IntroductionEgenis is taking part in a government-commissioned pilot scheme.
Egenis is partnering 'SciDemocracy', who have been commissioned by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to pilot a prototype mechanism for feeding back the views of the public about topical science issues to responsible policy-makers (for example the Science Minister or the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology).
Public consultations about new (bio)technologies have in the past been carried out by setting up intrafastructure to consult with publics from scratch. But by the time teams have been assembled and 'the public' have been consulted, the agendas of policy makers have often moved on (writes Ginny Russell, Egenis Public Engagement Officer). 'SciDemocracy' plans to utilise the pre-existing infrastructure of the national Cafe Scientifique network and other open access science meetings, in order to to capturesimply and quickly the views of the public attending events that are already happening - a form of rapid response to the demands of policy makers.
Exeter Cafe Scientifique's meeting, run by Egenis, on genetic enhancement and aging was selected as an initial partner in the pilot phase of the programme, and will contribute to the design, distribution and implementation of the methods used in gathering public opinion for policy makers.