One of the main challenges facing the world of research in future years will be to develop a sound and constructive dialogue with the rest of society (citizens, stakeholders, educational institutions).
The recurrent public disputes on scientific and technological issues, the difficult relationship between young people and technical-scientific training, and new policy measures (such as the possibility for citizens to assign a small percentage of their taxes to selected research institutions) give increasingly central importance to the role of the public in choices concerning research, and they require institutions of research and higher education to understand and thoroughly address their relationships with the non-specialist public.
This imposes new tasks and responsibilities on researchers and their institutions.
As one reads in the recent Recommendation by the Committee on the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers:
"Researchers should ensure that their research activities are made known to society at large in such a way that they can be understood by non-specialists, thereby improving the public's understanding of science. Direct engagement with the public will help researchers to better understand public interest in priorities for science and technology and also the public's concerns".
Accordingly, the general aim of project is to lay the bases for the University of Trento to develop a distinctive attention to the relationship between science and society.
The means selected to achieve this goal is the creation of an interdisciplinary work group on "Science, Technology and Society" in order to enhance the many activities already ongoing and to develop new ones.