RECIPES Citizen meeting in Bergen (Norway)

On May 28, 2019, a citizen meeting was held in Bergen (Norway), where 26 people of different ages and professions met to discuss precaution and innovation in relation to (new) technologies.

On the day, a group of 26 people with different demographics met in Bergen to discuss precaution and innovation. The purpose of the meeting was to provide some insights into citizen perceptions of precaution and innovation. Similar citizen meetings were held in Italy, Bulgaria, Netherlands, and Denmark.

Before the meeting, a short informational material was developed by the RECIPES consortium and sent to the participants. The information material provided information on the Precautionary Principle (PP) and innovation, as well as the dilemmas and controversies connected to three selected cases: GMO, Nanotechnology, and pesticides.

In the meeting, the RECIPES project was first presented shortly, including a brief introduction to three of the RECIPES cases. Thereafter, participants filled out a survey on precaution and innovation in the areas of GMOs, nanotechnology, and pesticides, followed by group discussions of 10 of the questions in the survey.

The discussions were lively as participants included both those fascinated by new technologies and those who were more concerned about emerging risks. Generally, there seemed to be a agreement that PP and innovation should be balanced. However, regarding the question of prioritizing between the two, most of the participants tended towards a more precautionary approach.

Of the three cases, participants expressed more concerns about pesticides than about GMOs and nanotechnologies. Some controversies on GMOs emerged in the discussions. While many participants expressed worries about the developments of these technologies, some also highlighted the possibilities of these technologies and that the regulations in some cases may be too strict, holding back innovation.

Lastly, some controversies emerged around the questions on the possibilities of controlling technology. Participants disagreed about the possibilities to steer or regulate the development of technologies at an international level but mainly agreed that there are possibilities to direct innovations towards more sustainable directions on a national scale.  


University of Bergen

Laura Drivdal and Jeroen van der Sluijs | Email:

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