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How to involve the public in research and innovation policy

Tom Saunders sets out nine principles for building public engagement into decision-making—and making research and innovation more inclusive.

Research and innovation affect all of our lives, and yet the people who design, fund and regulate R&D come from remarkably similar backgrounds. This matters because evidence has shown that the backgrounds of researchers, innovators and policymakers have a strong influence over the problems they think are worth tackling. We need a wider range of people to take part in discussing research and innovation policy in order to have science and innovation that address the needs of society.

The launch of UK Research and Innovation gives the government a great opportunity to develop a new model of public engagement in decision-making about research and innovation. This should aim to bring a more diverse group of people into debates about what research and innovation are for, and into decisions around challenges and funding priorities.

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