Current transformations in the science-society relationship: Learnings from practices

Current transformations in the science-society relationship: Learnings from practices

Author: Anne Dijkstra – University of Twente, Netherlands, Netherlands


  • Penny Haworth – Manager Communications, NRF, South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, South Africa
  • Lenka Hebakova – Manager research projects, Technology Centre CAS, Czech Republic
  • Sikke Jansma – PhD student University of Twente, Netherlands

Science-society relationships are continuously changing and transforming. In the current transformations of the science-society relationship, Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) has become a key concept within and outside Europe. Recently also Engaged Research and Open Science have become important concepts. However, when meeting the needs of society, as is proposed by RRI and other notions, what implications does it bring in practice? What kind of science-society relationship is desired and needed to tackle current societal challenges? And, most importantly for the PCST community, what does that mean for communication processes, roles of researchers and research institutes?

In this round table discussion, we will bring in lessons learned from projects that addressed different aspects of the science-society relationship and include practical and theoretical transformations. We will discuss how learnings from each project help to understand the current changes in science-society relationships and, together with the participants, we will collect and discuss practical recommendations for communicating science, and new roles for researchers and research institutes. All contributions will show challenges as well as opportunities of the relationships’ transformations.

The round table management:

A short introduction sets the scene, where upon pitches reflect key learnings from the projects. The main part will be dedicated to discussing in groups different science-society practices and collecting advice for future science communication as well as for roles for researchers and research institutes, which will be reflected on at the end.

In NUCLEUS, responsible relationships with society were explored in e.g. China and South Africa, and learnings for researchers and research institutes were tested in multiple institutes. In GoNano, practical experiences about building longer-term relationships with citizens and other stakeholders around nanotechnology applications were collected via co-creation, while RRING is extending the reach of co-creation in institutional processes by linking RRI with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Roundtable discussion
Theme: Transformation