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A public dialogue to explore society’s stake in R&D

A People’s Vision for R&D

CaSE is pleased to officially announce the start of our public dialogue exercise exploring society’s stake in research in the UK.

Successive UK Governments have committed to increasing investment in R&D to over £20bn – but betting big on R&D means that advocates have a responsibility to make a clear and compelling case for R&D being a national priority, especially at a time when public finances are tight. 

In 2022-23, CaSE led a major study into public attitudes to R&D, using quantitative and qualitative methods, to create a comprehensive dataset revealing how different people think and feel about R&D. This shows that while R&D is seen as important, many people do not feel a strong connection to it and would not prioritise it over other important societal issues. 

Our research suggests that if advocates want R&D to be seen as a societal priority then the sector must work towards a society-centred vision for R&D in the UK. To do this, we must first understand whether the UK public feels it has a stake in the UK’s research system, and explore whether and how they would like that to change. 

Get in touch

We want to engage as widely as possible across sectors and disciplines and would love to talk to you about this piece of work.

Email Rebecca Hill

Our public dialogue exercise will explore the question: To what extent does UK society feel agency and ownership in the UK’s research system, and do participants feel this could and should change? 

Announcing our team

We are excited to announce that we have appointed the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen)’s Centre for Deliberation to deliver the project, who will be supported by the National Centre for Coordinating Public Engagement (NCCPE). This partnership combines NatCen’s leading expertise in delivering complex dialogue and deliberation with the NCCPE’s track record of supporting the embedding of public engagement and involvement in research policy and practice.

In addition to the expertise of these two organisations, the Discovery Decade team will be supported by an Expert Group established to provide independent advice and input throughout the project. They are drawn from a range of organisations across the research sector in UK and Ireland, each with experience of delivering complex or large-scale deliberative dialogues, public involvement and engagement projects. We are grateful to them for agreeing to take on the role, and you can meet the group at this page.

Our approach

The project will run over the next nine months, being due to complete in July 2023.

Our first steps will be extensive stakeholder engagement with organisations and individuals from across the UK’s research system

  • As with the wider Discovery Decade programme, the public dialogue will have a broad remit, covering all sectors and disciplines, and we are particularly keen to draw in perspectives from a range of communities, organisations and individuals.
  • At the start of 2024, CaSE will host a series of stakeholder workshops to further understand their perspectives on the priorities, barriers, and solutions for a stronger relationship between the public and R&D advocates.
  • Taken together, these discussions will inform the dialogue exercise, ensuring that the work is framed around the realistic abilities of the sector.

Following this, we will run a public dialogue exercise in Spring 2024

  • A group of up to 40 public participants – recruited to be broadly reflective of UK society – will be brought together over four separate meetings in a deliberative dialogue.
  • Participants will be given the chance to hear from and ask questions of expert and community voices on the topic of R&D, and explore the extent to which they feel agency or ownership over the decisions, processes and outputs of the research sector.
  • They will then discuss broad areas with opportunities for more significant sense of ownership or agency related to R&D, including decision-making, public involvement and the cause of research.
  • Participants will then have time to reflect and discuss what they have heard, including considering trade offs and priorities, before being asked to develop a set of recommendations towards a more society-centred vision for R&D.

Get in touch

CaSE’s Discovery Decade project has benefitted greatly from open collaboration and engagement with organisations and individuals across the UK’s research system, and this project will be no exception. We will be reaching out to stakeholders over coming weeks, but if you are interested in discussing the project in more detail, we would welcome you getting in touch. We are also keen to hear from organisations that might be running relevant projects, to identify opportunities to learn from and complement existing work.

If you’d like to talk to us about the project, please contact Rebecca Hill.

Find out more about CaSE's public dialogue exercise

People's Vision for R&D