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Science & Technology

Here are the 16 resources from Science & Technology.

A Seat at the Table: Membership in Federal Advisory Committees Evaluating Public Policy in Genetics

Caterine F. Ard and Marvin R. Natowicz. American Journal of Public Health, 91 (5), 787, 2001.

This study examined who participates in federal government advisory committees regarding public policy in human and medical genetics, what parties they represent, and to what extent the general public is meaningfully represented.

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Biolaw and Deliberative Democracy: Regulating Human Genetic Technology in a Democratic Pluralist Society

Kathy Liddell.

The UK government reported in 1999 that the regulatory framework for biotechnology ('biolaw') should be based on a system of expert advisory panels that advise Ministers about scientific advances, ethical implications and public opinion in a transparent, timely and independent way. Put in such a general and abstract form, this sounds uncommonly reassuring. However, the complexity lies in the detail. For example: what sort of people should be the appointed experts, to what extent should the experts be influenced by public opinions, and how should they go about determining public opinions? This research will consider whether some of these tensions are rationally resolved by deliberative democracy.

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Case Study of the Danish Board of Technology Great for Beginners

Sandy Heierbacher. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2003.

The Board of Technology was established by the Danish Parliament in 1986 to help ensure that technology decisions are made wisely. In its assessments of technology issues, the Board makes use of expert knowledge as well as the insight and experience of non-expert citizens. Armed with this knowledge, the Board of Technology is able to serve as an independent source of high-quality advice and assessment to the Parliament regarding technology issues. The Board of Technology also encourages decision-makers and citizens to engage in informed debate and discussion about technology issues.

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Consensus Conference Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Consensus Conferences, developed in Denmark, are used in a variety of settings and typically involve a group of citizens with varied backgrounds who meet to discuss issues of a scientific or technical nature. The conference has two stages: the first involves small group meetings with experts to discuss the issues and work towards consensus. The second stage assembles experts, media and the public where the conferences main observations and conclusions are presented.

Democratic Technologies? Final report of the Nanotechnology Engagement Group (NEG)

Karin Gavelin and Richard Wilson, with Robert Doubleday. Nanotechnologies Engagement Group and Involve, 2007.

In laboratories across the world, new scientific territory is being uncovered everyday; territory that offers groundbreaking opportunities for society, as well as new risks and unexpected challenges. The power of technology is clear, but its governance is not. Who or what makes these world-shaping decisions? And in whose interests are they made? These are the questions posed by a growing number of researchers, NGOs, citizens, politicians and scientists who seek to challenge the way that science and technology is governed and invent new ways to democratise the development of new technologies. This 172-page report documents the progress of six projects that have sought to do just that – by engaging the public in discussions about the governance and development of nanotechnologies. Includes an Appendix listing 17 international public engagement projects (including their findings).

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Democs (deliberative meeting of citizens) is part card game, part policy-making tool that enables small groups of people to engage with complex public policy issues. It helps people find out about a topic, express their views, seek common ground with the other participants, and state their preferred policy position from a given choice of four. Participants can also add their own policy positions.

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Evaluating the First U.S. Consensus Conference: The Impact of the Citizens' Panel on Telecommunications and the Future of Democracy

David H. Guston, Rutgers University. Science, Technology, & Human Values, Vol. 24, No. 4, 451-482 (1999). Sage Publications., 1999.

Consensus conferences, also known as citizens' panels - a collection of lay citizens akin to a jury but charged with deliberating on policy issues with a high technical content - are a potentially important way to conduct technology assessments, inform policy makers about public views of new technologies, and improve public understanding of and participation in technological decision making. The first citizens' panel in the United States occurred in April 1997 on the issue of "Telecommunications and the Future of Democracy." This article evaluates the impact of this citizens' panel.

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Evaluation of a Deliberative Conference

Gene Rowe, Roy Marsh, and Lynn J. Frewer. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 29 (1), 88-121, 2004.

The concept of public participation is currently one of great interest to researchers and policy makers. In response to a perceived need for greater public involvement in decision making and policy formation processes on the part of both policymakers and the general public, a variety of novel mechanisms have been developed, such as the consensus conference and citizens jury, to complement traditional mechanisms, such as the public meeting. However, the relative effectiveness of the various mechanisms is unclear, as efforts at evaluation have been sparse. In this article, the authors describe an evaluation of a two-day "deliberative conference" on the topic of radiation dose assessment.

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Internet Speech and Privacy Issue Guide

Public Agenda.

Privacy and free speech are already among the nation's most difficult social issues; and it would be startling if the Internet did not raise new concerns about both of them. Few rules exist about what can be said or done over this new medium -- and no one is really in charge of setting them. Public Agenda Issue Guides or “Citizen Choicework Guides” contain background information on the topic and present three different approaches to the issue for people to deliberate.

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Loka Institute

Founded in 1987, the Loka Institute is a non-profit research and advocacy organization concerned with the social, political, and environmental repercussions of science and technology. Loka works to make science and technology more responsive to social and environmental concerns by expanding opportunities for grassroots, public-interest group, everyday citizen, and worker involvement in vital facets of science and technology decision making.

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Medical Research Issue Guide

Public Agenda.

Over the last century, medical research has arguably advanced human health more than all the previous 5,000 years combined. Scourges such as polio and measles have been virtually eliminated in the U.S., and we have vastly increased our arsenal of treatments to fight AIDS and cancer. But at the same time, advances in genetic research force us to address the social implications of being able to fundamentally alter our inner composition. Public Agenda Issue Guides or “Citizen Choicework Guides” contain background information on the topic and present three different approaches to the issue for people to deliberate.

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Nanodialogues: Experiments in public engagement with science

Jack Stilgoe. Demos, 2007.

Depending who you ask, nanotechnology might be the Next Big Thing, the Next Asbestos or the Next GM. But before its impacts have been felt, nanotechnology has become a test case for a new sort of governance. It is an opportunity to reimagine the relationship between science and democracy. The emergence of nanotechnology has coincided with a greater openness in science and innovation policy. For government, public engagement has become a way of avoiding a repeat of past mistakes. This pamphlet presents the findings of the Nanodialogues – a series of experiments in upstream public engagement with different partners in different contexts.

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Oceans for Everyone: A Dialogue on Seattle, the Sound and the Seas in the 21st Century

Public Agenda.

What can and should be done about the state of the Sound and the oceans? How should we address these issues? And how can science help us? Science is clearly vital to understanding these sorts of problems and their potential solutions. Science, however, cannot solve all our problems by itself - it takes regular citizens, along with policymakers, public institutions and businesses, to create real change. This Citizen ChoiceWork Guide from Public Agenda explores the problems facing the Sound and how citizens can work together with scientists and policymakers to address them. To help get the discussion going, we have suggested three different approaches to addressing the challenges facing Seattle, the Sound and the Seas in the 21st Century.

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Public Engagement Pilot Project on Pandemic Influenza (PEPPPI) Highly Recommended

In one of the most exemplary recent US government efforts to engage the public around an urgent issue, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) convened a series of public consultations on pandemic flu in the last quarter of 2005. The purpose of the Public Engagement Pilot Project on Pandemic Influenza (PEPPPI) was to inform decision-makers about the public's priorities for the use of pandemic influenza vaccine during a period of anticipated shortage. This information is intended to lead to a sounder, more supportable decision and to demonstrate that citizens can be productively engaged in informing vaccine related policy decisions thereby leading to more public engagement in the future.

Resource Link: was founded in order to help journalists, policy makers and engaged citizens become better informed about innovative public policies. In addition to their online news gathering activities, periodically publishes printed reference materials that are free for the asking, including a State of the States report released every January. They also sponsor professional development conferences and workshops for the news media, including the annual conference of CapitolBeat, the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors.

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The Vlaams Instituut voor Wetenschappelijk en Technologisch Aspectenonderzoek (viWTA) is an independent and autonomous institute, associated with the Flemish Parliament. The viWTA wishes to contribute in a constructive way to the public debate about science and technology and to allow the voice of the people to be heard in this discussion.

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