Challenges to the relationship between science and the public.Civil Science in Public Health and Ecology

October 8-9, 2021, place: PU “P. Hilendarski ”, Compass Conference Hall and via online link (link:, time: 10.00

For at least the last 300 years, science has played the role of a major legitimizing resource for the introduction of specific public policies and social governance in general. Science provided indisputable facts about the world and life, which were unequivocally accepted by the public. Scientists and experts had unlimited power and right to determine the direction and course of development of societies, and citizens were in the role of passive recipients of these truths and policies. Today, when trust in public institutions is increasingly fragile, science is not immune to the doubts and claims of citizens.

Late modernity has undermined scientists’ monopoly on truth and the privilege of speaking in the name of a bright future and progress. The social management of scientific results and policies is facing a setback from the citizens and their uncritical implementation is becoming increasingly difficult. Today, science is simply one of the forms of culture (Bloor 1976), which in competition with other forms of knowledge fights for the attention of citizens. It is as if scientists have lost their “charisma” of being “messengers and holders” of the truth. For their part, citizens, social movements and non-governmental organizations insist on being active participants in the process of establishing the “state of affairs”. There is pressure for the “democratization of science”.

As early as the beginning of this century, the EC outlined as one of the priorities in the European research programme the opening of science and innovation to citizens and the harmonization of their interests, attitudes and values ​​with scientific policies. In recent years, the EC has widely promoted the strategies Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and Open innovation, Open science, Open to the world (3Os strategy), as well as the concept of Citizen Science, which is one of the key axes in the program Science with and for Society ”(SwafS) of the EC Horizon 2020. Among the key priority axes of the Horizon 2020 programme are medicine and public health and ecology. The idea behind all these programmes is to involve citizens in science through their participation in research and innovation processes as “co-researchers”. The search for new innovative strategies for socially responsible research initiatives that raise the level of science-society relations as a sustainable policy based on science-based knowledge and fair cooperation is highlighted.

The seminar discusses the issue of civic participation and involvement in the management of vaccine prophylaxis and clean air. The following questions will be discussed: can citizens be active participants in the process of “getting” the truth? How is scientific data handled and what are the criteria for orientation in the use of information? How can citizens be involved in shaping evidence-based policies? What are the risks and challenges of establishing an open science? Is science for citizens possible and not science for power?

The round table is attended by project members and other scientists, policy makers and experts, representatives of NGOs and citizens, representatives of local authorities. The purpose of the discussions is to outline possible perspectives for a better understanding of the work of scientists, involvement of citizens in research and decision-making and the development of evidence-based public policies.

Opening of the seminar (round table) by the project manager

Prof. Chalakov; 10.00-10.15

I panel, day 1: “Vaccination hesitation: vaccine  prophylaxis between science and the public”, (moderator Petya Bankova) 10.15-14.30

Compass Conference Hall and online link:

Current situation with the Kovid-19 epidemic and the vaccination of the population (10.15-10.45):

  • Prof. Dr. Yordanka Stoilova (MU Plovdiv) 10.15
  • Dr. Tihomir Bezlov (Center for the Study of Democracy) 10.30

Questions and discussion (10.45-10.55)

Vaccination hesitation: lessons from the past and imprints in the present (10.55-12.10):

  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tihomir Mitev (PU) – “On the determinants of vaccination variability” 10.55
  • Prof. Dr. Ivan Tchalakov / PhD student Biliana Mileva (PU) 11.10
  •  Prof. Krastina Petkova (IPS, BAS) – “Trust in Science: Data from a Comparative Survey of Attitudes in the UK and Bulgaria” 11.25
  • Assistant Professor Mimi Vasileva (PU) 11.40
  • Zoro Zorov (PU) – “Facebook as a portal to the Bulgarian “anti-wax”” 11.55

Discussion and coffee 12.10-12.30

Vaccine prophylaxis: between science and the public. Is civil science possible with regard to vaccines? (12.30-13.45)

  • Dr. Hristiana Batselova (MU Plovdiv) 12.30
  • Dr. Stefan Nikolov (PU) 12.45
  • Manol Peykov (former MP, citizen and entrepreneur promoting scientific information about vaccines) 13.00
  • Dr. Kostadin Sotirov (General Practitioner) 13.15
  • arch. Petkana Bakalov (activist for free choice of mandatory vaccines from the immunization calendar) 13.30

Discussion and closing: 13.45-14.15

 Guests: team members, students, management, fellow lecturers.

Panel II, day 2: “Science for citizens and civic science. The Plovdiv Case: The Struggle for Clean Air. (moderator doctoral student Biliana Mileva) 10.00-13.15

Online only:

Civil Science 10.00-10.45

  • PhD student Petya Bankova (PU) – “Civil Science: The Challenges of Definition. European Examples”
  • Prof. Dr. Ivan Tchalakov (PU) 10.15
  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tihomir Mitev (PU) – “The revolt of the masses and the betrayal of science” 10.30

Discussion 10.45-11.00

Enthusiastic scientists and civil science. (11.00-11.20)

  • Chief Assist. Prof. Dr. Atanas Terziiski (PU) – Presents the activities of the network “”

Questions and discussion with coffee 11.20-11.45

“The Case of Plovdiv” and clean air. (11.45-12.45)

  • Prof. Dr. Stefka Naumova (IDP-BAS) 11.45
  • Georgi Velev, attorney at law 12.00
  • Citizens of Plovdiv 12.15
  • Mikhail Ekimdzhiev, attorney at law 12.30

Discussion 12.45-13.15

Guests: team members, students, management, fellow lecturers.