DescriptionThe assumption of Athena’s research program is that in order to realize the development of ‘inclusive’ science and technology, the knowledge and expertise of a diverse group of non-scientific actors need to be integrated in decision making on innovation processes. The rationale for this is that these actors have relevant knowledge and different perspectives. A further assumption is that this integration should take place early in the innovation trajectory through a well-designed interaction process. The interaction should lead to a gradual deepening of the understanding of different perceptions concerning the definition of the problem context and the desired outcomes. In addition it should lead to a joint vision on how to proceed. The key question then is: how to organize the interaction in such a way that meaningful exchange of knowledge and expertise between scientific and non-scientific groups can take place effectively. This requires: an understanding of the dynamics within and between science and society; methodologies (principles and heuristics) that can guide multi-stakeholder innovation processes strategies that can sustain and upscale such processes. To realize such a structured interaction process, we have developed a model for understanding and influencing interaction between actors in science and society, as well as a methodology to operationalize the model (the ILA approach). The model integrates available knowledge and perspectives on societal needs and on potential innovations from relevant actors in societal and scientific fields (e.g. scientists, policy makers, societal organisations, companies, citizens, and consumers) on three levels of analysis.