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Community X-Change

Sciencewise-ERC funded project 2005-2008


Community x-change is the name given to a series of workshops where members of the public, scientists and policy makers met to discuss issues involving science and their thoughts, feelings and ideas for possible actions. Find out more about the project background.

Aims and Objectives

  • Provide opportunities for people to discuss issues involving science about which they have strong views
  • Improve interaction between scientists and members of the public, acknowledging that each bring their own expertise
  • Develop effective processes to include marginalised and vulnerable groups in policy debates
  • Build capacity locally to enable interaction between participants beyond the lifespan of the project
  • Create an involvement process in which policy-makers play a meaningful role.


Key Impacts

  • Evaluation of pilot phase led to process improvements
  • Groups normally excluded from policy making processes interacted directly with decision-makers
  • Scientists overcame fears of two way engagement with the public.


Project Quotes

“I enjoyed the final day most – that was an opportunity to put questions to decision makers or people in a better position to make change – the MPs.”
community x-change participant
“Discussions of controversial issues can succeed if diverse publics are allowed to contribute the expertise they have gained through their life experiences on an equal footing with experts.”
Alice Taylor-Gee, Project Manager, community x change, Norwich

Delivered By

Operating Theatre
Operating Theatre produces thought-provoking plays on health themes using professional writers, directors and actors.

The Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences (PEALS) Research Centre
A University Research Centre within Newcastle University which aims to research, inform and improve policy, professional practice and public participation in the life sciences

The British Science Association
A registered charity that exists to advance the public understanding, accessibility and accountability of the sciences and engineering in the UK.

Latest Status Updates

Participant reflections on community x-change: now and then
Blog post by Laura Bowwater