Science and Governance

Karen Siune participates in expert groups to analyse the growing uneasiness which affects the relations between science and society with the purpose to explore ways to develop constructive interactions between techno-scientific expertise and public concerns.

Alongside science for its own sake and science in support of economic growth, a "scientific third sector" is developing, gaining expertise and knowledge and progressively getting organised at local, regional, national and European level. It calls for a science for all, built by all and able to interact constructively with other forms of knowledge.

Scientific research as a source of technological development and innovation plays a central role in support of economic growth.

The expert group should consider in its analysis how and to what extent the ties between research and industry intersect with the societal dilemma mentioned above.

Reactions from civil society call for more than communicating (referred to as deficit model) and restoring trust in science. There is room for other interactions between scientists and civil society in which scientists could open up to public concerns and other forms of knowledge and welcome a public scrutiny of scientific processes and objectives

The expert group should consider how the emergence of the "scientific third sector" impinges on traditional democratic system, how its development impacts on the traditional functioning of the research policy cycle and what modes of governance should be promoted in the European research area to deal with current societal dilemmas?

Analyse the uneasiness which is pervading the relations between science, civil society and policy-making. The analysis should be carried out in relation to societal dilemmas which are relevant at EU level and for EU policies. 
Analyse the strengths and limits of current solutions to this uneasiness. The group will review and analyse strategic issues to which research is linked and which call for scientific advice. 

Suggest appropriate conceptual approaches which frame the interactions between science, society and policy-making. This should deal with concepts such as ownership of knowledge, research freedom, openness, accessibility, democratic accountability, societal relevance and sustainability. 

Formulate recommendations for more effective science-related governance. Particular attention should be given to policy-making at EU level, including regulatory and institutional processes, and to the European Research Area.
To perform its tasks, the expert group should base its analysis on research done by science and society academics and experience gathered by policy-makers and representatives of civil society. It should build on previous EU Commission activities.

The report was published by the Commission in March 2007 and presented and discussed at a European conference June 2007.

The project was initiated by EU DG Research.

Project participant:
Director Karen Siune


Scienza e Governance. La societá europea delle conoscenza presa sul serio. Rubbettino Editore 2008.
Edited by B. Wynne and U. Felt. Co author K. Siune, CFA

Taking European Knowledge Society Seriously
Report of the Expert Group on Science and Governance to the Science, Economy and Society Directorate, Directorate-General for Research, European Commission, 2007.
Co author K. Siune, CFA