Session 12: The role of research funding organizations to support the uptake of RRI: Building a RRI-based evaluation framework for research funding agencies – mission possible?

Organisers: Veikko Ikonen, Mika Nieminen
Speakers: Olavi KujanpääLukáš MacenauerÜlle MustNhien NguyenTiina Ramstedt-SenEmad Yaghmaei

Funding agencies evaluate and assess in various ways the research and innovation they are funding. Criteria may vary, for instance, depending on the context (discipline and research objective), policy (the role of the funding agency in a research system and its specific policy targets) and funding instrument (e.g. application oriented vs. curiosity oriented vs. mission oriented). Besides so-called hard evaluation criteria (e.g. academic excellence, social impact, and efficient implementation), also ethics related considerations have been asked from the applicants. Usually they are not used, however, as an explicate evaluation criteria but rather as quality and legal aspects of research, which the study needs to follow.  

Despite this, there is an increasing need to apply clearly defined ethical standards and criteria for R&D funding to increase the societal desirability and acceptance of research and its results. For instance, due to the wide public debate and the very nature of the technology, there is a clear pressure in the AI related R&D funding to scrutinize the safety, transparency and trustworthiness of the funded projects. In addition, public engagement, gender, transparency (open access) and dissemination have been introduced as important aspects to be taken into account already in the planning phase of the research. How these aspects could be considered as evaluation criteria is still an open question to be discussed.  

In this session, we presented experiences of using ethics and responsibility frameworks in R&D funding. We discussed also more widely on ethics and responsibility related incentives and indicators. Of special interest were the motivational factors and willingness to create new practices or modify old ones. 

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