About the conference

An Innovative Civil Society: Impact through Co-creation and Participation

6th Living Knowledge Conference, 9-11 April 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark

The time has come to recognize civil society as producer of knowledge, and havecivil society organisations accepted as partners in research and innovation directed towards public interest, but also have civil society’s own activities recognised as research and innovation. There is today some interest in participation of citizens and civil society organisations in community-based research and in policy processes and decision-making. However, there is still a long way to go before citizens and civil society organisations are fully accepted as equal partners and providers of knowledge and expertise to solve societal challenges, despite the many innovative ideas and initiatives, which communities and civil society organisations develop and organise.

Researchers and students can be exposed to societal perspectives of research and innovation by integrating engagement with societal actors into university curricula and into research. There is also a need for structures for partnerships between researchersand societal actors as part of research activities, including as part of research planning. At the same time there is a need for mechanisms which enable civil society actors to develop their research capacities.

The 6th Living Knowledge Conference will seek to explore experiences with research and innovation for, with and by civil society, and develop policy recommendations and articulate research needs within community-based research and research focusing on societal challenges.

The conference will build on the experience of the previous Living Knowledge Conferences in Leuven, Seville, Paris,Belfast, and Bonn. It will be an opportunity to bring together some of the key thinkers and practitioners in the area of community-based research, university-community partnerships and science shops, provide opportunities for collaboration, and try to ensure that civil society’s role in research and innovation is prioritised on policy agendas, both nationally and internationally.

The 6th Living Knowledge Conference will also be a platform for exchange and discussions of findings and results of the PERARES  project among policy makers, researchers and civil society organisations. An important objective of the PERARES consortium is to move dialogues between researchers and civil society “upstream”,and developproposals for which direction new research and innovation activities and programs should take.

The conference is hosted by Aalborg University’s Center for Design, Innovation and Sustainable Transitionsin Copenhagen and is organised by researchers who were among the founders of the international science shop network, Living Knowledge. Aalborg University has also a strong record in problem-based learning as part of its curricula.

The conference themes are:

  1. Social innovation – empowering civil society?
  2. How to involve multiple users in design of assistive technologies?
  3. Co-operation in multicultural contexts – North–South cooperation
  4. Sustainable development: from vision to transition
  5. Developing competences through problem-based learning with civil society
  6. Developing the university – civil society interaction
  7. How to organize and manage science shops and community-based research units?
  8. Governance of science and technology with civil society

A pre-conference Science Shop Summer School on developing community-based research based on the Science Shop model will be organized 7-8 April 2014.