5. Lille (09/2013)

“Expert Workshop on CSO participation in research:

Governance, consequences, models and pitfalls”

The workshop

On 26th September 2013, the CONSIDER project held its fifth workshop at Lille university. The objective of this event was to invite expert academics, policy makers and CSOs to discuss CSOs participation in research and to contribute to the CONSIDER scope of analysis.

The invitees were:

  • Henk Mulder (Science Shop Groningen)

  • Bernard Reber (Centre de Recherche Sens, Éthique, Société)

  • Jacqueline Broerse (VU University, Amsterdam)

  • Theo Gavrielides (Independent Academic Research Studies)

  • Peter Wehling, (Augsburg University)

  • Dionysia Lagiou, (EU Commission)

The session

Scholars and other stakeholders expect multiple advantages from including CSOs in research projects. Specifically, the European Commission expects consumer friendly technologies, harmonised political debates or the improvement of legitimacy for policy decisions. Early suggestions or even interventions in science could contribute to the production of outcomes that are regarded as socially responsible. As is the case for political or industrial involvement in science, the voice of CSOs should be made to be heard within research projects and their scientific or societal contexts. However, emphasizing a normative dimension in research projects increases complexity and the probability of social conflicts within research project.

In an implicit or explicit way, the governance of research projects reacts to the challenge of participation and inclusion in various ways. A summarising session on governance has closed the first part of the workshop. Possible normative recommendations and guidelines coming from the scientific discussions and from important stakeholders were discussed. In every thematic session a CONSIDER team member and an invited expert gave a 20 minutes talk. It was asked to invited experts to present their findings, ideas or perspectives on the conceptual foundations of CSO participation.

"The focus of the EU regarding participation of CSOs in policies is related

to the concept of co-responsibility" - Stefan Boeschen (KIT).

"Little science projects can influence massive policies. Active community members

can be CSOs" - Henk Mulder (Science Shop Groningen).

"Is it possible to frame the CONSIDER project research within the theory

of participative democracy? We choose democracy because we are dealing with citizens, but what CONSIDER definitively needs to stand for is participation" - Bernard Reber (CERSES)

"CSOs have a huge diversity in resources and power, which influences their levels of participation. Transdisciplinary research provides robust conceptual and methodological framework to include CSOs in research" - Jacqueline Broerse (VU University).

"CSOs can do bottom-up science, with independent but strong voice. It's focusing on research as a social action... The challenges, however, have to do with the power structures between government and CSOs and within CSOs themselves" - Theo Gavrielides (IARS)

"Governance of science should be understood as a societal process of shaping scientific knowledge"

- Peter Wehling (Augsburg University).

"Responsible Research Innovation for Horizon 2020 aims to include CSOs in Boards to monitor its activities" - Dionysia Lagiou (EU Commission).