Participatory Approaches in Science & Technology (PATH)
CONFERENCE. 4th-7th June 2006, Edinburgh, Scotland.
The PATH conference explored how best to involve stakeholders and the public in policy development and decision-making on science and technology issues. The conference brought together policy makers, practitioners and academics to exchange knowledge and explore future directions for public participation in these areas. Using a combination of keynote speakers; papers addressing state of the art theory and practical examples; and interactive sessions, participants considered experiences and innovative ideas from around the world.
The aims of the conference were to:
- Encourage participants to critically examine public participation and propose appropriate and practical ways forward;
- Engage participants in exploring how different values and interests could be identified and represented in participatory processes, and in policy formulation more generally;
- Encourage participants to critically examine the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of using participatory methods at different scales and levels;
- Provide a dynamic and fun environment for sharing, learning and thinking creatively about participation.
The conference was part of the PATH project, a Science and Society Coordination Action funded under European Commission 6th Framework Programme for Research.
The final conference programme and book of abstracts is available here.
During the conference two plenary workshops took place where participants examined the following questions using a H-diagram and action planning approach:
- How effectively are the public involved in policy development?
- How good are participatory methods at involving people at multiple scales?
- How well are different values represented in participatory processes?
- H-diagram and action plan for the policy development question.
- H-diagram and action plan for the scale question.
- H-diagram and action plan for the representation question.
Full papers on the method used and the results will be available in the conference proceeding which will be available in September.
Organisers and Project Partners
The conference was organised by the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute as part of the PATH (Participatory Approaches in Science and Technology) project. The PATH project is a European Commission 6th Framework Programme (Science and Society) Coordination Action.
The PATH Project
The aim of the PATH project is to form a network of interested parties concerned with the involvement of society in the deliberation of science-based policy issues. Academics, practitioners, policy-makers and stakeholders will exchange knowledge and develop future directions for public participation in science and technology issues. The project focuses specifically on two persistent and ongoing challenges: scale and representation. These two cross-cutting themes will be explored at a generic level, and also be illustrated and analysed via three case study areas. The case study areas have been selected to represent ongoing areas of debate, areas of current policy development and upcoming issues: genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, biodiversity conservation and nanotechnology. A list of PATH Project partners can be found here.
Conference funding and sponsors
This conference was funded as part of the EC PATH project. Dr Kenyon’s time on the project was funded as part of a Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD) Research Fellowship. We are also grateful to SEERAD, the Macaulay Development Trust, the VISULANDS project, and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) who all sponsored elements of the conference.
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