Participation and science governance

02/05/2022

Citizen consultations are public participation mechanisms designed to inform public policy and promote public dialogue. This article describes a deliberative consultation conducted within the CONCISE project framework. The aim was to gather qualitative knowledge about the means and channels through which European citizens acquire science-related knowledge, and how these influence their opinions and perceptions with respect to four socially relevant topics: vaccines, complementary and alternative medicine, genetically modified organisms, and climate change. In 2019, the CONCISE project carried out five citizen consultations in Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Italy and Portugal to explore the understanding of nearly 500 citizens, enabling the development of a standard for the carrying out of citizen consultations on science communication.

28/03/2022

Participatory science communication featured in several sessions and individual papers at the 2021 online conference of the Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) Network. This coverage recognises the drive away from linear communication to more participatory forms of science communication. In this special edition we present practice insights, papers and essays that explore participatory science communication. These contributions explore definitions, processes and describe case-studies of participatory science communication which involve a variety of publics, from young school students to Indigenous groups to farmers. In this introductory editorial we reflect on the papers, describe the growth of a participatory approach as part of the continuing evolution of science communication; explore a definition for participatory science communication; and consider some of the key concepts and issues that emerged.

28/03/2022

The language of science communication has moved from deficit to dialogue and talk of a ‘new social contract’ with the public ‘invited to participate’. This paper outlines a practitioner path that begins with storytelling and moves to a more participatory mode of practice of science communication for adaptation to climate change at the community scale. I outline personal practitioner reflections, specifically the need to consider issues of power, place, pain and the need to challenge assumptions. I propose the need to consider context, many forms of local knowledge and expertise, social learning, plus the pain of historical, contemporary or projected loss.

28/03/2022

In this “practice insight” we present a series of experiences run by Association Traces, injecting participatory approaches into science engagement activities by valuing the knowledge of the public rather than focusing on their ignorance. Starting from the observation that a sort of hybridization is occurring between cultural activities and public engagement with science on one side, and co-creation and participatory activities on the other, we provide some insight on the features of each approach. Examples are then used to highlight the potential value of this hybridization: as a way of making participatory activity more recognizable and accessible to a wide audience; to ensure that scientists have a professional interest in engaging in the communication activity; to raise a sense of ownership and empowerment in the audience, etc. These examples will eventually show that participation may lead to science communication practices that are socially-inclusive and/or productive for research, and ideally both.

28/03/2022

This study provides a practice insight into campus/community co-farming as a communication experience connecting civic participants and experts in exploring the potential applications of smart agriculture. The observation focuses on participants' perceptions of smart-agri practices. The objectives of smart-agri practices have been identified to reduce negative environmental impact and meet local challenges; their development corresponds to the civic value-driven experience of promoting sustainable agriculture with low-risk, trackable information. Relatively few studies on smart-agri communication have engaged with the non-expert level. The findings highlight a viable participatory communication form of problem-solving, the public's trust of expertise, and a vision for inclusive socio-economic applications of smart agriculture.

28/03/2022

While short-term participatory science communication activities have been well researched, long-term programs have received scant attention. Analysing survey data and participant discussions, I investigated interactions between Australian farmers and scientists engaged in the Climate Champion Program (2009–2016). I compared their interactions to three theorised science communication models: deficit, dialogue and participatory. I found their interactions illustrated a mix of the characteristics of all three models. While farmers and scientists appeared to be motivated to interact by deficit and dialogue objectives, respectful and trusting relationships emerged from long-term participation, which was key to making deficit- and dialogue-style communication more effective.

28/03/2022

From ‘Feed the Birds’ to ‘Do Not Feed the Animals’ takes an engaged approach in which science communication is both process and outcome of the research. The project started in the UK in March 2020, coinciding with government-imposed lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; since the project’s engagement had been designed around in-person interactions, a rapid and creative rethink was needed. This paper outlines the redesign of the project and describes a hybrid model of on-line and in-person engagement, integrating new skills and technologies which the pandemic catalysed, with well-established in-person practice in science communication. Our research develops good practice for online, participatory science communication, and supports the advancement of engaged research more widely.

17/01/2022

Although research has been performed on participatory mechanisms in science and technology such as brokering, little seems written on intermediary organizations, e.g. science museums, taking up and embedding a participation brokerage role and systemic factors influencing these. This paper presents a qualitative case study in which six different intermediary organizations developed their participation brokerage role in a European RRI project. We demonstrate how structuring factors in the project context, the intermediary organization and the broader systemic context influenced the participation brokerage role take-up and embedding. Our findings yield implications for future capacity building endeavors among participation brokers in the making.

11/10/2021

Undertaking citizen science research in Public Health involving human subjects poses significant challenges concerning the traditional process of ethical approval. It requires an extension of the ethics of protection of research subjects in order to include the empowerment of citizens as citizen scientists. This paper investigates these challenges and illustrates the ethical framework and the strategies developed within the CitieS-Health project. It also proposes first recommendations generated from the experiences of five citizen science pilot studies in environmental epidemiology within this project.

27/09/2021

Co-created citizen science offers practical tools for implementing science communication theories by increasing public participation in scientific research, empowering communities and advancing situated scientific knowledge. However, delivering such an approach presents a number of key challenges around funding, fostering working partnerships between scientists and citizens and ensuring all stakeholders receive sufficient benefits from the process. In this essay we draw from science communication and citizen science literature to describe these challenges and discuss the opportunities that will enable co-created practices to prosper.

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