Lacking Integration of Societal Needs and Ethical Concerns into European Research and Innovation Policy Severly Limits the Ability to Tackle ‘Grand Challenges’
The NewHoRRIzon project published its second policy brief in September 2019, co-authored by Robert Braun of the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), Anne Loeber of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and Peter Novitzky of Wageningen University (WU), with contributions from the NewHoRRIzon team.
NewHoRRIzon has (1) produced a comprehensive analysis of RRI policy integration, analyzing the uptake of responsibility in H2020; (2) engaged hundreds of stakeholders in 19 so-called Social Labs to experiment with new ways and methods to promote the uptake of RRI; and (3) designed a new tool that offers practical guidance to researchers on how to mature the societal readiness of their research projects: the Societal-Readiness (SR) Thinking Tool. We suggest that the main obstacle for RRI integration appears to be the policy integration strategy itself. As a result the RRI framework is present on the declarative policy level yet it ‘phases out’ on funding-call level and is absent in the evaluation criteria by which the proposals written in response to a call are assessed. We suggest that to better integrate RRI into research funding and governance RRI as policy construct must shift from a general ‘cross-cutting issue’ to an explicit policy goal, explicated in clear guidelines for action. Furthermore, our findings suggest that the EC should develop and actively disseminate information on RRI policy implementation tools.
Our recommendations include: (1) in the grant requirements for research proposal submission under Horizon Europe a supplement to be added generated with the online Societal-Readiness (SR) Thinking Tool, addressing project-specific RRI-related questions and reflections; (2) in the grant requirements for research proposal submission to incorporate RRI specific actions in the submissions’ tasks, deliverables, milestones, and budgets; (3) in research proposal evaluation process a specific set of RRI-related criteria relevant for the R&I domain; (4) to establish a policy advocacy and expertise centre dedicated to mainstreaming RRI in order to ensure RRI policy integration and delivery.
Download our second NewHoRRIzon policy brief here.
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