PILOT STORY: The Austrian Research Promotion Agency will inform a funding call based on citizens’ opinions

In June, PRO-Ethics' RFO partner FFG hosted a validation workshop as part of their multistep participatory approach. The ultimate aim of the pilot is to gather input to define topics for a funding call.

FFG, The Austrian Research Promotion Agency, runs a pilot in the project PRO-Ethics where they involve citizens in defining topics for a funding call. They are doing this through a multistep process. The several steps consist of an exploration phase, where the insights will be deepened with selected experts. Then, there is a validation round and a public consultation with citizen participation. The results derived from this process will be documented in a study and used for a funding call.

On 23 June 2022, the first validation workshop took place. The workshop was organised within the yearly conference IMAGINE in Vienna. The participation in the validation workshop was on a self-selected basis. The event was widely announced, for instance through FFG's newsletter and in e-mails to former project beneficiaries. The final number of participants in the workshop was 14.

The contents of the validation workshop derived from relevant input that was received in the exploration phase. The workshop agenda included a short presentation of the main preliminary results of the study performed by FFG, followed by a longer brainwalk as the main method. Brainwalk allows participants to give input in writing to predefined topics that are written on flipcharts. At each flipchart there is a responsible person who can be addressed and who is tasked to summarise the received input. It was a suitable method, since it facilitates as much genuine input from the stakeholders as possible.

The comments provided by participants in the workshop confirmed the relevance of the input provided by the experts and the related topics. In detail, the comments contained some additional pieces of knowledge and experiences. The results of the workshop were analysed and used to inform the subsequent phase of the pilot, the online survey that was launched to reach out to citizens.

Photo: Julia Neuschmid
Published: 15.12.2022

Pilot stories
In the pilot stories, PRO-Ethics' RFO partners tell tales from behind the scenes during the planning and implementation of their pilot projects, offering a peek into how the pilots develop practically and over time. The goal is to better represent and learn from insights and tacit knowledge, some of which might be seen as smaller issues and hence downplayed or forgotten in official reporting, despite the learnings they may bring to others. The stories are fully available to all the project partners and support cross-learning activities and ultimately the ethics framework. Some of the stories will also be shared online with the wider public.