From experimentation to structural change: fostering institutional entrepreneurship for public engagement in research and innovation

Public Understanding of Science (2023)
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Many researchers experiment with participatory settings to increase public engagement in research and innovation (R&I). Because of their temporary nature, it often remains unclear how such participatory experiments can contribute to structural change. This paper empirically explores options for bridging this gap. It analyzes how participants can be supported to act as institutional entrepreneurs to actively promote public engagement in R&I. To draw lessons, we analyze empirical material gathered on nineteen Social Labs which were set up to promote the uptake of Responsible Research and Innovation in a European R&I funding program (Horizon 2020). Involvement of motivated participants, insight in their institutional context, and specific methods and management choices that enhance a sense of agency are identified as essential for organizing change. These findings and the resulting framework of interventions may prove valuable for further (action) research into the institutionalization of public engagement in R&I.

Author Profiles

Vincent Blok
Wageningen University and Research


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