Science & Technology and Participation: The case of Rio Grande do Sul

Lahorgue, Maria Alice (2009). "Science & Technology and Participation: The case of Rio Grande do Sul" Paper presented at the 6th annual conference of the HDCA, 10-12 September 2009, Lima, Peru.

Science & Technology (S&T) policies have been decided by governments and scientific communities, without the participation of the general community. As there is no neutrality of S&T, the decisions made have benefited the status quo (big industry, international standards of S&T excellence, and so on). With an already long history of participatory experiences, the government of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, has launched a program for S&T that is based on the decisions of regional communities on what to research and how much money the region will put in the program. The presentation submitted shows how this process works and what are the actors perception about it (we made a survey with the researchers and the regional political actors). Our results show that the internal standards of scientists are very resilient and, even when the researchers are fully satisfied with the participatory process, their opinion is mostly guided by the traditional rules of S&T meritocracy and technical progress and much less by societal needs.
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