Monday 26

Engaging all of Europe in shaping our future

Posted by CIMULACT project on 26 Sep 2016

More than 1,000 citizens as well as numerous experts and stakeholders have been engaged in co-creation in an attempt to provide concrete input to EU’s Research and Innovation (R&I) agenda.

The EU funded project CIMULACT has engaged more than 1,000 citizens from 30 European countries to uncover the needs of the citizens and in a highly participatory process transform these into recommendations for future R&I agendas.

CIMULACT stands for Citizen and Multi-Actor Consultations on Horizon 2020. The main objective of the project is to involve citizens, experts and stakeholders in a large-scale effort to uncover the needs of the European citizens and transform them into recommendations for EU Horizon 2020 priorities.

The project has until now involved 30 national vision workshops where the citizens have formulated a total of 179 visions for sustainable and desirable futures. From the visions, unique and concrete societal needs have been identified and hereafter debated and further elaborated through co-creation between citizens, stakeholders and experts.

The results of the national vision workshops reveal some important insights regarding the contribution citizens can make in the context of R&I (Research and Innovation) development and policy making. First of all, an important intent of the methodology has been to stimulate citizens’ creativity and present the ‘perfect world’ from the citizens’ perspective without adjusting their visions to the context of what is technically, financially or politically feasible at present. This has generated highly diverse and creative visions that are based upon the citizens’ own hopes and dreams.

Often opinions may reflect media discourse on the debated topics. However, another intention of the methodology has been to stimulate dialogue between citizens about various topics hereby making the citizens reassess their opinions, enhance their understanding and even reformulate their stand on the issue. 

A third intention of the methodology has been to represent a variety of views and cover a high number of target groups. While the set of participants from each country cannot be considered representative , the application of the methodology in 30 countries and the involvement of more than 1,000 citizens in the development of the visons is a large—enough sample to consider it a sound depiction of the variety of views in Europe.

After the initial analysis of the 179 visions following themes have transpired as central: Equality - Unity and cohesion - Citizenship awareness and participation - Holistic health - Technology at service of the humanity - Life-long processes - Personalised education and experiential learning - Living in harmony with nature - Personal Development - Green cities - Sustainable economy - Sustainable energy.

Smart agenda setting and policy making in the field of R&I in the future will involve citizens. The results of the CIMULACT project demonstrate that citizens can significantly contribute to the discourse in research and innovation by revealing trends in the priorities and preferences about future societal and scientific developments.

The next consultation phase of the CIMULACT project has been launched. During the next months the CIMULACT online consultation will be running in 30 European countries asking citizens and other actors which direction research should go. The online consultation is based on REAL societal needs identified during the previous CIMULACT consultations. Together with a variety of other actors you will have the opportunity to evaluate and enrich research programmes that will be further explored as policy options. Enter the online consultation between August 25th and October 3rd 2016 and help shaping a desirable future for everyone.

The hope is that the CIMULACT project will set new standards for public participation by engaging citizens in R&I programme and policy making within the field of science, technology and innovation (STI), hereby bringing science and society closer together.


Karen Riisgaard

Karen Riisgaard works at The Danish Board of Technology Foundation on the CIMULACT project

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