WP2 The practice of CSO participation

The objective of the WP2 is to conduct an empirical study of current CSO involvement in research. Building on the theoretical basis for CSO engagement defined in the previous section, this research will identify and analyze European examples of CSO participation. This empirical investigation will also contribute to the identification of patterns and critical variables of CSO participation.

CONSIDER will explore the existing diversity of CSO involvement mechanisms, analyzing their features and normative frames. A crucial part of the process will be to assess what participation levels are experienced in R&D contexts, including the impact of citizens’ participation on research governance, methodologies, and decision-making processes, as well as on the societal groups themselves.

Within this WP we recognize the importance of exploring participation at a variety of scales (local, regional, national, European). Our study will first focus on FP7 research programs, after which we will encompass other databases at a national level. A case study approach will enable us to explore these issues in more depth, as well as investigate any differences at local or regional levels. We are also interested in a range of different participation and inclusion levels. For example, we would like to learn whether findings from existing research projects are utilized by CSOs, and if so, in what ways? What kind of CSOs are involved? How strong is their involvement in research?

Main steps

1. Quantitative survey

The bottom‐up analysis includes large scale data collection from existing FP7 research projects, along with local, national and international experiments in order to analyze CSO activities in research, where they are taking place, in what manner, and within what limits. Every FP7 Project Coordinator is invited to complete a very short questionnaire to identify which projects have involved CSOs. A more detailed follow‐up questionnaire is then sent to those Project Coordinators who are willing to participate in our survey and whose projects include CSOs, to identify patterns of participation.

2. Qualitative survey of CSOs’ participation in various contexts

The analytic grid from the WP1 will be applied to 30 case studies across Europe. For each case study semi‐structured interviews will be conducted with the CSO members and the research team. Where possible, we would also like to observe research project meetings directly. Further data will be gathered via textual analysis of any reports or other supporting documents resulting from the project. The scope of the case study work is large and will include investigations of CSOs’ capacities, key actors, intended purposes, motivations for involvement and ways of cooperation. Various modes of participation will be analyzed, for instance from research governance to participatory action research or science shops.