Meeting of Minds: European Citizens' Deliberation on Brain Science
How will we harness our new-found knowledge of the brain?
Meeting of Minds is a unique exercise involving the general public in a discussion on cutting-edge science. Citizens from nine European countries suggested what they think should be done with our new-found knowledge of the brain.
Throughout 2005 and into early 2006 they debated the ethical, social and legal implications with international experts. The citizens' conclusions on the use of new technology, medicines and techniques form one of the main results of the project and are aimed at policy-makers at European and national level.
The participation events organised by the project featured 126 citizens from nine European countries. The events involved assessment of and deliberation on the issue of brain science with various experts and public policy-makers.
The concept of the European Citizens' Deliberation is mainly rooted in the European tradition of participatory technology assessment and foresight. The overall aim of this tradition is to consider and assess socially relevant issues in the field of science and technology by actively involving experts, citizens, civil society actors and policy-makers in various methodological procedures.
Its wider objectives are to:
• provide relevant analyses of scientific-technological issues in their socio-political contexts (present and future);
• offer advice to policy- and decision-makers; enhance social learning among experts, stakeholders and citizens;
• stimulate and inform public debate.
Country: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, United Kingdom
Coordinator: King Baudouin Foundation, Belgium, www.kbs-frb.be
- University of Westminster, UK
- Flemish Institute for Science and Technology Assessment, Belgium
- Danish Board of Technology, Denmark
- Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, France
- Stiftung Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Germany
- Fondazione IDIS Città della Scienza, Italy
- Rathenau Institute, The Netherlands
- Science Museum's Dana Centre, United Kingdom
- University of Debrecen, Medical and Health Science Centre, Hungary
- Eugenides Foundation, Greece
- University of Liège, SPIRAL, Belgium
Target groups: general public, industry, policy makers, researchers
Topic: Biology, Biomedicine, Medical sciences
Start year: 2004
End year: 2006
Contact person: Tinne Vandensande (project manager), vandensande.t (at) kbs-frb.be
European Citizens' Deliberation is a method of deliberative, multilingual assessment by citizens, in close collaboration with experts and stakeholders. It comprises several interrelated methodological tools based on best practices in public participation in science and technology and is designed to achieve effective deliberation by citizens, experts and stakeholders at both the national and European levels.
Central to the ECD methodology is a pan-European citizens' panel which initiates parallel national assessments. The national results are then input into transnational European deliberation conducted by a European panel. In each of these steps, dialogue with and input from relevant experts and stakeholder groups are crucial elements in the deliberative process.
The initiative uses the concept of participatory governance which – for the purpose of policy deliberation and decision-making – aims to enhance the networking capacity among various stakeholders and strengthen the links between the interests of citizens and consumers, thereby complementing existing, ‘top-down' representative methods of policy- and decision-making.