Joining forces for a global 21st century Responsible Research and Innovation Network

As a part of the European Scientific Open Forum 2020, the RRING network, the NewHoRRIzon and the ORION project hosted an interactive online roundtable on “Joining forces for a global network of responsible research and innovation in the 21st century”.

The round table was chaired by Dr. Gordon Dalton RRING project coordinator, and the initial presentations of Dr. Erich Griessler – NewHorizon project and Maria Hagardt – ORION Open Science project.  All three projects are funded under the SwafS programme of Horizon 2020.

Roundtable discussion

The purpose of the session was to consider the number of projects and initiatives currently operating in this area and the need for a global network to share common experiences from projects funded by the European Commission and other important initiatives internationally.

One of the central themes of the discussion was how the development of an RRI network can leverage most of the existing expertise, results, and impact while ensuring that a sustainable vision for RRI is global in its outlook and engagement. The roundtable also considered a framework for RRI and what challenges and benefits it would bring.

Panel discussion: RRI framework and network

An interactive discussion was followed by utilising an online voting tool to encourage panel discussion, chaired by Emma Day Vitae. The panel consisted of John Crowley, UNESCO, Marion Boland, Science Foundation Ireland, Jessica Wyndham, AAAs and Gail Cardew, EUROSCIENCE.
The discussion focused on two topics of the RRI framework and the RRI network. The audience was able to give their opinion to the expert panel using a network tool.

Observations: A global network highly valued

  • A global RRI network would have a positive impact
  • The global RRI network should have tangible benefits, including a communication platform or knowledge transfer mechanism. The least important was purposeless networking.
  • There are several benefits to the RRI framework, including advocacy for the approach and providing clear guidance – barriers and benefits must be linked
  • The RRI network should promote the advocacy for legitimization of RRIs and performance metrics.

However, there are still challenges ahead:

  • How familiar people are with RRI? – 31% of roundtable participants did not know anything yet, while only 6% thought they were experts. Work must be done to spread the knowledge on RRI
  • RRI is considered to be a priority for individuals themselves rather than for departments or institutions – This may show that the audience is personally committed to RRI and what it achieves, but does not have the opportunity to follow it at the institutional level.
  • RRI is considered to be a higher priority at the international than the national level, which may reflect the EU’s success in promoting RRI initiatives across Europe.
  • Lack of incentives and research culture can stop individuals engaging in RRI

Get involved and give your opinion

As a result of this discussion, the RRING team is now seeking broader perspectives on this topic. For those interested, the RRING network has also launched a test run for a global RRI network.