Experiences from the first MSCA Social Lab Workshop

Date: 8-9 June 2018

Place: University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

21 participants:

  • 6 MSCA fellows;
  • 5 MSCA project coordinators/supervisors;
  • 4 MSCA alumni;
  • 5 funding brokers (National Contact Points; private consultant; home organization);
  • 2 RRI related experts


From June, 8th to 9th 2018 the Social Lab on “RRI in MSCA” held its 1st Workshop in Amsterdam city centre at the University of Amsterdam.

The first MSCA Social Lab Workshop convened 21 research related stakeholders with 12 nationalities and based in 11 different countries ‑ including MSCA fellows, representatives from the Marie Curie Alumni Association, MSCA project coordinators/supervisors, MSCA evaluators, National Contact Points, funding brokers and RRI related experts –  to share knowledge on RRI and develop pilot activities which might help to implement elements of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in MSCA related practices and funding.

After the participants got to know each other, and after setting some ground rules for the two-day workshop, the participants took part in a World Café exercise on responsibility in research and innovation practices and the research and innovation system. They were specifically asked to reflect on what responsibility means to them in person, in their daily practice and on the level of institutions. To foster more in-depth discussions, the Social Lab team shared knowledge on RRI and presented its first results of a diagnosis of RRI in MSCA specifically. After discussing the diagnosis, the group then were taken for a Walkshop on Responsibility in the city. In the evening, during a working dinner, participants were asked to write down on postcards what their practices/offices would look like in 2027 when, at the end of FP9, RRI would be the leading vision.  

The following morning, while enjoying a cup of coffee, participants were invited to share their vision with the whole group and share why they thought their ideal future should be realized. With the help of an exercise of backcasting, more concrete steps were gathered to bring this vision more closely to reality. Intense deliberations followed in which, through several mechanisms, including a presentation on potential enablers related to the MSCA funding scheme and practices, participants were asked to come up with four concrete Pilot Action ideas that they would like to see pursued. The ideas were further enthusiastically elaborated in groups, with the support of the Social Lab team and after a presentation to their peers refined on the basis of feedback. After these demanding but fruitful two days, contact details were exchanged and a digital platform was established to allow further cooperation on the Pilot Action planning and implementation towards the second Workshop.

Joshua Cohen, Social Lab RRI Researcher/Assistant and PhD Candidate at the Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands