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Is Society Ready for IT? Public Safety Workshop 7 Dec 2020, Brussels

December 7 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm GMT


Call for Participation

Is Society Ready for IT? Societal Readiness and PPDR Digital Innovation (from IoT to 5G and beyond)

7th December 2020, PSCE Conference, Brussels – Online Participation possible

Public Protection and Disaster Response (PPDR) is changing. As societies experience the more frequent and intense disasters of climate emergency, citizens and PPDR practitioners need support. Innovation in digital technologies promises advanced capabilities – from the Internet of Public Safety Things to Artificial Intelligence, automation, robotics, mobile broadband and 5G connectivity and beyond. But the power of technology comes with serious ethical, legal, and social challenges: information management, privacy, security, social sorting, stress, and technology dependence are just a few. Regulatory frameworks and digital ethics are slow to emerge, and responders and citizens alike are concerned.

This workshop explores these challenges with a focus on citizen engagement. Guillaume Lambert, Head of Public Safety Broadband at the French Interior Ministry observed at the 2019 Public Safety Communications Europe Conference in Paris, that ‘the technologies might be ready to share data and video, [but] the public is not … We need to convince them’. This workshop asks ‘why are the public not ready?’ and critically and creatively explores questions of ‘societal readiness’.

We are developing a scale of ‘Societal Readiness Levels’ (SRL) (Büscher and Spurling 2019), acknowledging that practitioners and the public require more ambitious and responsible innovation. Insights from responsible research and innovation (RRI) show that ‘deficit models’ of public understanding are flawed (de Saille 2015). The public does not simply lack understanding to appreciate the potential of innovation or is irrationally biased against science and technology. Citizens are often for good reasons unwilling to accept ethical, legal, social, environmental costs of innovation. Thus, rather than seeing ‘societal readiness’ as a matter of educating society to ‘accept’ innovations, we are asking what would make innovation acceptable? What more can and should design do to meet the requirements of society? How ready are our innovations for society? How ready are our methods of innovation, our procurement models and practices, our methods of evaluation and validation for society? To what extent do they ensure that innovations support practitioners’ and citizens’ practices, and societal values and civil liberties? What can be done to raise their SRL? This is both a substantive and a methodological question, because designing with and for society translates into a need for co-designing, formative evaluation and experimentation (Felt and Wynne 2007, Simonsen et al 2010). As a result, this workshop also asks how we can develop better methods for engaging citizens in innovation in PPDR.

Topics to be discussed include (but are not limited to):

  • Studies of innovation in PPDR, e.g. towards net-centric approaches, crisis informatics, whole community security, with analysis of the role of publics and public engagement
  • Theories and methods for RRI, co-design, and other approaches in PPDR that can support public engagement, and work with citizens
  • Studies of public perceptions of PPDR innovation, and citizen engagement in innovation
  • Studies of public perceptions and citizen engagement in innovation in sectors that intersect with PPDR (transport, energy, healthcare, smart cities, manufacturing)
  • Citizen, NGO, policy perspectives

We welcome contributions from anyone with knowledge of the topic, including academic researchers, PPDR practitioners, NGO and civil liberty groups, community groups and citizens, SME and industry, policy-makers, government authorities. Please submit an abstract of your presentation (or demonstration of prototype ‘solutions’) (1000 words max) to secretariat@psc-europe.eu

The workshop will combine practitioner, researcher, and industry presentations with ‘unconferencing’ creative interaction formats and prepare a report for the main conference.


Deadline for submissions:                                                                      19th October 2020

Notification of Acceptance:                                                                    2nd November 2020


Fee: 50€ if you are registered to the PSCE Conference / 100€ if you participate only to the workshop (includes lunch and coffee breaks). The Registration Link is available on the Conference Website.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us secretariat@psc-europe.eu



Büscher, M. and Spurling, N. (2019) Working Note on Social Acceptance and Societal Readiness Levels for Low Carbon Innovation in Transport. https://decarbon8.org.uk/social-acceptance-and-societal-readiness-levels/

Simonsen, J., Bærenholdt, J. O., Büscher, M., & Scheuer, J. D. (2010). Design research: Synergies from interdisciplinary perspectives. Design Research: Synergies from Interdisciplinary Perspectives. London: Routledge https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203855836.

de Saille, S. (2015) Innovating innovation policy: the emergence of ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’, Journal of Responsible Innovation, 2:2, 152-168, https://DOI: 10.1080/23299460.2015.1045280.

Felt, U., and Wynne, B. 2007. Taking European Knowledge Society Seriously. Report prepared for European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. http://bookshop.europa.eu/en/taking-european-knowledge-society-seriously-pbKINA22700/.


Monika Büscher is Professor of Sociology and Associate Director at the Centre for Mobilities Research, at Lancaster University, UK. Her research explores the digital dimension of contemporary ‘mobile lives’ with a focus on IT ethics and risk governance. Her interdisciplinary, experimental, engaged public sociology explores and shapes socio-technical futures. She leads research on the informationalization of risk governance, low-carbon innovation, and equitable urban futures in national and international projects (DecarboN8, GREAT, BRIDGE, SecInCoRe). She has published many articles and books, including Ethnograpies of Diagnostic Work, Mobile Methods and Design Research. Synergies from Interdisciplinary Perspectives. In 2011 she received an honorary doctorate for her work in participatory design from Roskilde University, Denmark. She edits the book series Changing Mobilities (Routledge) with Peter Adey.

Birgit Mösl, Dipl.-Ing., BSc, Graz University of Technology, Institute of Engineering and Business Informatics

Image Source: “File:Body Worn Camera Magdeburg Police.jpg” by DDS 47 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0


December 7
9:00 am - 5:00 pm GMT
Event Category:




Police Fédérale
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