Workshop Report WG 3: A pan-European Comparison of the development and implementation of CS Strategies / Policies

Workshop Report WG 3:
A pan-European Comparison of the development and implementation of CS Strategies / Policies

Date: 18 March 2018
Location: Lisboa, Portugal
Hosts: ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon
Co-organisers: Brígida Riso (ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon), Claudia Göbel (ECSA, MfN), Sven Schade (JRC), Marina Manzoni (JRC), Katrin Vohland (MfN, COST, ECSA).

Context
Organised by COST Action 15212 (on Citizens Science), with JRC Contribution, in reply to COST representatives' willingness to contribute to JRC activities in the development of the first inventory of CS initiatives, strategies and practices at EU level and beyond (COST countries).

Objectives
in this context the objectives of the workshops were multiple, as follows:

  1. Identify and present and initial set of CS initiatives, strategies and practices, existing or planned by, both public authorities, as well as stakeholder institutions in the COST countries;
  2. Discuss the draft Framework Template for the identification and analysis and comparison of CS practices, produced by the JRC with WS participants, and refine it. The framework template is meant to be used by the COST representatives and relevant stakeholders, as a tool for identifying, analyse and compare such initiatives in a relevant and consistent fashion;
  3. Identify the best structure, the core elements and most relevant and impactful qualifiers/features that the framework template needs to capture, with the view to build a first inventory and mapping of CS practices at EU MS and COST countries, with the ultimate goal to collect and analyse data on the underlying pre-requisites, variables and factors that would influence CS impact, drivers, challenges, barriers, opportunities, gaps, open issues and good practices;
  4. Test, discuss and validate the framework template on first real cases, in view of further refinements, and subsequent testing on a larger scale, by all COST countries, through the COST Network;

Main Key issues Discussed

  1. Cross-cutting issues and core variables that influence CS, development impact, stakeholders' dynamics, outputs, tools, etc.:
  2. The Dual Dimension of the issue: Policy for CS: what are the policy conditions to implement CS? vs CS for policy: do we want citizens to contribute to policy (making, implementation, monitoring), as a research method (limited), as public engagement (information) as civic mobilisation (data)?
  3. Sustainability: independent vs Public Administration-dependent mechanisms;
  4. Scepticism and opposition (elitist scientists, independent NGOs;
  5. "Invisibility as tacit manifestation" (eastern countries), going hand in hand with the trust dimension;
  6. Data Quality/Accuracy vs "fit for purpose" (e.g. by the local authorities): this depends on the use to be done of the data in question;
  7. The possible use of the EU R&I Programme MoRRI Indicators;
  8. Terminology: this needs to be clarified end normalised;
  9. Scope, granularity and purpose of the Inventory (relevance, light vs in-depth survey exercise, in-put to policy paper, promotion at MS-EU level, identification of potential areas of application).

Conclusions and wrap-up

  • Participants were enthusiastic about the idea of building a CS inventory, and welcomed the draft template produced by the JRC to this purpose, as being a very useful and unique attempt in this direction.
  • It was acknowledged that the framework needs to focus on some core elements that were further refined during the WS;
  • It was confirmed that the framework will become the common tool for building a compendium of existing and planned national or spontaneous CS initiatives, analyse and compare strategies, identify similarities, cross cutting issues, gaps, good practices, trends and opportunities in support to CS contribution to policy making;
  • It was agreed that the Framework Template will be revised according to the discussions and agreements reached at the WS, and that its final version will be applied by the COST network for the necessary survey. The results from the survey and the tool (Framework Template) will be discussed and validated at the ECSA annual conference of the 6th of June in Geneva;
  • JRC suggested including a third dimension to the Working Model developed during the WS related to policy. Following the discussion we had at the WS, in fact the model that will be annexed to the FT, should feature not only Public Participatory Science (Citizens Engagement in Science vs Science for Public), but also and especially the policy dimension, with CS for Policy vs Policy for CS, in order to accommodate our objective to promote and mainstream CS in EC and MSs relevant policy making processes. A first attempt to include this dimension will be included in the next version of the Framework Template.

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