3 June 2003 a Danish scenario workshop was conducted with the aim of discussing: How can Science Shops contribute to the development of the co-operation between citizens and universities?
The Danish scenario workshop was conducted as a one-day event (starting at 8.45 am and ending at 17 pm with informal drinks) and planned and carried out as recommended in Ahumada (2003). We have however not developed all the material recommended by Ahumada (2003) as informative material prior to the workshop, (e.g. a SWOT analysis) due to a wish only to produce material to the participants which we found useful in order to enlighten the participants about the Danish context regarding university research and science policy. Instead we chose to develop something which we call Inspiration material, containing information about Danish university policy, and the tendencies within the Danish university policy. In the material we further illustrated experiences with Science Shops and similar initiatives in order for the participants to be inspired and get an understanding of which influence and effect Science Shop projects can have on the involved actors and on societal development.
We began planning the workshop in March 2003 by identifying potential participants, producing informative material, sending out invitations, planning and arranging how the workshop were to be conducted and further to make follow-up efforts to ensure a sufficient amount of participants in each Interest group. A total of 22 participants (excluded the two moderators) participated in the Danish scenario workshop.
At the Danish scenario workshop we operated with five Interest groups: Science Shops, students, university researchers, civil society organisations and university policy makers. Each Interest group developed a positive and a negative scenario addressing the focus question of the scenario workshop.
The five Interest groups’ scenarios focused on:
The Science Shops perceived it as important that society (including universities) acknowledges civil society organisations’ contribution to innovation and societal development, and that the Science Shops become an acknowledged part of the universities profile.
The university researchers perceived elements such as knowledge sharing and research integration as important aspects to address. In relation to this, they wish the role of Science Shops is developed to become more outreaching in terms of identification and initiation of new research programmes.
University policy makers:
The university policy makers discussed the legitimacy of universities, and how co-operation with civil society organisations can become legitimate to address within the concept of the Open University.
The students’ scenarios contained a wish of Science Shops being more visible and outreaching towards both university and society. They further identified a need for developing the procedures for Science Shops projects, in order to strengthen the dialogue between the involved partners and to ensure knowledge sharing.
Civil society organisations:
The civil society organisations emphasised the needs for more Science Shop research in basic societal topics. They emphasised the need for more democratic decision making processes.
Based on the presentations and discussions of the developed scenarios, the following four themes were identified for further elaboration:
Theme 1: The role of Science Shops:
The Science Shops more profiled through a national strategy and local strategies. Creation of a project-database serving two purposes: gather and share experiences and as inspiration for defining new projects. Attract researchers to co-operate with Science Shops by emphasising and increasing publication possibilities.
Theme 2: The Open University:
More focus on creating thematic network among NGO’s, Science Shops, researchers and students. Collect international experiences about the strategic role of Science Shops and NGO’s in order to legitimate research programmes with co-operation between citizens and universities.
Theme 3: Network and research integration:
Joint research projects between universities and NGO’s, co-ordinated by Science Shops.
Theme 4: Knowledge and project processes:
Knowledge sharing and dialogue in focus throughout the whole project co-operation. Follow-up activities after a project co-operation have ended. Salary to clients for supervision.
The theme discussions were made in mixed groups, containing participants from each Interest group, when it was possible (due to an unequal amount of representatives in the Interest groups).
The scenario workshop ended with an agreement between the participants and the moderators of organising a follow-up meeting in September, with the aim of continuing the discussions of ideas and suggestions made during the scenario workshop.