SCC 2012 Science Governance and the impact of public dialogue

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SCC 2012 Science Governance and the impact of public dialogue

  1. 1. Science, governance and the impact of public dialogue SCIENCE COMMUNICATION CONFERENCE 2012 14 & 15 May 2012, Kings Place, London Chair : Laura Bowater, University of East Anglia Speakers: Darren Bhattachary & Andrew Hunter, TNS BMRB Jason Chilvers, University of East Anglia Respondent: Roland Jackson, British Science Association and Sciencewise
  2. 2. What we want to do today1 5What we want to get out of today Reflections from Roland2 6Setting the scene Over to you3 7Findings from the literature Feedback4 8Findings from the interviews Concluding thoughts
  3. 3. What do we mean by… Public • Public engagement that specifically seeks to inform decisions or policy • Not explicitly concerned with raising the profile ofdialogue science or wider science communication activitiesPolicy • The people who make decisions in science organisations – namely those responsible for themakers leadership, funding and regulation of S&T in the UK
  4. 4. Beyond public engagement?• The ongoing challenge of science, governance and public trust (BSE, GM, Climategate…)• From PUS to PES• Impact of public dialogue initiatives on commissioning and target institutions remains unclear• Where next? From public engagement as an end in itself to ‘governing in the public interest’
  5. 5. Science, Trust and Public Engagement: Exploring pathways to good governanceBIS/Sciencewise-ERC project (2010-2011)Aim: “to better understand how science organisations are governed, theresponsiveness to public concerns in this context, and potential ways toimprove this”3 research stages:• Literature review - analysis of 17 public dialogues and emerging governance responses• In-depth interviews - 40 senior decision makers in science organisations• Workshop – Royal Society, February 2011
  6. 6. The Sciencewise Dialogues Model of Public EngagementDialogue Project Upstream Honest Issue Broker AdvocateAnimals containing human material (2010) üBig energy shift (2008–2009) üCommunity X-Change (2005–2008) ü üDrugsfutures (2006–2008) üEnergy 2050 pathways (2010–2011) üForensic use of DNA (2007–2008) üGeoengineering (2010) ü üHybrids and chimeras (2006) üIndustrial biotechnology (2008) ü üLandscape and ecosystem futures (2011–) üNanodialogues (2005–2007) üLow carbon communities challenge (2010–2011) üRisky business (2005–2006) üScience horizons (2006–2007) üStem cells (2007–2008) üSynthetic biology (2009–2010) üTrustguide (2005–2006) ü
  7. 7. Public concerns about science governance 1. The purpose of science and technology What are the motivations for developing the science and technology? Whose interests are they serving? Are they necessary? Are there alternatives? 2. Trustworthiness of institutions Relative lack of trust in government to act in the public interest – concerns about perceived proximity between government and the interests of industry 3. Feelings of powerlessness and exclusion People feel „kept in the dark‟ and excluded from decisions over S&T - they express a desire to feed their values into the science and innovation process 4. Speed and direction of science and innovation Concerns over the pace of scientific and technological development – exceeds scope for ethical and regulatory oversight 5. Equity, ethics and the culture of science View that the culture of science discourages scientists from voicing concerns over potential risks/uncertainties and social/ethical considerations
  8. 8. Emerging science governance responses Public Values, Influence Public Transparency, and Engagement Scrutiny, Accountability • Public consultation (e.g. GM • Independent advisory bodies Nation?) (AEBC, HGC, FSA) • Crowdsourcing and open • Transparency mechanismsGenomics innovation • Public scrutiny/representation • „Uninvited‟ public (e.g. lay members) engagement • Upstream engagement / • Voluntary codes public dialogue • Responsible innovationNanotechnology • Real time technology assessment • Anticipatory governance • Science communication • Open data / open codingClimate Science • Participatory integrated • Institutional redesign (e.g. IPCC) assessment
  9. 9. Implications• Some public concerns at least partly responded to (e.g. inclusion)• For other concerns responses are less evident (e.g. over the purposes of emerging S&T and speed of innovation)• Need for a more systemic perspective of the science governance system• Need to understand the missing link: What mediates institutional responses and responsiveness to public concerns about the governance of science and technology?
  10. 10. 1. Science governance is expert led - efforts to reflect public values remainlargely marginal as public concerns dont resonate Expert led model of governance More appetite for engaging public around wider strategic goals for research Less appetite to involve public directly in funding decisions Key people: Decision making culture led from top. CEOs, Ministers, Governing Support for dialogue needed Boards, Senior Staff, The Executive/Senior Civil from key people to be Servants successful
  11. 11. 2. The big strategic issue is the economy. This can create opportunities and threats for newscience governance models such as dialogue. Less cash for research and administration Retrenchment It’s the Increased focus and loss of governance economy, on collaboration capacity stupid Maximise impact of activities and investments
  12. 12. 3. Science organisations feel accountable to their peers, funders and business. The publicare a lower level accountability. Legal and administrativeHigher levelaccountability Constituency – e.g other scientists Customers e.g. business Societal accountability was seen as the lowest priority Public and generally not embedded in routine Lower level structures and practices of accountability organisations.
  13. 13. 4. Public dialogue exercises have had greater impact in organisations where there issenior support and structures to integrate dialogue in policy.Public engagement had more impact where: Engagement led by policy Decentralised rather than rather than comms hierarchical Managers structure willing to take risks Supportive CEO Organisational cultures play a key part in the relationship between engagement and decision making. Science based organisations expressed conflicting cultures: being at once innovative, creative and open; as well as inward looking, elitist and over centralised.
  14. 14. Figure 1: Relative openness of organisations5. Being open and transparent doesnt necessarily mean organisations account for publicviews in decision-making Openness and transparency are necessary but not sufficient conditions for good governance. Government Academies/ departments; Businesses Membership Regulators research organisations funders Increasing openness and transparency
  15. 15. 5 Implications Focus science Focus on policy debate Rebrand SIS on social Make bettergovernance in Lead from committees outcomes use of the public policy and look for rather than collaborationinterest rather directorates opportunities risks and and existing than public rather than to align them benefits of a structures for engagement comms to internal technology engagement interests
  16. 16. Science, governance and the impact of public dialogue SCIENCE COMMUNICATION CONFERENCE 2012 14 & 15 May 2012, Kings Place, London Roland Jackson, British Science Association and Sciencewise
  17. 17. Reflections: what is the public interest?Generalising from the synthetic biology public dialogue:• What is the purpose?• Why do you want to do it?• What are you going to gain from it?• What else is it going to do?• How do you know you are right?
  18. 18. Reflections: levels of engagementRecognise the different contexts in which the „public interest‟ isrelevant:• Funder (e.g. BIS, BBSRC)• Institution (e.g. Rothamsted)• Research Group• Researcher
  19. 19. Over to you…1. To what extent do these findings make sense to you?2. How can science organisations better account for public concerns about the governance of science?3. What does this mean for you in your own role?

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