Citizen-input on future research areas in Denmark

February 4, 2017

What are the most important future research areas? That is what the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education is trying to determine, and just recently they submitted a first draft for consultation. In collaboration with The Danish Board of Technology Foundation, the Agency invited a number of citizens to participate in a workshop where they were to qualify the consultation draft.

Last year, the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education started to prepare the RESEARCH2025-catalogue, which is intended to provide an overview of important future research areas. RESEARCH2025 will among other things provide a basis for the Danish Parliament’s strategic investments in research. A wide section of stakeholders were invited to submit any suggestions they may have for such research areas, and these were then boiled down to 19 slightly more general suggestions, presented at a hearing on the 1st of February, 2017.

So far, ordinary citizens’ perspective has not been included in the RESEARCH2025-process. This changed when the Agency in cooperation with the Danish Board of Technology Foundations carried out a workshop on the 4th of February, 2017. At this workshop, 18 citizens spend a whole Saturday debating and giving input on the 19 research suggestions, amongst which were:

  • The intelligent and green transportation of the future
  • Global and local health threats
  • Digital solutions and big data
  • Children, young people and the future education

Each of the 19 suggestions for future research was a topic in itself and at each topic, the citizens discussed the wishes and concerns that they considered important in connection to that particular research area.

They considered it especially important that ethical considerations and unintended risks should be kept in mind, especially in the development and future usage of new technology. In addition to this, the citizens wanted recycling to be an important future area of research. The results from this workshop were published in a report which will be used when developing the final RESEARCH2025-catalogue, along with the additional hearing responses. The catalogue is expected to be published in May 2017.

In 2015, the Danish government allotted more than 500 million kroners to strategic research areas, intended to generate new companies, new jobs and improved solutions to future challenges. Read more about the RESEACH2025 and the 19 research areas here:

http://ufm.dk/en/research-and-innovation/political-priority-areas/research2025?set_language=en&cl=en