Title: Knowledge assessment and citizen engagement: smart grids and wearable sensors Summary of findings and policy recommendations
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC99841
ISBN: 978-92-79-54723-2 (print)
978-92-79-54722-5 (pdf)
ISSN: 1018-5593 (print)
1831-9424 (online)
Other Identifiers: EUR 27725
OP KJ-NA-27725-EN-C (print)
OP KJ-NA-27725-EN-N (online)
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC99841
DOI: 10.2760/864993
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: EPINET was a EU funded project under the seventh framework program, coordinated by the Centre for the studies of the sciences and humanities, University of Bergen. The Joint Research was a partner at this project. The project looked critically at the great diversity of methods for assessing the impacts of science and technology on society and the environment. It explored new ways for bringing more of these methodologies into concert with each other, as well as with the concerns of innovators, policy makers and citizens. EPINET introduced the concept of epistemic networks as a way of conceptualizing complex developments within emerging fields of sociotechnical innovation. EPINET uses this concept to study four cases: 1. Wearable sensors for activity and physiological monitoring 2. Cognitive technical systems (mainly robotics) 3. Synthetic/ in-vitro meat 4. Smart grids for power supply The JRC deployed knowledge assessment methodologies as ways to explore the quality of policy proposals in a concerted and holistic manner, applying those methodologies to the wearable sensors and smart grids cases. In the case of wearable sensors, knowledge assessment methodologies sustain the following: (1) there is a need for connecting multiple visions and practice of different stakeholders: our social research showed the disconnects between policy makers, researchers, user communities and their visions of what WS should or can do; there is a growing DIY movement at all fronts of techno-science that will substitute the call for dialogue as institutions get more hermetic. (2) Policy making needs to account for sources of knowledge other than scientific, including by engaging and including more stakeholders, allowing the process of extended peer review to take place. Our research has shown that policy papers predominantly reflect research from industry and neglect other sources. (3) There is a need for more responsible and not so naïf big promises of healthcare revolution suggesting that electronic devices and services are key developments for improved care, while there are still high uncertainties of social and ethical nature. In the case of smart grids, the results have shown that on some levels, there are disconnects between different stakeholders, especially between policy makers and industry on one side, and citizens on the other. The application of knowledge assessment methodologies to assessing smart grids policy documents lead us to observe that: (1) there is strong alignment between the policy proposals and the aspirations from industry; we suggest that these alignments are made totally transparent in policy documents and not masked with grand justifications of sustainability, security and the like. (2) more technical studies carried out outside the industry realm and social studies should be used to support the claims made; a great deal of stakeholders’ knowledge is not being considered in the policy discussions or proposals. (3) there is poor involvement of the civil society in these discussions. As the smart grids model precludes an important involvement of citizens, the model should be open to more discussions.
JRC Directorate:Joint Research Centre Corporate Activities

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