To what extent was the project willing and ready to acknowledge and take into account other types of knowledge and expertise (e.g., non-scientific knowledge, lay perspectives)?
In case of GRACE major decisions were made by the European Commission in determining the topics, formulating the call text and setting the limitations in budget and time- all of this happened before the GRACE consortium gathered to develop the project proposal. In developing the call or – more generally – in setting the research agenda political, economic, social or other aspects are likely to have a major impact.
In the course of conducting the GRACE project we received many inputs which cannot be considered as strictly scientific as they were inspired by e.g. experiences of practitioners in conducting or evaluating animal feeding trials. This also applies to tasks synthesising existing evidence in the context of GMO impact assessment. As the project was set to deal with regulatory science issues (regulatory science = scoping, developing, and evaluating scientific knowledge in the context of regulatory procedures) these inputs could be processed in the project. Moreover, alternative types of knowledge as well as stakeholder values are likely to have played an important role when stakeholders were prioritizing the review questions on which the GRACE team should draw.
On top of this broader issues were raised, e.g. animal welfare issues, independence of researchers and the precautionary principle was highlighted by some stakeholders. Given its limitations in scope and flexibility, GRACE could only partly deal with these issues (see also response to last question).