The concept of Living Knowledge


“Living Knowledge” is the network of (persons or organisations involved in) Science Shops and similar
organisations active in public engagement and involvement of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in
Research & Innovation (R&I), and those who support those activities.
A ‘Science Shop’ is an entity that provides independent, participatory research support in response to  concerns expressed by civil society. The use of the term ‘science’ here is in its broadest sense, incorporating social and human sciences, as well as natural, physical, engineering and technical sciences.

The Living Knowledge Network - with its persons or organisations involved - pursues the idea of public engagement with, and participation in, all levels of the research and innovation process: participation of citizens and/or CSOs  in generating research ideas, questions, and agendas; participation in monitoring, steering, advising on or performing research; in data collection, data analysis or scenario  development; and the co-creation of knowledge with the aim of contributing to social change.

Living Knowledge promotes an open dialogue and debate between science and civil society:

  • It provides scientific knowledge for citizens in an open, action-oriented and participatory way
  • It brings civil society issues and interests to the scientific discussion
  • It promotes the co-creation of knowledge among Civil Society Organisations and researchers

Its objectives are

  • to promote the open debate of major societal challengesand knowledge exchange between civil society and research
  • to promote public understanding of science and technology and, likewise, promote the understanding of the public by those in research and innovation
  • to facilitate co-operation among Science Shops, universities, community-based research organisations and related institutions in Europeand worldwide, and civil society and its organisations
  • to promote co-operation between experts and to strengthen existing expertise and interest
  • in developing participatory research activities
  • to promote responsible research and innovation among researchers and in institutions of higher education and research
  • to be the European contact for institutions and organisations that wish to act in the field of Public Engagement in Research, particularly by setting up international projects.

Within this framework, Living Knowledge has the following aims:

  • to promote ideas, innovations, resources and methods to serve the collective aims of both Living Knowledge itself and its members
  • to collect, evaluate and disseminate relevant information, both within and outside Living Knowledge
  • to propose, organise and support seminars, conferences, courses and international participatory projects
  • to promote Civil Society's co-operation with universities and research institutes and organisations to support the aims of Living Knowledge
  • to promote collaboration with any organisation wishing to support the objectives of Living Knowledge
  • to build up a bank of experts from among its members,
  • to encourage and facilitate staff exchanges between member institutions and organisations in the form of training periods and study leaves for professionals, researchers and students, or through Summer Schools and similar,
  • to have strategic impact on research and innovation policies, especially on the international level.

The Purpose of the Living Knowledge Network

The purpose of the Living Knowledge Network - with its persons or organisations involved - is to promote the community oriented cooperation between civil society and those involved in learning and teaching, research and innovation in fostering social and technological development that incorporates views, wishes, demands and knowledge of civil society and its organisations in the research and innovation process and/or curricula.

The Living Knowledge Network is dedicated to particular tasks,

  • To help individuals and civil society organizations that need research support to pursue their non-profit interests;
  • To enable citizens to articulate and represent their interests andneeds and making research findings accessible to the public through information and education. To support its members by facilitating the exchange of information and providing mentoring, mediationand coaching;
  • To support institutions in the inclusion ofcivil society-oriented projects and information activities thatare consistent with the objectives set out in the preamble

The purpose of the Living Knowledge Network is to be realized by:

a) Research

  1. Developing, implementing and communicating research and other scholarship, addressingcurrent and emerging social problems and issues
  2. Facilitating joint research or study projects by its members and/or other appropriate entities and engaging in such projects.
  3. Developing and promoting research approaches and methods that enable wide participation and aim at societal and community empowerment.

b) Education

  1. Acquiring, archiving, processing and communication of scientific information in understandable and accessible formats
  2. Disseminating results of work produced by Living Knowledge through public events and open-access publications,
  3. Working with young people and multipliers for the purpose of a holistic educational formation, political emancipation, community empowermentand civil society engagement.
  4. Facilitatingthe inclusion of civil society’s views, wishes, requests, and knowledge intothe curriculaat all levels of education.
  5. Supportingmembers by offering advice, mentoring and training.

c) Collaboration, Participation and Networking

  1. Collaboration with scientists, students and staff of universities and other academic or research institutions and organisations,
  2. Collaboration with Civil Socity Organisations
  3. Collaboration with local, national and international organizations that have similar goals,
  4. Moderation of processes to support the social commitment and the cooperation of various groups of   actors in the sense of the Living Knowledge Network's purpose.
  5. Representing the network in appropriate advisory bodies, seminars, and other events.

The Living Knowledge Networkis politically and ideologically independent. The Living Knowledge Networkacts in an altruistic manner (free from selfish motives)anddoes not pursueits own economic purposes.Funds may only be used for statutory purposes. The persons or organisations involved may not receive any share of anyprofits in their capacity as members, or
any other payments from the funds of the Living Knowledge Network.


The Living Knowledge Network has no formal membership.

The Living Knowledge Networkcan be joined by subscribing to the Living Knowledge News and Discussion Group. Subscribers will be kept informed about developments related to “Building partnerships for public access to research” and the international network of Science Shops.

Any person or organisation that joined the Living Knowledge Network has no claim on the Living Knowledge Network's assets upon leaving the network.

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