How can municipalities define and develope strategies for local democracy through citizen participation? And how could the strategy be used in daily life in political decisionmaking and implementation?
A local government reform in Denmark will next year strongly reduce the number of municipalities into larger cities with more tasks and thus more political responsibility. It will have an impact on local democracy. The current project of the Danish Board of Technology – which started in March and will be finished at the end of this year – will use the opportunity to try to increase the political awareness towards more citizen participation. Producing concrete examples using different kinds of participation in the new areas of tasks the project aimes to inspire the municipalities with speciel reference to strengthening local democracy. Read more on the project homepage.
A policy for sustainable innovation and technology
Concluded project on environmental technology, expert-based, governance and stakeholder involvement
Do Norwegian authorities stimulate the development and usage of new technology that promotes sustainable development sufficiently? The Norwegian Board of Technology appointed a group of experts that has discussed these questions and written a report on a policy for sustainable innovation and technology. Ever since the days of the Brundtland Commission, Norway has been ambitious with regards to sustainable development. The EU has launched a comprehensive plan of action for environmentally-friendly technology. This is an exciting example of a systematic and wide-ranging approach to the subject. It also gives us a sound basis to reflect upon Norwegian practice in this area.
Technology a key part
A sustainable society must combine a defensible administration of the Earth’s resources with value adding and continued growth. In the course of working to achieve this, technology will undoubtedly play a key role. New technology can promote the production of energy from renewable energy sources, the environmentally-friendly transportation of people, goods and services, and the recirculation and reuse of waste disposal. Sustainable development is, however, a common good which is in little demand in the marketplace. The lack of demand is one of many barriers that hinder the desired development in technology.
Public authorities should act
So that technology may contribute to sustainable development, these barriers must be identified and overcome. Public authorities should play a prominent role in this task. The authorities have at their disposal numerous means of action that can reduce the barriers and stimulate the development and use of technology. This requires, however, a deliberate awareness about which means of action are available and how they can best be utilised.
What can obstruct a sustainable innovation?
The project was finished by the 31st December 2005. The Board of Technology’s group of experts launched its report already in April 2005. At the core of the report is a thorough discussion of selected obstacles to a policy of sustainable innovation and technology, and a corresponding discussion of the means of action that public authorities may use to overcome the obstacles.
The report concludes with a set of recommendations that may contribute to promoting a more sustainable innovation and technology policy in Norway.
You can download the publication at the website of the Norwegian Board of Technology.
Exploiting research through standardization
A best practice guide
Standardization is an often-neglected route for exploiting research results. This Best Practice Guide aims to assist researchers with little or no experience of standardization to plan, implement and exploit their research through standards, achieving maximum benefit from their work. and will provide the basic information to exploit certain research results through the development of standards.For further information please visit www.maxiquest.net.
Governance, Democracy and Participation:
The POWER Inquiry in the UK
The POWER Inquiry was set up in 2004 to explore how political participation and involvement can be increased and deepened in Britain. Its work is based on the primary belief that a healthy democracy requires the active participation of its citizens. Since the historically unprecedented decline in turnout in 2001 many political organisations have put considerable effort into analysing the roots of voter abstention and the current state of political engagement in the UK.
The Inquiry was set up with the aim to understand why the decline in popular participation and involvement in formal politics has occurred and to provide concrete and innovative proposals to reverse the trend.
After eighteen months of investigation, the final report of Power was published end of February. It is a devastating critique of the state of formal democracy in Britain.
See www.powerinquiry.org or download the report from their website.
POWER also commissioned research to look at the most exciting innovations in democratic participation from across the world. Beyond the Ballot - 57 democratic innovations from around the world collates, describes, assesses and draws lessons from the most exciting innovations in democratic participation from around the world. Download PDF of Beyond the Ballot.
Project database of the EPTA network
The new database presents all the technology assessment projects that have been supported by the participating parliamentary offices in the last six years. It is now possible to make a first analysis of the themes which these organizations have brought to the policy debate in their countries. This database is a tool and the analysis would gain by looking at the publications of these offices as well (the links to their web sites makes this possible).
The DOTIK Training SchoolA European Masterclass on Science and Society for Museum Explainers, SISSA, Trieste, 28 August – 2 September 2006
The DOTIK training school is the first European Masterclass specifically addressing explainers, animators, demonstrators and all the personnel directly interacting with the public in science centres, science museums, science festivals and aims at enhancing their role to act as a proactive, two-way interface between science and society. The DOTIK training school will be held in Trieste, Italy, from August 28 to September 2, 2006, in the premises of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) and the Immaginario Scientifico Science Centre. The participation to the school is limited to 50 explainers from European science centres and museums. Participation is free of charge and travel grants will be awarded to small centres and new European countries. Detailed information and application forms can be found on the web site www.dotik.eu. Deadline for application is 14 June 2006.
Science Shop Summerschool
A four day introduction in Science Shops, 22-25 August 2006, Utrecht (the Netherlands)
The summerschool addresses to scientists, science communicators, community leaders, NGO representatives, graduate students, PhD students, and others who are interested in setting up a Science Shop or starting Community-Based Research projects. Clear links will be made to the EC Science and Society policy and other activities to improve citizens access to, and participation in research.
Deadline for registration is 1 July 2006. The fee of 300,- € includes course materials, Science shop site visits and housing. Scholarships are possible. More information about the programme, housing, scholarships are available at www.livingknowledge.org or at the International Science Shop Contact Point, Utrecht University, Caspar de Bok, firstname.lastname@example.org