Mobilization and Mutual Learning Activities: the importance of local involvement

The participation and collaboration of local organizations representing society and main groups of actors and stakeholders is crucial to the planning and implementation of the Mobilization and Mutual Learning Activities that will take place during this year in the framework of the NERRI project.

During 2014 different Mobilization and Mutual Learning (MML) activities will be conducted in the different countries participating in the NERRI project. These activities aim to the mobilization and collaboration among stakeholders representing different interests in the area of neuro-enhancement. These activities are not organized as a top-down process but require a mutual commitment from all those involved in them. This is the reason why the Science Communication Observatory from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (SCO-UPF), the Spanish member of NERRI consortium, asked entities representing different stakeholders for collaboration. A satisfactory answer was obtained, resulting in the constitution of the “NERRI Spanish Local Committee” during the last NERRI consortium meeting in Barcelona (November 2013). Among the committee members there are organizations related to education, law, bioethics, research in different fields connected with neuro-enhancement, health, science communication and funding of research projects.

SCO-UPF considers crucial the involvement of these local organizations to guarantee the success of the MML activities. Because of this, the team of this centre of research specialized in science communication and the NERRI Spanish Local Committee are working together to perform six MML activities in different Spanish cities between March and October. Coorganization, assessment, dissemination between different publics and direct participation in debates and activities will be some of the ways in which the local committee members will work with NERRI on this challenging project which aims to bring the issue of neuro-enhancement to the different sectors of society.

The first activities to be performed in Spain will be a Decide Game and a Laboratory of Ideas. A Decide Game is a conversational game where around eight participants and a facilitator gather around a table and discuss about a controversial issue. The aim is to use debate and discussion to shape consensus policy options. A Laboratory of Ideas is similar to a focus group but more flexible in elements such as the number of participants and the structure of questions. The aim is not so much to obtain information from participants but to establish a situation of mutual learning and exchange of views. Other activities planned by SCO-UPF for 2014 are NERRI talks and focus groups.