World-renown for distance education, the OU also has a prominent research profile on issues of agriculture, environment and agricultural biotechnology. Over the last two decades, the academic staff members for this project have helped to lead national research programmes or EU-funded research, especially on agri-environmental issues. Three staff members for this project are based in Development Policy and Practice (DPP), an interdisciplinary department which combines diverse expertise from social science disciplines such as anthropology, economics, geography, politics and sociology, as well as science and technology. DPP has a wide range of research and practical experience from Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and Europe. Another staff member is based in the Geography Department, which has also carried out much research on environmental issues involving CSOs.
University of Twente (NL)
The Department of Science, Technology, Health and Policy Studies (STeHPS) takes the assessment and governance of innovations and emerging technologies as its central theme of teaching and research. STeHPS considers in particular strategic issues that are multidisciplinary: they involve developments in science, technology, politics and society, as well as interaction between them. Studies conducted within STeHPS link analytical and normative perspectives. Research is both fundamental and applied, and is organized around five themes: (1) long term developments in science and technology; (2) emerging technologies and users; (3) assessment and governance of scientific and technological innovation; (4) assessment and management of health care; and (5) dynamics, design and evaluation of public policy.
Fondation Sciences Citoyennes (FR)
The Fondation Sciences Citoyennes is a French NGO dedicated to the redistribution of research and expertise capacities to social movements. Created in 2002, it unifies researchers from social and natural sciences, students, partners from civil society organisations and citizens. Sciences Citoyennes aims at supporting and prolonging the current movement of democratic and civil appropriation of science, in order to put it at the service of the common good.FSC supports and organises public debates on public policies regarding research, technology and expertise. It publishes reports on science and society issues and organises a yearly film festival on scientific and technological development evoking controversies in society.
FSC is involved in a FP6 research project (STACS – Science, Technology and Civil Society), which aims at opening the EU research system to civil society. FSC is also one of the organisers of the World Social Forum on Science and Democracy, which will be a place for a political dialogue between scientists and social movements across the planet. It will take place on 26 January 2009 in Belem, Brazil, in parallel to the main WSF (http://fsm-sciences.org).
Transnational Institute (NL)
Founded in 1974, the Transnational Institute (TNI) is an international network of activist-scholars committed to critical analyses of the global problems of today and tomorrow, with a view to providing intellectual support to those movements concerned to steer the world in a democratic, equitable and environmentally sustainable direction. In the spirit of public scholarship, and aligned to no political party, TNI seeks to create and promote international co-operation in analysing and finding possible solutions to such global problems as militarism and conflict, poverty and marginalisation, social injustice and environmental degradation.Of its many research interests, most relevant to CRÊPE are two programmes:
The Environmental Justice programme monitors the negative impact of pollution trading upon environmental, social and economic justice, and works to develop community-led responses to it.
The New Politics programme engages with innovations and experimentation by social movements, progressive political parties and governments worldwide. It stimulates new thinking and policy proposals on participatory democracy, political organisation, urban governance and rural democratisation.
Consiglio dei Diritti Genetici (IT)
The Consiglio dei Diritti Genetici (Genetic Rights Council) is involved in research and communication, providing interdisciplinary and independent information on biotechnologies. Since 2002 the CDG has worked as an independent scientific and cultural association. It aims to safeguard the basic rights of living beings and the ecosystem, while debating with the scientific actors and civil society, both at national and international levels. Its staff includes experts with diverse backgrounds – biologists, agronomists, chemists, as well as philosophers and theologians, humanists and social workers.
The CDG promotes public, self-supporting research in bioscience and biotechnologies, with particular attention to environmental and human impacts, in developed and developing countries. As another important aim, the CDG spreads scientific culture, aware of its social importance and of the necessity of a proper governance of scientific innovation.
Food Ethics Council (UK)
The Food Ethics Council is an independent think tank and advisory body based in the UK. The organisation is a registered charity with a mission to promote research and education for the public benefit in issues of ethics, economic and social studies, politics, science and public policy, as they relate to food and agriculture. The FEC focuses on research and analysis to underpin ethical decision-making about food and agriculture, in policy, business and society. Since the organisation was founded in 1998, its work has spanned genetically modified foods, drug use in farm animals, functional foods, gene-tailored diets, patents and poverty and farm subsidies. In 2004 the FEC published Just Knowledge? Governing research on food and farming, which has been cited as an influence by all the major public bodies funding agricultural research in the UK.
The FEC’s largest current research project is on transport policy and sustainable food distribution. That work extends the CSOs outcome-focused approach to research, combining literature review, stakeholder interviews, extended peer review and in-depth scenario workshops. As in all FEC work, research and dissemination are closely linked, and the project built up a network of several hundred stakeholders, experts and CSOs over the first six months of activity.
Fundación Nueva Cultura del Agua (ES)
The New Water Culture Foundation (FNCA, in its Spanish acronym) was constituted in 1998 as a non-profit research organization in the Iberian context. It pursues satisfy research and development initiatives, promotion, education, development cooperation, environment protection and other water-management issues provided that they are related to aspects derived from or relating to the management of water, in its broadest sense. In that regard, it shall focus basically on promoting, encouraging and developing any kind of research activities relating to hydrological studies, both in their social and economic-environmental aspects, and in particular, those related to their impact on the environment and the territorial balance.
Federation Regionale des Centres d’Initiatives pour Valoriser l’Agriculture (FR)
Based in Brittany, FRCIVAM is an extension institution, run by a board of farmers. It gathers 21 associations in Brittany and is in charge of research activities, staff training, international co-operation and relations with state authorities. Technical production is based upon research activities, led by CIVAM’s own staff or through formal contracts with specialized research institutions, in particular: research institutes (INRA, CNRS, CIRAD), universities (Rennes 1, Rennes 2, Nantes) and “Grandes Écoles” (Agrocampus Rennes, ENITA Clermont, ESA Angers).
The FRCIVAM is now leading the project SALT (Systèmes ALimentaires Localisés) on local food networks and participates in other scientific programmes with research institutions. Publications have been accepted by scientific committees for congresses in France, Spain, Brazil and Japan.The FRCIVAM has much experience of European projects as leader of an Equal project and national co-ordinator for an Interreg IIIb.
CIVAM-Brittany is member of the national CIVAM movement, in charge of research activities and the local food networks commission. It has been founder member of the RAFAEL network (renaissance of Atlantic food authenticity and economic links) and participates in the Alimenterra network, both supported by EU. At regional level, FRCIVAM is member of alternative agriculture (INPACT), rural development (CELAVAR) and producers/consumers (Cohérence) networks.
For helpful advice on the project, we would like to thank these individuals:
Silvio Funtowicz, Joint Research Centre, European Commission
Helen Holder, Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE)
Piet Schenkelaars, Schenkelaars Biotechnology Consultancy, Netherlands
Prof. Andrew Stirling, University of Sussex
Prof. Richard Worthington, Pomona College, California and Loka Institute