PERARES strengthens public engagement in research (PER) by developing multi-annual action plans, involving researchers and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the formulation of research agendas and the research process.
It uses debates on science to actively articulate research requests of civil society. These are forwarded to research institutes, and results are used in a next phase of the debate. Thus, these debates move upstream into agenda setting. For this, partners link existing debate formats with the science shop network already linking civil society and research institutes - and start a transnational web portal for debates. This is piloted on nanotechnology, then every few months a new debate starts. These are connected to the European reflection on the grand societal challenges for the future of the ERA.
To be able to answer to research requests, it is necessary to enlarge and strengthen the network of research bodies doing research for/with CSOs. Thus, nine new science shop like facilities throughout Europe are started, mentored by experienced partners. Science shop-like work is advanced by adding studies on good practices to the available knowledge base and organising workshops.
Guidelines to evaluate the impact of engagement activities are developed and tested. The partners pilot and assess alternative forms of agenda-setting dialogue between researchers and CSOs, e.g. long-term periodic meetings, and direct co-operations in two important social sciences fields: Roma/Traveller s issues and domestic violence issues.
The partners also investigate the potential role of higher education institutes and funding councils in supporting co-operation with CSOs. PERARES discusses its activities with the wider community through two large conferences and ongoing dissemination. Thus, through increased, better structured co-operation, more researchers and CSOs engage in incorporating needs, concerns and knowledge of civil society in research agendas.