Online public workshop at Berlin Science Week 2020

On 5 November 2020, interested members of the public participated in our online workshop ‘The Future of Research and Research for the Future’ as part of Berlin Science Week 2020. During the two-hour Dialogue of Opportunities, participants discussed how actors from research, civil society, business, and politics can and should collaborate to bring about a positive future for all. One thing is certain: non-scientists will play an important and – perhaps – essential part in research processes that produce solutions to the most pressing issues of our time. You can find our flyer for this event here.

The Dialogue of Opportunities consisted of a series of interactive formats. Lale Antinalana opened the event with a brief introduction to our research project Transferwissenschaft, followed by a recorded welcome lecture given by Prof Dr Martina Schraudner. Martina Schraudner is head of the department of Gender and Diversity and Product Development at TU Berlin, head of the Fraunhofer Center for Responsible Research and Innovation, and member of the board of acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering. In the recording, Martina Schraudner emphasised that the future of research and the innovation system is largely shaped by the continuous and successful transfer of knowledge between different stakeholders. Formats such as Berlin Science Week make an important contribution to this. Watch her welcome message in the window box or in full here.

The welcome lectire was followed by a series of discussion sessions moderated by our project members Lale Antinalana, Carla Pelzeter, Henriette Ruhrmann, Caro Stoeckermann, Leonie Terfurth, and Konstantin Kiprijanov. The discussions were framed by three scenarios, which used illustrations and narratives to raise a number of questions, and which provided an exciting entry point into the ensuing debates: which research topics can academics and non-academics work on together? How should research be funded in the future? What are the implications of open data and open science? And what responsibility does research have towards society in general? You can find more information about the scenarios and download an illustrated brochure here.

At the end of the event, Lale Antinalana and Konstantin Kiprijanov summarised the main results of the discussions. Participants raised the issue as to who will have access to research in the future: will it be easier or more difficult for citizens to participate in research processes? Do we need new competencies, such as data literacy, when research data become accessible to all? Will there continue to be population groups that have no interest in participating in research processes? How can we develop and institutionalise quality standards for citizen participation? In addition, participants frequently emphasised that research should focus more around a particular mission, and be based on the needs of society. At the same time, participants asked: are there competing and conflicting needs withing different stakeholder groups in society? What are the implications of needs-based research? And should we be concerned that in the long term there might be less diversity of research activities and topics? This selection of questions is indicative of a very lively discussion, which called on academics and scientists to reflect on research practices from a societal perspective.

Following the principle of transdisciplinarity, our project aims to make ongoing research not only visible and transparent, but also to allow non-experts to have their say. In the course of the project, the results of the Dialogue of Opportunities will be incorporated into our research, and passed on to decision-makers in politics and academia. In this way, we ensure that we do not stop at mapping interests and needs of participants in knowledge transfer processes, but fully integrate them into our research work.

We are planning more events of this kind for 2021 – check our website regularly for more information! Do you have questions about our research project or would you like to discuss knowledge and technology transfer with us? Use the contact form or write a message to project leader Dr Florian Schütz. Contact us, we look forward to your feedback!