There is a broad consensus that research and innovation (R&I) must be steered towards socially desirable ends, ensuring that science and technology are the driving forces behind social progress. This puts the current R&I system under increasing pressure to become more inclusive and responsive to current and future societal challenges. Although the critical issues of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) have been gaining academic awareness and political support as tools to move European R&I governance forward, there is broad recognition that the engagement of civil society organisations and citizens has been suboptimal in defining R&I priorities. Here it needs to rethink the role of higher education institutions and their contributions to society in a context of rapid transformations and world crises.
Citizens all around Europe are already showing increasing interest in participatory activities: their engagement in social movements and voluntary associations as well as science-related activities such as Citizen Science are clear signs of their willingness to be active players in the field. This paper introduces and reflects on the different concepts of co-production of knowledge, knowledge exchange and knowledge mobilisation, such as Community Based Research, Citizen Science or Science Shops.