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Feb 19, 2024 Practice Insight
University-led dialogues with society: balancing informing and listening?

by Nina de Roo, Tamara Metze and Cees Leeuwis

In response to a growing understanding that scientific knowledge is not always trusted at face value, many universities organise dialogues to `open up' to society. In four exploratory case studies at the Dutch Wageningen University & Research, we looked into the adherence to dialogue principles and the roles that researchers performed while engaging in dialogues. We found that researchers face three challenges when interacting with societal stakeholders in dialogues: (1) moving from knowledge provider to “letting in” and listening to different perspectives (2) balancing attention toward knowledge with attention toward values and emotions (3) navigating different aspired and perceived roles of researchers in dialogue (e.g. Pure Scientist versus Issue Advocate).

Volume 23 • Issue 01 • 2024