Envisioning Scientific Citizenship: Science, Governance and Public Participation in Europe

28.11.2002 - 30.11.2002

OPUS International Conference

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Throughout Europe, heated debates are underway over new forms of public participation in issues linked to scientific and technological developments. Policy makers perceive that it is increasingly necessary not only to promote socially acceptable research and development, but to cultivate, simultaneously, "scientific citizenship". Introducing this notion would mean defining rights but also conferring obligations to create new forms of informed engagement. The objective is to give voice not only to stakeholders but also to other members of society in shaping future relationships between science, technology and society.

When highly contentious public issues arise, in what concrete ways can participation by different groups and individuals be assured - and legitimised? Where and how will issues concerning technoscientific change be debated and negotiated? At which point and how should potentially controversial innovations be brought to the public arena? What can different countries in Europe, learn from each other in handling these issues? And finally, what does this imply for a culturally diverse Europe in terms of appropriate structures and procedures?

The conference will take place near the end of the three-year OPUS project in the EC 5th Framework Programme (Raising Public Awareness in Science and Technology in Europe). OPUS is focused on exchanging knowledge and conducting analytical inter-comparisons amongst the different "cultures" of science-society relations in six European countries. It aims at opening up debate and questioning future directions to take in this domain, at all levels of European governance.


Institut für Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung

University of Vienna, Kleiner Festsaal, Dr. Karl Lueger-Ring, A-1010 Wien