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REIsearch – A necessary bridge between citizens, researchers, and policy makers

REIsearch is a bridge that connects citizens, researchers and policy makers on topics linked to the scientific research and to societal challenges that Europe will face in the years to come.

In order to engage the experience and concerns of the citizens in the debate.

In order to bring the expertise and knowledge of researchers to the attention of policymakers.

In order to allow policymakers to make use of this valuable experience and expertise on a European level to promote more evidence-based policymaking.

REIsearch will expand into new topic areas of interest to policy, science and society as it develops.

REIsearch was launched in March 2016 focusing on Chronic Diseases. In 2017 is focusing on Next Generation Internet.

REIsearch is an innovative non-profit European platform co-funded by the European Commission to demonstrate how a simple technological tool, coupled to a broad network of leading media, research institutions, researchers, civil society organisations, and citizens, can help policy makers to make better use of all knowledge and experience – wherever it may come from – to make better decisions, based on evidence and experience, for the benefit of society as a whole.

REIsearch is promoted by Atomium – European Institute for Science, Media and Democracy, launched in 2012 at the European Parliament by the former President of France Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and by Michelangelo Baracchi Bonvicini, today Honorary President and President of the Institute.

“Innovation and new scientific discoveries are improving people’s lives and making our economy more competitive. Science should be open and freed from its traditional ivory tower; to be discussed, submitted to critique and fed with new perspectives. That’s why I warmly welcome efforts such as the REIsearch initiative to get Europeans engaged in the debate about science and research and inspire fresh ideas about how to solve some of our society’s most pressing problems” commented the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

REIsearch wants to successfully overcome the challenge of connecting the experience of EU citizens and the expertise of EU researchers to support policy makers in taking decisions that will affect society as a whole.

“To win such an ambitious challenge -declared Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and Michelangelo Baracchi Bonvicini – together with our partners we have opted for a gradual approach, aiming at developing initiatives linked to specific scientific topics starting with those of greatest impact, limiting the platform’s functions to the essential. In the coming years additional functionalities will be available, allowing citizens to directly interact with experienced researchers at both national and European level”.

The topic selected for the first initiative was Chronic Diseases, a theme of the utmost importance in the European policy agenda given both its burden on Member States’ public budgets and, most importantly, its impact on EU citizens’ well-being. Today chronic diseases in Europe are responsible for 86% of all deaths and affect over 80% of people over 65 taking up almost 80% of the health budgets of EU member states.

“Only with a renewed dialogue between researchers, citizens and policy-makers will Europe be able to meet its increasingly complex challenges. And cooperation across sectors and countries is indeed the best trigger for creative thinking, and the key incentive for innovative solutions to complex problems” declared Mr Xavier Prats Monné, Director General for Health and Food Security of the European Commission – “REIsearch provides the right kind of genuine push towards stronger evidence-based policy making, more informed citizens, and better science – this is why I so eagerly look forward to the results of the first REIsearch initiative on Chronic Diseases”.

REIsearch is coordinating 10 European media organisations – including Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Gazeta Wyborcza, Luxemburger Wort, The Irish Times, Sole24ore, Der Standard, El PaÍs, La libre Belgique and Público – to run a citizen engagement campaign through their online editions as well as through REIsearch’s IT platform. Elsevier, Mendeley, OpenAIRE, and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre are facilitating the engagement of researchers.

Some of the most important European organisations operating in the Chronic Disease sector (European Respiratory Society, STOA, International Diabetes Federation Europe, Karolinska Institutet, LERU, ALLEA, CPME, EuroScience), together with relevant Directorates-General of the European Commission, have cooperated to write questions that, starting from today and for the next five weeks, will be addressed to both researchers and the public at large. The answers collected will allow policy makers across Europe to obtain useful and significant insight, expertise, and data on key issues in chronic disease management and prevention.

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