What about the ethics of citizen participation in Research and Innovation: is everyone really on board?
Citizen participation gives researchers, innovators but also governments a better understanding of the various social and societal needs when developing new solutions.
The EU has completely redesigned its research and innovation policy with the brand new Horizon Europe Framework Programme, with a strong emphasis on this kind of public participation.
In the Brussels Capital Region, Innoviris puts this vision into practice in numerous research and innovation projects in which citizens are actively involved: as end-users in test populations in programmes such as Experimental Platforms, as citizen scientists in the Prospective Research programme or as field experts providing support in the selection and evaluation of the projects in the Co-Creation programme.
However, participation processes must be ethical in order to ensure the integrity of the research and to achieve unbiased, rigorous results. For example, how do you select the citizens, what expectations can and may you create towards them, how do you protect their privacy and integrity, how do you avoid the over-representation of certain groups of citizens? Therefore, since January 2020, Innoviris has been participating in the European PRO-Ethics project, together with other European funding agencies and international experts. Within the project, real-life pilot projects are carried out with the ultimate goal of developing an ethical framework for participation.
For Innoviris, the first phase of the PRO-Ethics project focused on the citizen jury within the Co-Creation programme. In Co-Creation, through projects such as Vilco and Citizendev, solutions are developed that increase urban resilience. Citizens have been helping to evaluate and select projects since 2018.
Preliminary results show a strong need for a common ethical basis when citizens and other stakeholders are involved in research and innovation.
Through this link you can watch the video on the start-up and the work of the citizen jury, in cooperation with Confluences (formerly Centre d'Appui Co-creation) #fundedbyinnoviris
Feel free to onsult the policy brief in attach for more detailed information!