Background and process information on developing the guidelines for public engagement.
Royal Society Te Apārangi agreed to produce guidelines for public engagement as part of the Government's A Nation of Curious Minds He Whenua Hihiri I Te Mahara; A National Strategic Plan for Science in Society, launched in July 2014. The plan identified three Strategic Action Areas:
The action area 'Science sector engaging with the public' raised the expectation that there cannot be a scientifically-engaged public without a publicly-involved science sector. It stated that, “Publicly funded science organisations and scientists have a social responsibility to share some knowledge where it’s applicable”.
The document also stated that the Society “will lead the development of a code of practice on public engagement for scientists. The Society will work with the scientific community and consult widely including with universities, Crown Research Institutes, the network of departmental science advisors and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor to develop a code of practice for scientists on public engagement.”
The guidelines were informed by feedback received in discussions with stakeholders, a series of public consultation meetings at research organisation throughout the country during February and March 2016, and two opportunities for written submissions.
Not all the feedback was consistent and some fell outside the reasonable limits of the Society’s mandate for preparing the guidelines.
The main feedback themes (synthesised from a wide range of individual and organisational views) were as follows:
The Society released a final draft of the guidelines in March 2016 and published the final guidelines in July 2016.
The guidelines will be reviewed after January 2018 in the light of experience gained from their use and uptake and further engagement with Māori, business and non-profit communities.
In particular, the Society is committed to entering into an ongoing discussion with Māori researchers and those engaged in research in Māori domains to explore how specific knowledge systems such as mātauranga Māori enrich and add new dimensions to many fields of intellectual endeavour of value to society.