This article offers an assessment and a comparison between expert-based and citizen led participatory methods for outlining future research agendas across a number of topics in which there was sufficient evidence of both approaches in the context of setting EU research policy. It found that both approaches succeeded in articulating viable research agendas but thta there were significant qualitative differences between the two. It found that citizen-based participatory approaches were more likely to be goal based with the research contextualised by societal need.
In this contribution, we investigate how results produced in a large-scale participatory agenda setting process differ from results of expert-based foresight studies with a similar aim of informing EU research and innovation (R&I) policy. After providing a theoretical positioning and an overview of the EU-wide participatory agenda setting process
CIMULACT—Citizen and Multi-Actor Consultation on Horizon 2020, we describe our developed analytical approach that includes five analytical steps and calculation of three metrics. By comparative reading, analysis and scoring of 16 expert-based foresight reports, we produced data for the metrics that allow for discerning between (a) how many of
the analyzed foresight reports cover a respective topic from CIMULACT, (b) how well this basic coverage aligns qualitatively, and (c) comprehensive comparison of each CIMULACT topic with respect to all surveyed reports. To discern differences, we chose those results (research topics) from CIMULACT that were also sufficiently covered by
expert-based reports. Our findings suggest that such citizen-based, multi-actor co-created policy advice qualitatively differs considerably from that elicited by expert-based reports, in terms of direction and focus of the proposed R&I agenda.