Special Initiative for Citizen Engagement

“Citizens have a right - and are expected - to be involved in the crucial decisions of what their futures will look like and how science and technology can contribute to its betterment”1
As outlined in the framework for Responsible, Research and Innovation (RRI), the grand  challenges facing society will have a better chance of being tackled if all relevant actors are fully engaged in the co-construction of innovative solutions, products and services. Thus RRI is being developed in order to foster the creation of a research and innovation policy driven by the needs of society and engaging all actors via inclusive participatory approaches.

The Special Initiative for Citizen Contribution promoted by Atomium Culture aims to assess how media can engage the public at large in a two-way dialogue about science-related issues in order to develop a more participatory way to develop science policy at European level.

The results of the Initiative will be submitted to the European Commission and they will support as a contribution to the preparation of the topics of the first call for proposals of Horizon 2020 (notably the 'Engagement' part of the challenge 'Inclusive, Innovative and Secure Societies' in the Commission's proposal (former SiS))”.

For more information about Horizon 2020

For more information about Responsible Research and Innovation

For more information about Atomium Culture


1. Report of an Expert Group to the European Commission, The Role of Community Research Policy in the Knowledge-based Economy, p. 37

More Information

Research ethics concerns the norms and codes of conduct that characterises the research endeavour. It is the responsibility of scientists that perform the research to protect the rights, safety and dignity of research participants. Under these conditions, research that is based on commonly agreed strong ethical principles is of direct benefit to society and to science.
There are many developments in science and technology that regularly give rise to ethical questions in European societies – stem cell research, genetically modified food, human enhancement, to name just a few.
The intense social debate such developments trigger, highlights the importance of high ethics standards for science and technology. These standards reflect our adherence to the ethical values and fundamental rights, such as human dignity, freedom, democracy, pluralism, solidarity, integrity and non-discrimination, on which the EU is founded. Research and innovation are developing at an ever increasing speed and as they do so new ethical questions arise. Questions that challenge us and that question what is right and what is wrong.
Human enhancement and the use of embryonic cells are only two examples of research areas that generate heated debates among scientists, policy makers and the public. But scientific knowledge alone can create ethical problems of its own. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly necessary for scientists to devote more attention to ethical issues arising from their r research and resulting new technologies.
Everybody should be involved, because the solutions to ethical problems that come from scientific progress cannot be imposed by dogma of faith or by law. It is the civil society, which includes scientists that must find acceptable solutions.
For more information on the Ethics review (Science in Society Portal)
How do we bring progress in line with ethics?
New research paradigms come with unforeseen ethical challenges – stem cell research, genetically modified food, human enhancement, to name just a few.  
Do you think that scientific developments are challenging our norms and values? Do you think that it is right to rethink our values when faced with changing research paradigms?
We want to hear your opinion and ideas.
* a) Do you think current ethical regulation and legislation of scientific research (including privacy, data protection and animal testing) is consistent with the needs and values of society? 
* b) Do you think that our values are changing as science and technology progresses?
* c) Would you agree to give researchers access to your personal data if this could benefit specific scientific research and benefit society in the future?
* d) Which of the following ethical questions do you think will be the most important to deal with in the near future?