Our society is nowadays facing major crises (climate change, biodiversity loss, economic crises, epidemic…) which can only be solved through inclusion of a diversity of citizens, and on the same time being open, transparent, anticipative and flexible enough for adaptive change (RRI process requirements).Engaging alongside researchers to reflect together on social questions and imagine solutions is crucial to become part of the decision-making process and this way take action. In this respect, a new ethic of relations between science and society is emerging and the expression “Participatory science”, as well as the several attributes that can be related to it, takes on its full meaning: it is no longer about only extracting observations or knowledge from the citizen, but about co-constructing/building together research and innovation projects that are appropriate and include the citizen in each step, leading to a better understanding of phenomena and to the joint production of solutions, which is crucial to a greater social acceptance and commitment.
Nevertheless, still many stumbling blocks remain, to name some: CSO or public participation is not on the radar of many researchers, public authorities and businesses, research is not the main activity of CSOs, organizational shortcomings within CSOs, the limits of funding schemes for participatory research or the limits of trust between relevant actors. Furthermore, despite the upsurge of interests in participatory research, and public engagement, significant scientific, innovative, and socio-ecological outcomes are not sufficiently recognised and identified. This paper will discuss those issues and provide a systemic model.