STACS was funded under the FP6 Science and Society programme from 2007 – 2009. The project created a platform for engagement of civil society in science on a European level. It began by exploring the feasibility of partnerships between academia and civil society in different research areas. It also looked into ways to optimise the interaction between science dynamics and the needs and concerns of society. Researchers in the STACS project set out to make an impact on strengthening the participation of CSOs in the development of research protocols. It also aimed to bring new arguments and issues into public and political debates on scientific technical problems with wide societal consequences.
STACS initiated training sessions on socially important scientific issues in an effort to build the capacity of CSOs to approach scientific questions. These were complemented by workshops that served as research project ‘nurseries’ identifying research topics for cooperation between CSOs and public research institutions. The objective was to involve CSOs in future research projects in the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The workshops addressed FP7 thematic priorities such as health, agriculture, nanotechnologies and socioeconomic sciences. These training sessions and workshops helped to find ways of building links with research institutions and to identify research groups interested in working with CSOs.
Another branch of the project concentrated on the dissemination of knowledge. STACS created a website, which remained operational beyond the end of the project, providing a European-wide platform for exchange between CSOs and scientists. The project team also carried out an analysis of the European research system, raising awareness for CSOs and strengthening their capacity to benefit from the research initiatives undertaken. Finally, meetings were arranged with Members of the European Parliament and officers of various European Commission departments. During these meetings, the project leaders presented their findings and engaged policymakers in discussions on how to bring European research closer to the continent’s citizens.
The project website is no longer active, but the project description and reports are available at: http://cordis.europa.eu/projects/44597 (external link, last accessed 28 March 2014).