Social participation in science: The perspective of third sector organizations

Social participation in science: The perspective of third sector organizations

Author: Carolina Llorente – Communication and Society Studies Centre, Pompeu Fabra University, Spain

Mar Carrió – Pompeu Fabra University
Gema Revuelta – Communication and Society Studies Centre, Pompeu Fabra University

The social relevance of scientific research has led to evaluate the utility of including society in the research process, also in order to design adequate strategies. The active participation of different actors in solving a given problem fosters a vision of a shared future and helps the better acceptance of the scientific and technological limitations.

Establishing dialogues that bring together scientists and different stakeholders provides the opportunity to jointly understand and analyze global issues and make decisions accordingly. Often platforms and associations are consulted or engaged in studies as representatives of diverse societal views and concerns.

The main objective of our study was to diagnose the current state of the participation of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Third Sector associations throughout the R&D&I process. We want to identify what their current role is and what they consider this role should be. To this aim, we interviewed 30 CSOs managers and representatives based in Spain.

From these interviews, we conclude that patient and environmental associations have a more active role in R&D&I process than other CSOs. They especially contribute as subjects of study, funders, providing data or in field work. CSOs representatives generally view a clear positive relationship between their participation in research and the main activity of the organization. However, most of them consider this association useful only in social science research.

On the other hand, the great majority of CSOs representatives do not want research’s main tasks to be done inside their organization. Instead, they prefer to associate with universities or research centres in some way. For instance, through agreements to develop doctoral or master’s theses in the framework of their activity, or as part of advisory boards.

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

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Building a theoretical basis for science communication