Citizens offer their opinion on research for a more sustainable future for the EU

As a part of the EU project CASI, citizens from 12 EU-countries collaborated with experts on a draft on prioritized research that could clear the way for a more sustainable future for the EU. The Danish Board of Technology Foundation designed the processes and acted the advisor throughout.

Initiator: EU – (CASI projektet)
Period: 2014-2017

Context
In the CASI-project, EU wishes to focus on society’s involvement in sustainable innovation with regards to climate strategies, environment, effective resource usage and raw materials. The EU wants to engage the public in research- and innovation activities in order to insure solutions that are accepted and embraced by the public.

Method
The Danish Board of Technology Foundation designed a process which combined citizens’ input with expert- knowledge and insight. This process involved three main activities:

  • 12 citizen meetings across 12 European countries, where 245 citizens decided on 50 visions for a sustainable future.
  • A workshop where 23 experts participated in translating the citizen-visions into 27 research priorities.
  • 12 citizen meetings across 12 European nations where a total of 185 citizens participated. They validated and prioritized the research priorities produced by the expert workshop.

This method is an advantage when complex matters are to be converted into a prioritized overview for further political consideration.


The Danish Board of Technology Foundation’s role
The Danish Board of Technology Foundation designed a process which engaged the public from 12 European countries in producing a list of research priorities for a more sustainable Europe. The Danish Board of Technology Foundation provided guidelines and web-based education on how to conduct local citizen involvement in the 12 countries, involved as partners in the project. This was done in order to insure that the processes were identical and produced results fit for comparison. The Danish Board of Technology Foundation wrote a concluding report based on the recommendations for the EU Commission on the use of public engagement in research and innovative activities,

Results
The EU Commission was given a prioritized overview of how the public would prioritize research and sustainability in their future research programs. One important and noticeable result is the great difference between the citizens’ and experts’ prioritization of future research subjects, shown by the citizens’ input. In other words, citizen engagement secures the building of a bridge between the scientific and public visions for a future Europe. The EU Commission tested citizen engagement on a complex and important subject with great success.