Public engagement

Public engagement examines the forms, methods and effects of new kinds of engagement as well as the role of engagement in institutional change. In recent years this theme has interested researchers and politicians in various contexts, such as science, innovation, consumption and the environment. Relevant theories can be found in research on deliberation, which falls under political studies. Public engagement is one of the five basic pillars in the European Research Area (ERA) and the EU’s Horizon 2020 research funding, which means that public engagement must be taken into account in all EU-funded research.

The Consumer Society Research Centre has a strong tradition of engagement research in numerous projects that have explored the economic and political engagement of consumers by using consumer panels in conjunction with the evaluation of engaging and constructive technology. Three current EU projects focus on the theme of engagement: CASI, CIMULACT and PE2020. These were preceded by several other EU and Finnish projects, which also concentrated on issues of public engagement. Research on engagement has explored both service engagement and democratic engagement. EU projects have investigated international engagement practices and their role in both of the above dimensions. In addition, deliberative workshops have been held to anticipate or evaluate policy and decision-making issues.

The PE2020 project will open interesting perspectives for research on public engagement as well as its further development. The project has allowed those involved to influence the development of EU and Finnish research and innovation policy by promoting increased social interaction. The project has also established a seminar on engaging decision-making to support dialogue between researchers and the users of their results. The seminar has since been accepted as one of the University of Helsinki’s doctoral seminars and has led to a “spin-off” pilot of the Demola approach in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area together with all University faculties, as well as to collaboration with funders.

Researchers

Mikko Rask, Kaisa Matschoss, Minna Kaarakainen, Petteri Repo

Publications

  • Rask, M. T., Mačiukaitė-Žvinienė, S., Tauginienė, L., Dikčius, V., Matschoss, K. J., Aarrevaara, T. & d’Andrea, L. (2016). Innovative Public Engagement: A Conceptual Model of Public Engagement in Dynamic and Responsible Governance of Research and Innovation. Helsinki: PE2020, European Union.
  • Rask, M and Worthington, R (2015). Governing Biodiversity through Democratic Deliberation. Routledge, Abingdon, UK and New York, U.S.
  • Rask, M (2013). The tragedy of citizen deliberation – two cases of participatory technology assessment. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 25(1), p. 39-55.
  • Rask, M Maciukaite-Zviniene, S & Petrauskiene, J (2012). Innovations in public engagement and participatory performance of the nations. Science and Public Policy, 39, p. 710-721.
  • Rask, M, Worthington, R and Lammi, M (2012). Citizen Participation in Global Environmental Governance. Earthscan/ Routledge, London, UK and New York, USA.