Insights from Social Lab 14 (SPREAD) first workshop

Date: 22-23 March 2018

Place: TECNALIA,Madrid, Spain


The Workshop convened 15 stakeholders from research ‑ including Widening grantees, team members and applicants ‑, research funding organizations, industry representatives and civil society organizations to develop pilot activities which might help to implement elements of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in the Widening work programme and, more generally, in research funding organizations of Widening countries.

Participants in the Widening SL started to grasp the RRI concept and the SL ecosystem thanks to this first workshop. There were two main questions posed at the beginning of the lab for breaking the ice and triggering discussions and reflections between participants;

  • What are my thoughts and feelings about participating in this Social Lab?
  • How do I live responsibility in my work?

People involved in the workshop really felt curious and excited about the methodology behind the SL but also about the possibilities that can provide RRI to tight bonds between science and society. The vast majority of the participants were not ware about RRI nor SL methodology and this was an element that capture their attention for introducing the basics behind RRI and its keys to the audience. The background of the participants provided also an interesting mixture that combined several disciplines such as agro-food, biology, physics, marketing, foresight, artificial intelligence, computer science or health studies.

At the end of the workshop, all participants were able to contribute to the piloting phase and proposing at least one viable idea to be delivered as a pilot. After a clustering phase and a collective feedback to the different ideas that have emerged four pilots were identified.


  • Georgi Bonchev – Bulagrian Cademy of Sciences (Bulgary)
  • Anca Constantinescu-Dobra – Technical University of Cluj-Napoca (Romania)
  • Antonio Fernández – IMDEA (Spain)
  • Betariz Gómez – CIBERER (Spain)
  • Branislava Lalic – Univeristy of Novi-Sad (Serbia)
  • Claudia Martis – Technical University of Cluj-Napoca (Romania)
  • Kiril Mishev – Insitute of Plant Physiology and Genetics (Bulgary)
  • Valenta Ondrej TC – Technology Centre CAS (Czech Republic)
  • Ricardo Pires – University of Minho (Portugal)
  • Milica Pojic – FINS (Serbia)
  • Kalodimou Vasiliki – Praxinetwork (Greece)
  • Anna Voseckova – Technology Centre CAS (Czech Republic)

Pilot Action 1: “Introducing RRI”

This pilot action aims to introduce the RRI concept in organizations that are not aware about it and its possibilities. It also aims to diagnose the level of readiness of the organization and developing roadmaps for favoring its dissemination and provide an evaluation assessment about how successfully has been disseminated among peers and colleagues. This pilot has produced several activities of communication and dedicated events.

Pilot Action 2: Assessment of SRL for RRI

This second pilot action is oriented to develop tools that can be of help for obtaining feedback from the general public and adapting the concept of RRI to different target groups, for facilitating scientific communication and public engagement in Serbia. This pilot action will work from the development of the Societal Readiness Level tool that is planned in the New HoRRIzon project.

Pilot Action 3: Development of a European network for RRI support

The third pilot action identified in Madrid aims to prepare institutions to support the implementation of the RRI concept, increasing the level of awareness about the concept, delivering trainings, workshops and dedicated events, as well as generating linkages with RRI experts and conducting some kind of self-assessment about the concept in the host institution. This pilot is being carried out in Bulgaria and Romania.

Pilot Action 4: Dialogue skills

The last pilot action aims to improve the level of dialogue skills of researchers for improving their communicative skills but also their relationships with other departments, clients, academics, citizens and society as a whole. This pilot stems from the imperious need that has been mapped out by the constant problems of communication that happen between many departments of universities. This work on the dialogue skills will pave the way for the RRI paradigm and the pilot driver is working on contacting experts on facilitation for getting supporters and allies in this endeavor. This pilot is being carried out in Serbia.

By Raúl Tabarés
Senior researcher at ICT Division and Social Lab 14 Manager Assistant