Launch date: 2014
Multicriteria Mapping is a collaborative project with Andy Stirling, co-director of the STEPS Centre; and SPRU, the Sussex Innovation Centre and the UK-based software design company DabApps.
The project has developed an electronic software package for multicriteria mapping appraisal, which was launched for general use in October 2014. MCM is an interactive, multicriteria appraisal method for exploring contrasting perspectives on complex, uncertain and contested issues. It aims to help ‘open up’ technical assessment by systematically ‘mapping’ the practical implications of alternative options, knowledge, framings and values.
The method was first developed in 1997 for a collaboration between industry, government, academia and NGOs on the fraught issue of GM foods. It is based on many years’ experience by university researchers, industry executives, civil servants, activist campaigners and participation facilitators.
Funded by the University of Sussex as a basis for a University social enterprise, MCM has been widely used internationally, underpinning many influential published papers and reports. As part of a wider deliberative process, it has been mentioned in an editorial in Nature, favourably reviewed in a UK Government Manual and recommended in a number of major evaluations.
The software is available from the dedicated MCM website. This project links with the STEPS Centre’s agenda concerning the development of new tools for ‘broadening out’ and ‘opening up’ social appraisal.