Shawn Jensen: GDPR is about giving citizens control over personal data

In this exclusive interview with Shawn Jensen, CEO of data privacy company Profila, EuroScientist editor finds out about the implications of the regulations for citizens and for researchers. Part of the discussion discusses the ins and out of giving consent, in an era where any organisations holding data is required to ensure that individual data is used appropriately.

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Science won’t be responsible until citizens get more involved

As the RRI Tools project comes to an end, it has gathered a collection of concrete solutions to engage citizens more closely with the research process. There is still a lot of work to be done to better associate citizens with the scientific process. As part of this special issue on RRI, we have asked experts in the field to take a step back and reflect on the next evolution of the RRI field. This makes for facinating reading.

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Associating citizens with the scientific process from the start

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) has become a new buzzword at the core of European science policy discourses. The issue is to devise ways for research to more adequately address the contemporary challenges of our society. In this opinion piece, Ulrike Felt, professor of science and technology studies from the University of Vienna, Austria, argues that before RRI can become a reality, before we will succeed opening-up research to societal actors and values, we will need to reconsider our arrangements at the core of academia.

Noise pollution: give citizens the means to reclaim their peace

Airport runways have the potential to cause long-term noise disturbance for those living in their vicinity. Associated health problems could also affect these neighbours. In the past 14 years, an EU Directive designed to measure the level of environmental noise and mitigate its effects on people’s health has been in place. However, its implementation in each Member States has watered down the provisions designed to empower citizens to force further noise reduction measures. EuroScientist investigates what could be done to give citizens living near noisy transport environments the means to get back an acceptable level of peace.

Sheila Jasanoff: framing research with citizens’ perspectives

In this interview, Sheila Jasanoff, expert of the ‘science of looking at science’ from Harvard Kennedy School, warns that regulatory bodies alone cannot take decisions on thorny contemporary scientific issues, such as how to regulate the CRISPR gene editing technology, without involving society at large. She explains how the first order of framing research with society’s input is crucial for the future of science before even framing the problems to solve in scientific terms. This approach also implies putting oneself in the shoes of the people objecting to the results of scientific research.

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Aude Lapprand: a manifesto for involving citizens in science

In this interview with EuroScientist, Aude Lapprand presents the work of the Sciences Citoyennes Foundation, based in Paris, France. The organisation, which questions who should be responsible for choices made in science and how best to make science more democratic, to be discussed at the 7th Living Knowledge conference in June, in Dublin, Ireland. One of the solutions proposed relates to citizen convention where lay people are briefed to debate controversial topics in science.

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How citizens’ feedback can shape health research

Experts will discuss the latest research on healthy populations at the forthcoming EuroScience Open Forum event to be held in July 2016 in Manchester. The trouble is, until recently, often people who may be impacted by health research did not have a say in it. Several session organisers share their views on the new avenues that are explored to improve the link between health research and citizens.

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Chronic diseases: citizens’ rights and responsibilities

Despite advances in our understanding of management and prevention, chronic diseases are still on the rise. By 2030, estimates point that an additional 52 million people will die from chronic diseases. Public healthcare systems are under strain, and their budgets are getting smaller. How can we reverse the chronic disease epidemic? First and foremost, citizens can help themselves. Some governments in Europe have already tried to encourage healthier lifestyle choices. Is promoting healthy lifestyles authoritarian? Or is a government that fails to do so guilty of neglect?