Open Access
Volume 55, May 2020
Enhancing stakeholder participation in the governance of radiological risks for improved radiation protection and informed decision making. Key results of the European research project ENGAGE
Page(s) S255 - S258
Published online 15 May 2020

© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences 2020

Licence Creative CommonsThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

1 Introduction

Within ENhancinG stAkeholder participation in the GovernancE of radiological risks for improved radiation protection and informed decision-making (ENGAGE) project, specific attention was given to the conceptualisation of stakeholders and stakeholder engagement; the rationales for and expectations from participatory processes; the level of engagement (e.g. with respect to the impact on policy-making); the participatory methods (e.g. workshops, focus groups, surveys, panels and others); and the consideration of both institutional and non-institutional forms of participation. Based on those results a design concept for a knowledge base that can contribute to learn on past experience was developed.

The ENGAGE project built on existing initiatives regarding the development of similar knowledge bases. With respect to emergency preparedness, response and recovery (EPR&R), processes and forms of stakeholder engagement have been identified and documented already under the NERIS European platform on preparedness for nuclear EPR&R and other projects in this area. For instance, the EURANOS handbooks were designed and have been used as part of a participatory process involving the potentially affected stakeholders (Raskob et al., 2010). This led to the development of a proposal for building a knowledge base reporting on stakeholder workshops and public participation activities (French et al., 2014). As Janssens (2013) points out “people look across borders for information and guidance and want national measures to be subject to peer review by other countries or by international bodies” (p. S25). This need was especially evident after the Fukushima nuclear accident and the implementation of EU Basic Safety Standards (EU, 2013) and further justifies the activities undertaken in the knowledge base development.

Another example is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) pilot database on stakeholder engagement practices, which provides examples of stakeholder engagement in regulatory policies of OECD member and partner countries. This database gives a general perspective on how such knowledge could be collected and documented for further use (OECD, 2016).

The review of existing knowledge base structures aimed at identifying how these databases can be extended or improved in order to include the key research questions addressed in the ENGAGE project. Round tables discussions with radiation protection researchers and practitioners at the NERIS 2018 workshop (Duranova et al., 2018) formed the basis for further reflection. The concept of knowledge base aims at documenting participatory practices taking into account the specific aspects of three types of radiation exposure: medical, indoor radon and emergency/post-accident. For example, the approaches to develop a radiological protection culture in the field of emergency preparedness, response and recovery were compared and contrasted with similar approaches developed for medical and indoor radon issues (Barazza et al., 2019).

This paper provides the concept of a knowledge base that emerged from the analyses and the case studies.

2 ENGAGE knowledge base concept

The analysis and the case studies within the ENGAGE project were driven by the following general questions:

  • How are radiation protection (RP) communities responding to “external” pressures, mandates, demands, and/or expectations that emerged in public venues commending the engagement of stakeholder and how does this show in practice (e.g. specific cases)?

  • Which real or potential forms of stakeholder engagement can be observed in RP practice, showing no reference to existing requirements?

  • What is the potential role of radiological protection culture for enhancing stakeholder engagement and informed decision-making?

These questions were addressed in the wide range of case studies conducted in the ENGAGE project and documented in a number of project reports (Turcanu et al., 2019a, 2019b; Zeleznik et al., 2019; Barazza et al., 2019).

The analysis of existing knowledge bases documenting stakeholder engagement demonstrated that for practical reasons it is better to have a simple knowledge base structure. The concept proposed should simultaneously allow for broader views on engagement, and reflection of the different forms of, and motivations for, engagement. The concept should offer inspiration also for stakeholders other than radiation protection experts, and for other forms of engagement.

Information on the participatory event/practice/process is collected under the database structure given below. The database form consists of seven sections with the following information about the event/practice/process:

  • Provider of information”: short data about the one who is providing the information;

  • General description”: details about the context of the activity (e.g. objectives, context, initiator, organiser, funding body);

  • Participants”: information about opportunities and motivations for participation;

  • Process”: description of participation with forms and methods, process evaluation, flexibility, ethical considerations;

  • Ex-post assessment”: evaluation of the process (e.g. challenges, outcome, feedback from participants);

  • Practical information”: timeline, facilities and resources;

  • Additional information” and other sources (e.g. links to reports).

For each of the items the driving questions, explanations and some examples are given to further describe and specify what kind of information is expected (Duranova et al., 2019).

3 ENGAGE knowledge base implementation: radon case study

The knowledge base concept was illustrated with a number of case studies conducted within the ENGAGE project (Duranova et al., 2019). They have been related to the area of medical exposure, exposure to indoor radon and emergency and post-accident exposure.

For illustration, in Table 1, we introduce the case study from Switzerland documenting the process of actions undertaken in the framework of the implementation of the radon national action plan 2012–2020.

Table 1

ENGAGE knowledge base: exposure to indoor radon case study.

4 Conclusions

Further steps in the development of the knowledge base could comprise of operational realisation and implementation of the ENGAGE knowledge base in practice.

As proposed also by French et al. (2014), the knowledge base on stakeholder engagement in radiation protection could be hosted on a web-server using a database/knowledge management system. Users would be able to share their experiences with NERIS, SHARE and other research platforms and interested communities, and access other published reports. An electronic database or web-based tool would allow end-users to consult the database or contribute to its further development and maintenance. Good search functions will be necessary to allow selection of relevant case studies.

Further development of the knowledge base to make it operational could be a part of the joint road map for radiation protection research (Impens and Salomaa, 2020).


The work described in this paper was conducted within the ENGAGE project, which was part of the H2020 CONCERT project. This project received funding from the Euratom research and training programme 2014–2018 under grant agreement No. 662287.

Disclaimer (Art. 29.5 GA). This publication reflects only the author’s view. Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the authors. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.


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Cite this article as: Duranova T, Turcanu C, Geysmans R, Schieber C, Pölzl-Viol C, Zeleznik N, Barazza F, Economides S, Fallon C. 2020. Knowledge base concept for designing and documenting participation in radiological protection. Radioprotection 55(HS2): S255–S258

All Tables

Table 1

ENGAGE knowledge base: exposure to indoor radon case study.

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