In recent years, there has been a change in the way the relationships between science and the public are discussed. Policy-making bodies are increasingly interested in new forms of dialogue with members of the public.
In November 2010 Sciencewise Expert Resource Centre (Sciencewise-ERC) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) – which later merged with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to become the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) – commissioned a project to explore the cross-cutting public concerns around science and technology have influenced the governance of science organisations.
There were five stages to this project including:
- a literature review of 17 public dialogues of science and technology;
- 40 interviews with senior staff in science organisations;
- ethnographic work involving two organisations;
- a stakeholder workshop at the Royal Society; and
- a final report published in November 2011.
A variety of organisations and universities were involved in the delivery of the project. These include, The Royal Society, The University of Durham, The University of East Anglia and TNS-BMRB. The project was independently evaluated by Cardiff University.
This project has provided a deeper understanding of the relationship between public concerns and values towards science and technology and issues of governance.