There are many reasons for engaging public in science and political decision making such as better public acceptance and receiving new ideas. Similarly, there are many ways to engage the public, some of which are innovative and show much promise for future engagement actions.
Correspondingly to the CASI-project examining the public participation concerning sustainable innovations, a European research project PE2020, Public Engagement Innovations for Horizon 2020 (www.pe2020.eu) studies the most innovative tools and instruments on how to engage people in science. The project is based on an idea that new tools and instruments for public and societal engagement are necessary to boost the quality, capacity and legitimacy of European STI governance. In addition, they are necessary to solve the looming problems related to the grand societal challenges of the Horizon 2020, resembling the CASI focus on raw materials, resource efficiency and climate action.
Although the emphasis of the PE2020-project is on science, the innovative methods discovered could be applied on initiatives aiming to enhance public participation relating to any subject. Pilots and projects in context of sustainable innovations could enhance their success if they applied innovative methods for public participation.
The criteria for innovative methods applied in the PE2020-project include hybrid combinations (combining instruments and tools in a novel way), methodological novelty (applying new methods), inclusive new ways of representation (novel approaches to speak for the broadest public), potential impact (highly effective instruments), bearing on societal challenges (address the EU’s 7 grand challenges) and feasibility (usefulness for the purpose).
In the CASI project, the aim is to use public participation as an essential tool in order to develop a framework for assessing sustainable innovation and managing multi-disciplinary solutions. The CASI project\'s method in citizen participation corresponds to the innovative engagement methods recognised in the PE2020, such as hybrid methods, bearing on societal challenges and feasibility. Public participation is also one central element when evaluating European level sustainable innovations and policies in European countries. In the first year of CASI project, public engagement has shown its importance especially in raw materials conscious sustainable lifestyles.
Kaisa Matschoss & Minna Kaarakainen