Today, citizens are directly affected by science and technology but they don’t wish to simply Society on Scientific Issues be passive recipients of new products and technologies, however innovative they may be. Furthermore, the scientific enterprise is not automatically accepted as beneficial to society. What appears increasingly required is a true bi-directional dialogue between science and society, going beyond traditional science education or simply securing the acceptance by citizens of scientifically validated truths. The optimisation of this debate is a significant challenge for governments, and policymakers are searching for ways to respond to the new importance and assertiveness of the public.
Accordingly, the OECD Global Science Forum undertook an activity on Improving the Dialogue with Society on Scientific Issues.
This report analyses the shift from the traditional approach of “public understanding of science” to a multi-directional dialogue, involving society’s different stakeholders and the general public. It is focused on the practical aspect of the dialogue and provides recommendations for each step of such an undertaking:
The rationale: objectives of and participants in a dialogue
The methodology: organising and conducting a dialogue
The results: formulating and using the output of a dialogue