VA (Public & Science) is contributing as a national expert in the new Mutual Learning Exercise (MLE), focusing on Public Engagement in Research & Innovation (R&I). MLEs are part of the Horizon Europe Framework Programme and aim to foster collaboration, knowledge exchange and policy development among European countries.
The MLE, which kicked off in January 2024 and will run until early 2025, is initiated by the ERA Forum and run by the European Commission. During the year, the eight participating countries: Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, and Sweden will exchange success stories, experiences, and challenges to promote public participation in R&I. The aim is to develop European guidelines and policy recommendations, strengthen the European public engagement community and provide insights for future EU Research Framework Programmes. It will also help equip European and national policymakers with the skills and tools they need to effectively level-up public engagement in R&I policy.
“VA’s mission is to make science accessible to all, and one way of doing this is to engage with society in science through different activities and initiatives. By being a part of the MLE on public engagement, we are helping to share and increase knowledge on how to involve citizens and other societal actors in science thus contributing to shaping more inclusive, impactful and responsible R&I processes in the EU,” said Maria Hagardt, VA’s representative in the MLE.
The MLE will cover diverse dimensions of public engagement in R&I, including co-design, co-creation, co-assessment, and activities related to innovation deployment. Four thematic meetings will focus on an Introductory overview of public engagement, Exploration of successes and challenges, Analysis of framework conditions, and Public engagement in the European Research Area (ERA).
Each meeting will result in a thematic report and make use of previously written discussion papers. In addition, a final report with conclusions and suggestions will be produced and presented at an event in the spring of 2025.
The participating countries, four independent experts, and European Commission services will work together, adopting a “learning by doing” approach, which includes study visits to observe public engagement activities and showcases of interesting initiatives. The MLE is chaired by Cissi Askwall from Swedish Research Council and President of EUSEA (European Science Engagement Association). The third Swedish expert participating is Anna Maria Fleetwood from the Swedish Research Council.
More information about the MLE on Public Engagement and the developments of the MLE on Public Engagement in R&I can be followed at europa.eu/!dXcY4X