 project in order to pilot the idea of societal impacts and stakeholder involvement in the research grants awarded by the JPI MYBL programming initiative on European and global demographic change. Joint programming is a new approach to increase collaboration and coordination in research and development in Europe. The JPI MYBL programming initiative is focussed on demographic change which is one of the determining megatrends all over the world and is having an exceptional impact on Europe, for example in rising life expectancy and falling birth rates, resulting in an ageing society which in turn creates strains on existing welfare systems (e.g. pensions, health care, the labour market, and education). The conceptual aim of the programming initiative is to explore and enhance the understanding of societal impacts and stakeholder involvement in studies on the science and the society. You can read more in the report of the pilot initiative.
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.
PE2020 project is based on intensive cooperation between the consortium, national science policy actors, research programmes and citizens. Public engagement pilots will be organized in the context of 6 research programmes focusing on grand societal challenges, such as climate change and aging.
In WP1 we identify innovative public engagement tools and procedures, such as societal advisory panels and criteria or games and simulations used in the design and prioritization of research. Most innovative procedures will be transferred to new contexts, where they will be tested and evaluated.
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