Sciencewise is the UK’s exemplar programme for developing robust, qualitative evidence about the public’s views on policy involving science and technology. That hasn’t changed since the public dialogue programme was begun in 2004.
Much else has – a different set of issues now drive much of the policy agenda, from climate change to Covid. The world of citizen participation has changed too. We’ve seen a surge of interest in deliberative engagement (both in the UK and internationally), as well as a flourishing of online participation tools which show promise for reaching more people and engaging audiences in new ways.
It’s in this new context that UKRI decided to commission a Review of the Sciencewise programme, conducted by the School of International Futures (SOIF).
The aim was to take stock of Sciencewise, and to gather examples of innovative citizen participation projects from oversees to stretch our thinking. SOIF used these insights to formulate recommendations for how Sciencewise public dialogues can have continued relevance and impact.
The Review is now informing the strategic planning process for the design of the Sciencewise programme in 2021 and beyond. UKRI will provide further updates on progress as we continue to scope out and work on a Terms of Reference for the next iteration of the programme, which is due to start in April 2021.