Task 2.6 - Creating Strategic Research Agenda for Social Sciences and humanities in Radiation Protection
(Lead: SCK-CEN; Partner: IRSN, BfS, EEAE, ISS, NRPA, VUJE, IMROH; LTPs: MUTADIS, CEPN, NMBU, UMLI)
An interactive process will be developed with the research community and other stakeholders for creating a strategic research agenda dedicated to the integration of social sciences and humanities in radiation protection research. There are two motivations in the task 2.6: The first one is to stimulate an ethics of reflexivity on the interaction between nuclear science and society, the degree to which radiation protection research responds to social and ethical concerns and how this can be stimulated and enhanced. The second one is integration of social sciences and humanities in radiation protection research. These motivations include a broad spectrum of research topics. Specific focus will be laid on the responsibility of science with respect to the justification of the radiation risk, radiation risk communication, radiation risk perception, and safety culture.
The OPERRA project has already developed ties with social and human sciences, identifying issues and institutions carrying out research in the fields of ethics of nuclear technology assessment, risk communication and risk perception.
Furthermore, at the European level, the European ALARA Network has been working since a few years on ALARA culture and participating to the work of the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA) on radiation protection culture. Building on these experiences, CONCERT will further explore the needs and possibilities to integrate social sciences and humanities in the development and consolidation of European radiation protection research, thus bridging between science, technology and society. A SRA will be developed for this research area, in close interaction with platforms and research communities addressed by tasks 2.1—2.4 (NERIS, ALLIANCE, EURADOS, medical field).
Key activities are:
- Organizing meetings with professional groups with expertise in social sciences and humanities and radiation protection
- Identifying joint research needs and priorities
- Preparing the first version of Strategic Research Agenda
- Consulting key stakeholders
- Providing input to Joint Programming (WP3)
For this purposes, three subtasks will address ethics and justification (2.6.1), risk communication/perception (2.6.2) and safety culture (2.6.3). The subtasks partners will consult experts from research institutes and universities outside of consortium in order to ensure sharing of knowledge and the highest level of general development (“state of the art”). They will also consult key stakeholders on these topics, making use of professional networks, contacts through national or international projects as well as already existing platforms and FP7 projects in the field: (e.g. FP7 EAGLE communication platform about ionizing radiation).
Subtask 2.6.1. Ethics and justification
The aim of subtask 2.6.1. ‘Ethics’ is to organise a ‘pilot exercise’ of self-inquiry with the researchers involved in the CONCERT project. The outcome of that exercise is supposed to be a proposal for an ethical value framework for research in radiological protection, taking into account the possibilities and limitations of science to provide ‘evidence’ for justification, that could inform a future strategic research agenda.
Subtask 2.6.2. Risk communication and risk perception
The subtask 2.6.2 ‘Risk communication and risk perception” brings together and engage a radiation protection community, academia from social sciences and humanities and other stakeholders (e.g. patients associations) in order to identify new research needs for improved communication practice and mutual understanding of beliefs, views and feelings about radiological risks and benefits as well as radiation protection . Interaction and trans-disciplinary exchange of practices and needs in all fields of application of ionising radiation will be organised in forms of workshops, round tables, reflection groups and questionnaires in different consortium members countries.
Subtask 2.6.3. Safety culture
The subtask 2.6.3 ‘Safety culture” will engage the radiation protection research networks, the European ALARA Network, the national and international radiation protection associations, the medical and nuclear industry and the academia, in order to identify new research needs in the field of safety culture, in particular radiation protection culture, and more broadly safety governance. The results of the process will help formulating research topics to be included in the strategic research agenda for social sciences and humanities.