ECOLISE joins call for citizens to co-create next EU Research Framework Programme

(3 November 2017) – ECOLISE has joined with 17 other civil society organisations in calling for citizens’ and civil society’s involvement in co-creating the structure and mission of the EU’s next Research Framework Programme (FP9).

In a briefing entitled ‘Engaging​ ​citizens​ ​&​ ​civil​ ​society​ ​in defining​ ​FP9’s​ ​missions​ ​and​ ​maximising societal​ ​impact’ the organisations argue that there needs to be citizen involvement now, ahead of the Commission’s proposal on the FP9 due in May 2018.

There​ ​is​ ​wide​ ​recognition​ ​that​ ​engagement​ ​of​ ​civil​ ​society​ ​organisations​ ​and​ ​citizens​ ​has​ ​been sub-optimal​ ​in​ ​defining​ ​research​ ​and​ ​innovation​ ​(R&I)​ ​priorities​ ​in​ ​Horizon​ ​2020​ ​and​ ​in previous​ ​EU​ ​Research​ ​Framework​ ​Programmes.​

The briefing, that was written by Global Health Advocates and Science Citoyennes, ​proposes​ ​a​ ​two-pronged​ ​approach that recognises the ​increasing​ ​importance​ ​of communicating,​ ​connecting​ ​and​ ​engaging​ ​with​ ​European​ ​citizens​ ​and​ ​civil​ ​society​ ​on​ ​the definition​ ​of​ ​research​ ​priorities.

“Firstly,​ ​we​ ​propose​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​​Citizens​ ​Conventions​,​ ​an​ ​innovative​ ​process​ ​of​ ​decision making​ ​to​ ​co-create​ ​FP9’s​ ​missions​ ​with​ ​society.​ ​Within​ ​this​ ​process,​ ​citizens​ ​are​ ​trusted​ ​to apprehend​ ​complex​ ​topics​ ​and​ ​to​ ​propose​ ​missions​ ​corresponding​ ​to​ ​societal​ ​challenges​ ​that respond​ ​to​ ​the​ ​current​ ​and​ ​future​ ​needs​ ​of​ ​society.

“Secondly,​ ​we​ ​propose​ ​the​ ​creation​ ​of​ ​a​ ​​Civil​ ​Society​ ​High​ ​Level​ ​Group​​ ​on​ ​maximising​ ​the societal​ ​impact​ ​of​ ​R&I.​ ​By​ ​definition,​ ​the​ ​priorities​ ​of​ ​the​ ​societal​ ​challenges​ ​pillar​ ​of​ ​Horizon 2020​ ​should​ ​be​ ​defined​ ​in​ ​large​ ​part​ ​by​ ​society,​ ​yet​ ​in​ ​practice​ ​there​ ​is​ ​very​ ​little​ ​involvement of​ ​civil​ ​society.​ ​Through​ ​more​ ​inclusive​ ​and​ ​participative​ ​governance​ ​structures,​ ​EU​ ​research programmes​ ​can​ ​address​ ​the​ ​multi-faceted​ ​aspects​ ​of​ ​major​ ​societal​ ​challenges​ ​and​ ​offer solutions​ ​that​ ​provide​ ​concrete​ ​societal​ ​benefits.

Both​ ​Citizens​ ​Conventions​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Civil​ ​Society​ ​High​ ​Level​ ​Group​ ​should​ ​be​ ​put​ ​in​ ​place before​ ​the​ ​European​ ​Commission​ ​releases​ ​its​ ​proposal​ ​in​ ​May​ ​2018​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​feed​ ​into​ ​the FP9​ ​design​ ​process. Neither​ ​proposal​ ​is​ ​a​ ​one​ ​shot​ ​process:​ ​both​ ​should​ ​continuously​ ​inform​ ​and​ ​be​ ​engaged during​ ​the​ ​implementation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​next​ ​FP9.

See the full paper: Engaging citizens and civil society to maximise FP9 societal impact Oct17