Blind Spots in Science
The Priority Setting Program builds upon previous experience with involving citizens, patients and stakeholders in actively shaping research priorities at the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft. This highly innovative approach has led to the establishment of five Open Innovation in Science research units using elements of priority setting in certain steps of their founding procedures (Research Group Village, Research Group D.O.T., LBI Digital Health Patient Safety, LBI Digital Health & Prevention, Research Group Senescence and Healing of Wounds).
Since the first “Tell us” crowdsourcing projects successfully experimented with shaping research questions by experts by experience using crowd wisdom, different priority setting methods have already been applied, like sand pit approaches to collaboratively form project proposals (Ideas Lab) and applying lead user/experts workshop series to refine research questions.
The Priority Setting Program is an integral part of the LBG OIS Center. We aim to establish a central hub within the Austrian research landscape, for prioritizing research by meaningfully involving citizens, patients and stakeholders.
Typically, researchers, research institutions or funding organizations decide on the agenda that research should pursue. But when it comes to addressing the needs of the general public as key stakeholder, these agendas often exhibit blind spots. Key for addressing these blind spots and ultimately increasing the impact of science in the long run is to meaningfully involve those directly affected in jointly setting research priorities.
The Priority Setting program helps identify, prioritize, and achieve consensus on research efforts important to stakeholders. Specifically, the unit supports the design of priority setting exercises throughout the different research stages (What needs to be prioritized?), it facilitates granularity assessment (How detailed do research priorities need to be?), it provides project guidance and mentoring (How does priority setting need to be designed?), and it assists in institutionalized project steering (How can priorities be sustainably integrated within research environments?). An international advisory group ensures a high quality of the conducted priority setting projects and implemented methods.
Collaboratively setting research priorities helps detecting blind spots in science. Research areas, topics, or questions of common relevance can be identified and will be injected into the scientific discourse throughout the research cycle. By including all relevant stakeholders in setting research priorities, research waste can be reduced, and science and society can be brought closer together.
We truly believe that others can learn from our priority setting activities and therefore want to offer our learnings to a larger audience. This is why we provide updated information about our priority setting experiences via the Open Science Framework.