Brodersen, Søsser Grith Kragh1, Teodosiu, Carmen2, Jørgensen, Michael Søgaard1
Bilding partnership for public access to research
This report is the outcome of the Workpackage 4 of the EU project: ISSNET (Improving Science Shop Networking), which is a 'Thematic Network' in the 5th Framework Programme of The European Commissions Directorate- General Research. 5 organisations, from Germany, Romania, Austria and Denmark has participated this workpackage. The objectives of this workpackage relates to the facilitation of transnational research co-operation among Science Shops and development of concepts and procedures for co-operation between the International Science Shop Network Living Knowledge’s members, on community based research themes that cross borders. The report considers a series of activities that initially involved co-operation between ISSNET partners on a specific topic (Sustainable Water Management and Land Use), as well as international research projects undertaken previously through intermediaries such as Science Shops. The findings of this workpackage are structured under the headings: • Opportunities for transnational co-operation within the field of sustainable water management and land use • Dissemination tools and events • Previous and recent experiences with transnational research cooperation among Science Shops • Identification of other relevant topics and tools for thematic cooperation Opportunities for transnational co-operation within the field of sustainable water management and land use The basis of analysing opportunities for transnational co-operation within the field of sustainable water management and land use (a pilot project) is represented by case studies of 12 Science Shop/transfer organisation projects. The analyses shows that NGOs usually co-operate with all kind of organisations, e.g. other NGOs, official bodies, universities, Science Shops and Science Shop-like organisations. Some of the NGOs have a lot of international experience (mainly in Denmark and Germany) as partners in different co-operation projects. Almost all the NGOs have recognized the important role of the scientific information in their activity. NGOs also feel the need for an easy access to required information and documentation on environmental issues, and the network development that is envisaged should among other aspects address this issue. The main activities that scientists carry out in this field of work are related to educational programs, research activities and various thematic projects. The educational programs are designed to provide knowledge and expertise for those interested in environmental problems: students, NGOs, representatives of water work companies, sewage companies as well as policy makers in the field of water management and land use. Scientists usually co-operate with other scientists and researchers in thematic projects. All of the interviewees have international experience due to scientific exchanges, conferences and project participations. Some of the researchers have co-operation with the civil society and some with Science Shops. The interviewed scientists have proposed many other topics relevant for transnational co-operation like: an investigation/project concerning the driving forces behind urban development,or a co-operation in the field of wastewater reuse and minimization of wastewater loads and discharge, or a service page (internet) to search for potential partners. The governmental institutions represented cover a wide spectrum of responsibilities in the field of water management and land use: water supply, legislation enforcement, regulation controls, planning, consultancy and advocacy, activities of structural modifications of the water bodies. Within their specific activities and responsibilities, governmental institutions co-operate with similar organisations/institutions. Some of them have contact with universities and Science Shops. Network activities have little representation among these institutions; though there are institutions that are part of different networks. The Science Shops represented are all affiliated to a university, whereas the Transfer organisations represented are independent organisations with both formal and informal relations to a specific university. All the representatives’ work within the area of sustainable water management and land use, by mediating projects, carrying out projects and/or conducting educational activities. The Science Shops and Transfer organisations have multiple contacts, connections and co-operations with various organisations, like NGOs, citizens groups, scientists, students, and governmental institutions. Further, all the organisations are members of different types of informal and formal networks. Several different kinds of existing co-operation and network relations were identified and discussed in this report: • NGO - NGO relations • NGO - Science Shops relations • NGO - Scientists’ relations • NGO – Governmental Institutions relations • Scientists – Scientists • Scientists – Governmental Institutions relations • Science Shop – Science Shop • Science Shop – Scientists cooperation and networking relations • Science Shops – Governmental Institutions relations • Science Shops – NGO – Scientist – Government Institution relations • Governmental institutions –Governmental Institutions relations Research themes which can be the subject of knowledge production and exchange or developed into future co-operation programmes, based on the representatives in this study are as follows. It should however by noted that given the fact that most of the interviewees activate in the environmental field, their input and suggestions, as well as their expectations and interests are related to environmental issues: Environmental Theme within the areas of Sustainable Water Management and Land Use • Pollution of lakes, streams, rivers and oceans • Groundwater pollution • Environmental education/awareness programs • Wastewater • Soil pollution • Rural development • Urban planning • Nature Protection • Environmental aspects in general Environmental Theme outside the area of Sustainable Water Management and Land Use • Urban planning • Air pollution • Waste management • Integrated prevention and control of pollution • Dioxin leakage from incinerators • Nuclear power • Transport • Energy and climate • GMO • Environmental conditions in communities • Cleaner production • Environmental impact of human activities • Common international Science Shop database • Comparative studies of Science Shop projects • The relationship between health and environment Dissemination tools and events Different measures have been applied to disseminate and share knowledge and experiences with target groups. A website for transnational research cooperation has been established, with the purpose to facilitate research and information exchange between ISSNET-WP4 partners, focusing on the WP4 objectives, agenda and actions, materialized by abstracts, articles, interviews, reports, workshops on the theme of the pilot project: Sustainable Water Management and Land Use. The website can be seen at: http://www.scienceshops.org/WP4_web/wp4_main.htm. vii The FBI-Centre in Austria organised a network meeting on sustainable water management with the aim of disseminating the results of the case studies and with the focus on existing trans-national research co-operations and expectations. A WP4 session at the 2nd Living Knowledge Conference in Seville, Spain, was held with the aim of: 1) disseminating WP4 research activities and findings, especially related to environmental topics and the WP4 pilot project, 2) presenting papers submitted to the LK conference within the environmental field, and 3) discussing opportunities to enhance research co-operation at transnational level developed on themes requested by community groups. Another session at the 2nd Living Knowledge Conference in Seville, Spain was held focussing on sustainable agriculture and forestry. The aim of the session was to improve the exchange on learning and networking experience, activities and potential in rural areas as well as participatory methods used. A Symposium in Berlin on Water: “Trading good – weapon – human right” was held with the aim of discussing ways towards sustainable water management with the broader public. A research co-operation between an EU Research Networks, ACCENT, NGOs and Science Shops has been initiated based on a request from the coordinator of the ACCENT work package on “Integration scientific activities with policy-making and public awareness”. The Science Shop DTU has become member of the Steering Group of this work package. The activities in this cooperation have so far been: • Survey of air pollution related activities in Science Shops in the Living Knowledge network and among environmental civil society organisations. • Joint planning of a workshop about the interaction of the ACCENT researchers with policy makers, civil society organisations and the general public: “Are we listening enough?”. • Dialogue about possible activities in the ACCENT network supporting the interaction with policy makers, civil society organisations and the general public leading to a work plan for next year. • Initiating research, including a PhD project, based on dialogue and interaction between civil society organisations, ACCENT researchers about strategies for analysis, abatement and prevention of air pollution. Previous and recent experiences with transnational research cooperation among Science Shops Four experiences with transnational research co-operation among Science Shops have been analysed with the aim of investigating which kind of support and benefit they perceive as important for future transnational research cooperation. The benefits of the co-operation mentioned by the participants in the four studies are: • It was useful, challenging and broaden their perspective in relation to future international co-operation between Science Shops and students • New potentials of international mediated student co-operation would benefit both the students and the Science Shops position in education • The NGO got an international perspective on the problem investigated, which participated to broaden the perspectives of the problem • New knowledge was developed • New courses and case studies was initiated based on the project experiences • Very useful for the students in relation to their future career • Curricular development The desired support from Science Shops in order to improve transnational cooperation are identified to be: • Search for national/international project partners • Access to existent co-operation projects or networks • Develop in common project proposals on themes requested by community groups • Exchange information/good operational practices • Linking topics in one country to another country • Perceived local problems may be problems experienced in other communities and solutions could be sought together – making clear that local problems may not be as local as perceived • To bring NGOs together and make them aware that they face the same problems just in different contexts • Dissemination of existent knowledge at national and international level • Develop in common educational or training programs Identification of other relevant topics and tools for thematic co-operation An Internet research on EU-programmes, funding lines and existing international co-operations and projects has been conducted as a supplement to identify other relevant topics and tools for transnational research cooperation, than identified by the interviewees represented in this study. The internet research covered the 6th Framework Programme and the 7th Framework Programme. The recommendation of this internet research is that Science Shops should look through the various programmes and programme lines of the EU and search for new “docking stations” for their integrative, cross-discipline and practice-oriented work and to position themselves as competent partners on the project market.