Partners of the Cimulact (Citizen and Multi-Actor Consultation on Horizon 2020) project, recently met at the University of Malta’s Valletta campus to discuss the future impact of citizens’ visions.
Between October 2015 and February 2016, workshops were held in the 30 participating countries, in which 1,500 people attended. The result presented 170 visions, which were later processed and clustered.
Various meetings were subsequently held, including an additional workshop in each country and a pan-European conference, which was attended by experts and European Commission programme officers.
Based on the issues that the participants had raised, 23 research topics and 40 policy recommendations emerged from this process. These reflected citizens’ expectations, desires and concerns for the future of Europe.
The 23 topics address the different challenges that European citizens face in their everyday lives, and specify how research may address these challenges. These include, for example, how to ensure equal and holistic health services for all; how to develop evidence-based personalised healthcare; how education can be a platform for social innovation and local development; and how to achieve smarter consumption.
The project is based on the premise that open science is not just about making science available to people, it is also about engaging people in setting the direction for research.
During the meeting in Malta, participants also discussed ways to increase citizen participation as a source of information for research, regularly solicit citizen feedback on projects and increase participatory practices.
Professor Sandra Dingli from the University of Malta’s Edward de Bono Institute, who hosted the meeting, said: “It is interesting to see that three future visions generated and prioritised by Maltese citizens clearly address some of the European Commission’s grand challenges, in particular those related to the environment, health and wellbeing.”
Funded by the European Commission and co-ordinated by the Danish Board of Technology (DBT) Foundation in Copenhagen, Denmark, the project aims to bridge the gap between citizens and policy makers.