The European Commission has granted Erasmus School of Philosophy with a European Research Area (ERA) consortium grant in the WIDERA programme.
The IANUS project (“Inspiring and Anchoring Trust in Science, Research and Innovation”) involves nine different European partners in higher education and research centres, covering a wide range of scientific fields, with relevant expertise in social sciences. Prof. Dr. Hub Zwart, Dean of ESPhil, is coordinator of this project. Within Erasmus University Rotterdam the project notably collaborates with Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication.
The IANUS project
Knowledge societies are facing multiple global challenges, aggravated by a climate of distrust and an omnipresent erosion of trust: in representative bodies and governmental organisations, in media and public information, but also in science, scientific expertise and innovation. How to bring science and society closer together? The IANUS project aims to foster trust in science by making science more open to society, more inclusive and sensitive to societal values, concerns and needs.
In a societal setting where truth has become a controversial concept, IANUS aims to enable citizens and societal stakeholders to distinguish valid from unfounded trust, and valid from unfounded distrust; enable them to deal with the uncertainties and epistemic pluralism inherent in scientific knowledge; enable researchers to foster trust through radical methodological change, making research more inclusive, transparent and responsive to societal needs and concerns, lowering barriers between research and society and finally enable researchers to conduct relevant, engaged and value-driven research while foregoing partiality, ideological biases and conflicts of interests.
The acronym IANUS refers to the deity Janus of gateways (ianus in Latin), looking both at the inside and at the outside of the knowledge production process. Trust in science is never a given. Robust trust is well-placed, reciprocal, and informed. Building on insights and results from other projects funded under Framework Programmes, IANUS will map the landscape of projects and discourses relevant for trust in science; develop its conceptual framework; conduct participatory research into conditions of trust in science; initiate concrete actions for strengthening trust through co-creation and engagement; provide policy recommendation to key stakeholders in science and society (e.g. funding bodies, universities, research teams, educators, media) and create platforms for interaction and engagement between scientists and societal stakeholders to foster trust.
The Evaluation Summary Report is highly impressed by the proposed project and states, among others, that ‘the entire architecture of the proposal is strongly based on Social Sciences and Humanities disciplines. It surveys the philosophical and sociological literature on trust and develops a theoretical framework for coping with growing distrust in science, which is a strength.’
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