Citizen Participation with Mission-Oriented Innovation: Integrating Lessons from Different Settings

Past Event
17 January 2022 15:15 (GMT)
17 January 2022 16:15 (GMT)

To tackle societal challenges, citizen participation provide a relatively new perspective for developing workable, accepted, scalable and shared solutions and implementations that are supported and used by and within society. Without citizens’ participation, complex system changes or behavioral changes will be hard to realize throughout society. We therefore see an expectation at national and local government levels, towards increased involvement of civil society in the affairs and decisions of policy-setting bodies.

Citizen participation is also considered a promising approach for realizing transformative innovation policies. However, in spite of the general support for the idea of involving citizens, there is relatively little knowledge about effective, inclusive and responsible ways of citizen participation in research and innovation. For example, all five proposals for the missions in Horizon Europe emphasize their ambitions to involve citizens, but none of them elaborates on the competences required from citizens, scientists, entrepreneurs or other participants to collaborate in a fruitful way.

In this session we aim to take stock of experiences with citizen participation in different domains: public administration, living laboratories, and scientific research. The assumption is that the knowledge from these domains can help to develop a more refined perspective on citizen participation with innovation and research for societal challenges or missions.

Ref: #20

Conceptualisation of innovation for transformative change
Transformative Missions


Amber Geurts
Dr. Amber Geurts is researcher in Challenge-driven Innovation at the Rathenau Institute, the Netherlands. She is also a visiting research fellow at Aalto University, School of Business in Finland. Amber holds a PhD in innovation management, and has a keen interest for questions concerning mission-oriented innovation policy in the Netherlands and Europe. The Rathenau Institute conducts independent research on the societal impact of science, technology and innovation.
Laurens Hessels
Laurens Hessels is a senior researcher at the Rathenau Instituut and a professor by special appointment at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) of Leiden University. Hessels’ research focuses on how interactions between researchers and practitioners can generate societal impact, and on public policies to facilitate these interactions. He also contributes to the development of methods for improving the evaluation of the societal value of research. Previously, Laurens has worked as a researcher and program manager at KWR Watercycle Research Institute and as a policy advisor at the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
Uta Wehn
Dr. Uta Wehn is Associate Professor of Water Innovation Studies and head of the Knowledge & Innovation Studies Development group at IHE Delft, the Netherlands. She is a social scientist from the field of science, technology & innovation studies, with a background in ICT. Her work at the intersection of data and knowledge co-creation, digital innovations and water and environment focuses on the social dynamics of innovation and how to harness digital transformations for participatory environmental governance and sustainable development. Her current Citizen Science projects include case studies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, using Living Labs principles and tailoring user-centred and multi-stakeholder co-design methods to citizen science. She is also Adlerbert Visiting Professor of Marine Citizen Science for Sustainable Development at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
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Marc Dijk
Dr. Marc Dijk is a research fellow at the Sustainability Institute of the School of Business and Economics at Maastricht University, the Netherlands. His main research interests are innovation and innovation policy, sustainability assessment and socio-technical transitions. He is also Honorable Research Associate at Oxford University (School of Geography and the Environment, Transport Studies Unit). Marc is currently principal investigator and project coordinator of SmarterLabs, an action- research project focussed on upscaling and social exclusion in Smart City Living Labs in Maastricht, Brussels, Graz and Bellinzona.
Margaret Gold
Margaret Gold is coordinator of the Citizen Science Lab of Leiden University, the Netherlands. Her research focus is Citizen Science as a collaborative transdisciplinary practice that engages society in scientific research across a wide range of areas of application. She has a particular interest in co-creative approaches, and Citizen Observatories for community-based environmental monitoring and policy change.
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Sanna Ghotbi
Sanna Ghotbi is co-owner, citizen participation consultant, trainer and speaker at Digidem Lab, Sweden. She is a citizen participation expert with a passion to create democracy from the bottom up. Digidem Lab is a non-profit lab for participatory democracy based in Sweden. Digidem Lab develops and offers internationally tested platforms, tools and methods to increase citizen participation. Digidem Lab works with municipalities and public institutions to design participatory democracy processes. Sana is also a board member of Global Participatory Budgeting Hub and Consul Democracy Foundation.