CIPAST – Citizen Participation in Science and Technology
The CIPAST-Project aims to bring together organizations with significant experience in the use of participatory procedures in scientific and technological issues, belonging to the different families of experienced actors in that field - such as parliamentary offices, research institutes, science shops and science museums, academic researchers - and already structured in European networks (European Parliamentary Technology Assessment - EPTA, IGLO, European Network of Science Centres and Museums -ECSITE, Living Knowledge).
These organisations will be mobilized to set up a training programme tailored to the various contexts in which participation of civil society is relevant. The training programme will be designed by processing experience-based feedback gained from forty international organisations with recent practice in participatory initiatives. The target audience for this training programme will be decision-makers belonging not only to the political sphere, but also to the research sector, non-profit organisations and industry. A special effort will be made to identify participants in the new member states of the E.U.
In the last decades, the involvement of civil society and citizens in policy deliberation and decision-making processes relating to scientific and technical issues has undergone significant and also highly heterogeneous changes in European countries. Following public controversies about energy policy issues in the 1970s and 1980s, the emergence of biotechnology and environmental protection have especially led to an increasing involvement of citizens and stakeholders in assessment and deliberation procedures, which had previously largely remained confined to experts and decision-makers. Ways of involving civil society have been very diverse, ranging from social mobilisations, the development of associations and NGOs, to the introduction of formal participatory procedures in more or less institutionalised decision-making and deliberation settings.
Bringing the actors together, pooling their various capacities, and integrating their contextual perspectives through a common platform, will provide an opportunity to disseminate useful practices more efficiently, to boost innovation, and to foster the emergence of a European culture of participatory democracy in scientific and technological issues.
The CIPAST platform will moreover contribute to structure an expanded network of European organisations involved in participatory processes, through dissemination of best practises and circulation of information and documentation, thanks to the management of a discussion list, a website and a European newsletter, and to the organisation of several workshops.
CIPAST is coordinated by Cité de la Sciènces et de l’Industrie, Paris.
The other project partners are:
-Rathenau Institute (Den Haag, NL),
-Danish Board of Technology (Kopenhagen, DK),
-University of Westminster (London, Centre for Studies of Democracy, UK),
-Université de Lausanne (Science and Society Interface, CH),
-Citta' della Scienza (Neapel, I),
-Deutsches Hygienemuseum (Dresden, D),
-Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale - INSERM (Paris, F),
-Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - INRA (Paris, F),
-ARMINES (Paris, F),
-Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (Paris, F)
-Bonn Science Shop (Bonn, D).
CIPAST is a 24 months project and started on April 2004. It is funded by the European Commission under the Science and Society action
For more information, visit the project website: