Enhance learning, Empower citizens

We intend to create, support and contribute to projects in which acknowledging and sharing values and practices between research communities and local communities enhances learning and empowers citizens. We invite researchers and citizens to explore how social dimensions are embedded within knowledge practices and vice-versa. Empowerment does not rely only on knowledge alone, but on the combination between knowledge, social practices, and acknowledgement of values.

Enrich social practices with knowledge practices

  • Use the research values to address social issues

The research community pursues (not without difficulties) an ideal that echoes the values of democracy: debating with those of differing opinions, questioning ideas, and building knowledge collectively. We contend that experiencing the social processes of scientific research is an empowering process.We set up programs where participants start questioning certainties, engage in constructive criticism, and collaborate with a variety of people. After experiencing these processes and values within the safe context of science, participants can implement such a collective process within their own community to address the social and political issues they face.

  • Empower citizens to deal with the unknown
  • Knowledge seems to be available everywhere, as seen in the Open Data and the Citizen Science movements, but how should we use and question this knowledge?
  • We invite citizens to experience various research approaches. In doing so, they learn about the fundamental differences between knowledge and values, and the limits of the use of scientific knowledge. By developing strong skills to actively think and face knowledge and the unknown, citizens are empowered to address their own unanswered questions.

Enrich knowledge practices with social practices and relevance

  • Strengthen epistemic values and social practices of the research communities
  • Engaging students in research requires providing them with the necessary social tools to build proper interactions within the scientific community. For instance students need to be able to value, share, and combine skills to collectively address challenges. They need to learn how to deal with close interactions between diverse actors peacefully and efficiently. Social skills and understanding the underlying norms and values of the scientific community are crucial for engaging in a science career, especially for women and people from low social backgrounds.
  • We propose trainings for students to develop the social skills to disentangle complex relationships within the scientific community. These trainings more generally aim to empower students to become active, creative and responsible members of their learning community and of the research community they will later join.
  • Strengthen the social outreach of the research practice
  • As research has societal implications, students and researchers need to question their own research practice and engagement within the scientific community.
  • In particular, we propose trainings for students to explore implicit values and help them to translate their sense of responsibility into concrete behaviours, both within the scientific community and within the society.
  • We also invite researchers to develop the educational and social outreach of their research project, identify partners and initiate collaborations with actors outside the academic community. In particular, we propose assisting them in planning the outreach actions that are now systematically financed as part of the research funding provided by most grant agencies.

Acknowledge social practices and values

  • Build research-based learning communities together

Scientific research is the pursuit of new knowledge. Scientists are a community of life-long learners. Research practices can therefore inspire the creation of efficient learning communities.By allowing students to develop skills related to scientific research, such as investigating, imagining, building knowledge, communicating with each other and with the public, and working collectively and responsibly, we allow them to globally strengthen their learning capacity. They become more autonomous, critical and enthusiastic about gaining new knowledge.By training educators on how to set up such learning processes, we enhance existing learning communities or build new ones.