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Science needs an audience: €462M to increase public involvement and interest in R&D

According to an article published on Science|Business, recognising that innovation requires market acceptance, Horizon 2020 will invest €462 million over the next seven years on a new programme, ‘Science with and for society’. Science|Business looks at the plan for the first two years.


Science needs people – to join its ranks as future scientists, to ensure its objectives are properly aligned to needs, and to ensure its innovations find market acceptance. Yet the numbers pursuing careers in science and technology fail to meet demand, science is still perceived as a male domain, and a recent Eurobarometer survey found that 58 per cent of people feel they are not well-informed about the outputs of publicly-funded science. 

A new €462 million programme under Horizon 2020, ‘Science for and with society’, seeks to stem the tide by engaging with the public, increasing the attractiveness of science careers and addressing gender imbalance in the field. 

The programme kicks off with a budget of €45 million in 2014, and over the first two years will fund work to build cooperation between science and society, recruit new talent, and link scientific excellence with social awareness and responsibility. 

The first four calls launched in December are designed to:

• Make science education and careers attractive for young people 

• Promote gender equality in science • Integrate society in science and innovation 

• Develop governance for the advancement of responsible research and innovation 

Attracting new recruits

The first call, ‘Making science education and careers attractive for young people,’ will spend €12.2 million in 2014 to promote curricula in science education that attract more young people - and especially girls - to science and help young people to pursue scientific careers.

Promoting gender equality in research

A further €19.5 million will be spent in 2014 on four actions designed to increase the participation and interest of girls in science. The Commission will also provide support to research organisations in the implementation of gender equality strategies and develop a common framework for evaluating national initiatives to promote gender equality in research policy. 

Integrating Society in Science and Innovation

This call aims to increase public engagement in science, an objective the Commission says is necessary to increase the quality, relevance, social acceptability and sustainability of research outputs. 

It will include events such as exhibitions, science cafes and fora that bring citizens and scientists together. 

The budget of €10.3 million in 2014 will also include actions to support structural change in research organisations and higher education institutions, in order to promote responsible research and innovation.

Read more on Science|Business



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