Science for Citizens: how science meets regions and cities

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Wed 9, October 2019
14:30 - 16:00
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The workshop will present how citizens get involved in science and how researchers and policymakers are able together to design solutions for local policy challenges based on scientific evidence.

The aim is to help understand how to improve citizens’ lives and use research findings to address societal challenges.

The workshop will draw conclusions from success stories from EU regions, highlighting local solutions that focus on evidence-based policy-making, and examples of ‘Citizen science’ defining public participation in scientific research. Finally, it will discuss new ways of co-creation with multi-actors in regional R&I strategies.

This workshop aims first to explore and demonstrate the potential of engaging citizens and decision-makers with science to address the challenges European regions and cities are facing. It will give an overview of ‘citizen science’ and its contribution to science, society and evidence-based policy making and provide examples of successful projects. ‘EU-Citizen.Science’, funded by the European Commission, under the Horizon 2020 ‘Science with and for Society’ programme, aims to mainstream citizen science in Europe and present how cities and their citizens can already benefit from their outcomes.

We will also present the initiative 'Science meets Parliaments & Regions', which brings researchers and decision-makers together, and enhances the role of science in the policy-making process across fields at local, regional and European level. We will describe an innovative tool for co-creation of public policies involving the quadruple helix (government, academia, business and civil society) in order to produce sound solutions to local issues.

Finally, the workshop will showcase new ways of co-creation with multi-stakeholders in the process of developing Regional Research and Innovation strategies. SeeRRI, a project funded by the European Commission, focuses on establishing responsible research and innovation ecosystems by integrating Smart Specialisation Strategy and RRI. TeRRItoria tackles a double challenge by bringing RRI to the forefront of the debate for developing local and regional R&I capacities and using RRI as a springboard for stakeholder involvement in regional R&I strategies under the framework of Smart Specialisation Strategies.

 Time for debate with the audience will be scheduled during the second half of the session.

Marton Hajdu, Official, European Commission, Belgium.
Ildiko M. IPOLYI, Science officer, European Science Foundation, France.
Jakub Jackowski, Deputy Head of the Department of Economy, Marshal Office of the Wielkopolska Region in Poznań, Poland.
Marzia Mazzonetto, Project Manager, European Citizen Science Association, Germany.
Nhien Nguyen, Senior Researcher, Nordland Research Institute, Norway.
A Europe Closer to Citizen
European Commission - DG JRC, European Commission - REA, European Science Foundation, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Wissenschaftsladen Bonn
english (en)
Building SQUARE - Brussels Convention Centre, Room 214+216.
Address: Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels

Session summary

This session brought together projects from various backgrounds, with one crucial question in common: how to involve citizens as key stakeholders in evidence-based policy-making, in order to create ownership and carry out effective reform.

Marzia Mazzonetto, project manager of EU-Citizen.Science - funded by Horizon 2020 "Science with and for Society"(SWAFS) - gave several examples of how citizens can be the source of scientific evidence to underpin policy measures on important issues such as air pollution. Nhien Nguyen (SeeRRI project) and Nikos Zaharis (TeRRItoria) tackled the problem from the angle of responsible research and innovation, emphasising the importance of involving all actors in the "quadruple helix" in transition processes. Jakub Jackowski, from the marshall's office of the Polish Wielkopolska region, emphasised that even if scientific facts are available to support a policy initiative (in this case, the move from coal-based energy production to hydrogen) we still need to get  citizens on board in order to accept this change.  Building systemic cooperation between academia and decision-makers will help solve societal problems, on the condition that citizens are on board.

In the field of research and innovation specifically, developing territorial Responsible Research and Innovation should involve the quadruple helix – citizens, decision makers, academia and industry - in order to forge strategies tailored to local contexts. This will strengthen regional competitiveness and sustainability. It is also the way to face the transitions affecting European society. The increasing social weakness of science, delocalization of industrial production, the impact of climate change, the emergence of digital technologies, and the effects of national and international migration flows are difficult to manage for local governments. RRI has the capacity to support governance through scientific processes in uncertain and ambiguous periods.

Take away message

Citizens need to be involved in evidence-based policy processes more actively. This is the only way to guarantee these processes succeed, rather than pushing ahead with innovation strategies and societal reforms over the heads of people.

Citizens provide the "missing link" in evidence-based policy: involving them actively means strengthening the uptake of scientific results and innovative solutions in society. This can have a tangible impact on policy-making, and often involves authorities wishing to solve problems in partnership with local communities.


Marzia Mazzonetto: "Citizen science represents a great opportunity to bring citizens and researchers together, to share research questions and to address community needs".




Nikos Zaharis: "Developing a Territorial RRI means facing the broad transitional processes that are affecting European society, and that are difficult to manage for local governments. RRI has the capacity to support governance through scientific processes in uncertain and ambiguous periods".



Nhien Nguyen:

"Regions could work together on identifying a set of core principles and a roadmap to achieve an RRI ecosystem. RRI gives all the actors involved a voice. The quadruple helix – citizens, decision-makers, academia and industry – must be engaged to create RRI strategies tailored to local contexts".




Jakub Jackowski: "Every change, no matter how small, that influences society must be done with the involvement of people. They have to understand the importance and reasons behind these changes and how they will affect their life. Only then will they be able to really participate in the process".


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  • Posted by: Beata FABISIAK
    On: 30/09/2019 - 22:26pm


    Hello, Is it still possible to register to this session?
    • Posted by: Cristina MARCONE
      On: 07/10/2019 - 12:41pm

      Re: Registration

      Dear Beata, you could try to register directly on the spot, as there are still some free seats.