From Public to Policy

  • Jan Riise


Science is not the unquestioned truth and platform for policy decisions it might have been. On the contrary, scientific results and issues are being debated, and dialog and two-way communication are key characteristics. A range of dialog events and formats has been developed, including science cafés, science parliaments and citizens’ conferences. However, mechanisms for bringing public opinion and expectations to policymakers are not that well developed and evaluated. The ‘mandate’ to do so is not only about empowerment; it really is important, especially for adult participants, that there is an interest in the outcome of the debate or activity, although the value of mutual learning and direct interaction with scientists should not be underestimated. Science communication events such as festivals, science centers and museums provide excellent opportunities to organize dialogs. Often, formal agreements connect organized events to policymaking institutions as stakeholders or funders, and as such they ought to be able to benefit from their own networks in terms of legitimacy and the mandate for debates. Furthermore, they may provide an informal setting, a ‘third place’, that is a neutral ground for both scientists and members of the general public. Online activities, including individual initiatives and groups (for example, on Facebook) are briefly discussed. To some extent, science events’ and science centers’ internet presences ought to be an advantage and a credible starting point for online dialog development.


Public participation Dialog Debating science Science events Science museums Science policymakers 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agadem ABOnsalaSweden

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