Voices for Responsible Research and Innovation: Engaging Citizens to Shape EU Research Policy on Urban Waste✎
Broerse, J.E.W., et al. (2014), Voices for Responsible Research and Innovation: Engaging Citizens to Shape EU Research Policy on Urban Waste, Ecsite
VOICES was a ground-breaking consultation process, gathering opinions and ideas about urban waste and innovation from citizens across the EU. Led by the European network of science centres and museums (Ecsite), VOICES used science centres and museums as powerful spaces for public engagement. The results were fed back to policymakers to influence the direction of EU research policy. At the heart of the VOICES project is the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). This means engaging the public more in research and innovation (R&I), making R&I more socially responsive and encouraging shared responsibility for R&I agendas, practices and outcomes. VOICES took the topic of ‘urban waste as a resource’, and the transition to a ‘zero waste society’. The results of the VOICES consultation were integrated into the EC’s Horizon 2020 calls for research funding in the field of waste management. As such, VOICES is a model for incorporating citizens’ voices into RRI. The project outcomes in this document can also be used by other stakeholders at a local and national, as well as European level. VOICES consulted citizens using a renowned method - focus groups - in a unique way. In terms of structure, the VOICES focus groups incorporated four exercises, which engaged the participants on the relevant topics, drawing out collective opinions and ideas in a carefully facilitated face-to-face process. The VOICES focus groups were led by trained moderators from science centres and museums, following a semi-structured script designed by researchers of the Athena Institute (VU Univ. Amsterdam). This specific methodology ensures the results are both meaningful and valid, and was successfully implemented in a range of cultures and contexts, across 27 EU member states. This report summarises the results of the overall, Europe wide analysis of the focus groups and goes into detail on the main findings of the project in the context of RRI, providing perspectives for future work.