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ERIC Number: EJ1130234
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2154-8455
Might More Harm Be Done than Good When Scientists and Engineers Engage with the Public about New Technology before It Is Fully Developed? The Case of Hydrogen Energy
Bellaby, Paul; Clark, Andrew
International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, v6 n3 p283-302 2016
We report consultation about hydrogen energy at the Hydrogen Centre in South Wales with members of the public in the region. The Centre's research staff guided tours and outside sociologists made the independent assessment presented here. Hydrogen energy is a technology under development. The question is as follows: Does any risk to its future in consulting the public "upstream" of its full development outweigh any risk in not consulting them? The Hydrogen Centre was started in 2008. In 2011, it opened to three age groups: Baccalaureate students of 14, Tertiary College students of 18-19 and adult members of a Citizens' Panel. The sociologists (1) observed how the Centre's prototype of micro-generation of hydrogen energy was presented; (2) conducted surveys before their visits--of what visitors knew and wanted to find out, and after--of what they learned; (3) facilitated deliberation in focus groups about what hydrogen implies both globally and for the region and (4) fed back the findings to a meeting of the Centre staff and others in the Low Carbon Research Institute for Wales (at Cardiff University, November 2011). In this paper, we focus on the reticence of Centre staff about the visits--for their research was incomplete and key equipment was lacking at the time. Yet the visitors appear to have learned about hydrogen energy, remedied some mistaken ideas and taken away positive impressions. We conclude that engaging with the public as the technology develops might not be a significant risk to research. Not to do so might be more of a risk.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Wales)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A