VA’s mass experiments have been selected as an example of innovative public engagement (PE) in a new study published by the EU-funded project PE2020.
The purpose of the study is to gain a better understanding of the characteristics, trends and impacts of innovative public engagement and involves the analysis of 38 innovative PE case studies, selected from a global sample of 256 cases. One of the case studies that features in the study is VA’s citizen science project for schools – the Autumn experiment in 2013, which involved over 10,000 pupils across Sweden helping scientists to study the effect of climate change on deciduous trees in autumn.
Key findings in the survey include:
- All except one of innovative PE cases were oriented towards addressing societal challenges.
- Innovative PE has truly versatile and practical impacts, not only on research and innovation but also on the environment, society, politics – and individuals.
- A characteristic of innovative PE is that it involves a high number and variety of actors, including so-called emerging fourth sector actors, such as hybrid organisations and social enterprises.
- Innovative PE was limited in its contribution to new scientific knowledge
- The main obstacle of successful PE is the inadequate capacity of the organisers of PE to manage complexities, such as participant selection, timing of the processes and tensions between new actors.
Public Engagement (PE) has been defined by the European Commission as a key thematic element of RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation), promoting fundamental changes in the way in which citizens and stakeholders outside of the scientific community are able to influence research activities.
The study proposes a set of procedural and impact based criteria that could be used in defining and evaluating the success of any PE process, as well as a vision of how PE can benefit European R&I activities that involves gathering the ‘right people’ together to address the ‘right issues’ through the ‘right PE tools and methods’.
PE2020 is an EU-funded project that aims to identify, analyse and refine innovative public engagement tools and instruments for dynamic and responsible governance of R&I.
Download the projects Catalogue of PE Initiatives, where the Autumn Experiment is described on page 71.
Read more about the EU-project PE2020