January 8, 2019

Social Lab 15: Science with and for Society (SWAFS)

What is a Social Lab?


Horizon 2020 pillar: Diversity of approaches

The Science with and for Society (SwafS) Social Lab deals with the part of H2020, where the knowledge base for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) has been built and extended for the past years (including SwafS predecessors). Therefore, the social lab does not so much center on questions of mainstreaming RRI in projects funded by the programme. It rather focuses on the potentials and challenges of SwafS and SwafS-like structures outside the framework programme to foster the “new paradigm” for research and innovation, which is to bridge the gap between science and society at large.

The Social Lab gathers those funded by the programme as well as potential beneficiaries of SwafS, e.g researchers, civil society organisations, industry, and other actors such as national contact points, funding agencies, NGOs etc. working at different levels on science-society relations.

If you would like to engage with our activities, please contact social lab managers Stephanie Daimer at stephanie.daimer@isi.fraunhofer.de or Susanne Buehrer at susanne.buehrer@isi.fraunhofer.de.

Social Lab workshops

Workshop 1

Date: 24-25 May 2018

Place: Berlin, Germany

17 participants

Presentation of the workshop

Workshop 2

Date: April 2019 (dates will be communicated soon)

Place: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Participation: Invitations will be sent soon. If you are interested to join, please contact social lab managers Stephanie Daimer at stephanie.daimer@isi.fraunhofer.de or Susanne Buehrer at susanne.buehrer@isi.fraunhofer.de

Presentation of the workshop

The workshop will dedicate time to working on the pilot activities and to participants sharing their different expertise with each other.

Workshop 3

Date: Scheduled for December 2019 or January 2020

Pilot actions

These are our pilot activities in the SwafS social lab. All of them depend on support from wider networks. If you want to support one of these activities please get in touch with social lab managers Stephanie Daimer at stephanie.daimer@isi.fraunhofer.de or Susanne Buehrer at susanne.buehrer@isi.fraunhofer.de.

Pilot Action 1: “Sharing the benefits of RRI”

This pilot connects strongly to ongoing SwafS projects and their field work. The pilot champions develop an easy-to-use template based on the work by the MORRI and SuperMORRI projects where benefits of RRI projects can be shared and will demonstrate the usability of it by illustrating their own field work. The pilot also includes communication activities to make this effort widely known and to link the presentation of the templates to existing RRI knowledge hubs, e.g. to SuperMORRI, RRI Tools, NewHoRRIzon etc.

The pilot thus aims to contribute to communicating the benefits of RRI to academic and non-academic audiences. The pilot also supports the networking of RRI projects. For the pilot, it is a good thing to start from existing work done already on the benefits of RRI instead of inventing something new. The SwafS social lab and the New HoRRIzon project provide a useful sounding board for designing this as an activity useful for many RRI projects also outside of SwafS, and to communicate this widely. As RRI is often perceived to be an abstract issue, it is obvious that working with illustrative examples can be an important contribution in making RRI and its benefits better known.

Pilot Action 2: “RRI education”

The idea of this pilot is that it obviously makes a difference to acquaint society with scientific topics in general versus familiarizing with the idea of responsible research and innovation. Science education has become ever more important to address the complex challenges for our societies. The climate change, autonomous driving, artificial intelligence, demographic change and others make us aware of how important are our values and responsibilities when we develop knowledge for the future. The pilot is championed by experts in the education of teenagers, school children and even the youngest ones in the kindergarten, and it develops based on ongoing work a set of approaches that allows for a bottom-up kind of RRI education, giving a voice to the youth. The developed tools will be available open source and targeted for use in schools, science museums or kindergartens. Moreover, there is the idea to organise webinars where teenagers can ask questions to RRI experts.

Pilot Action 3: “The future of science and society”

With this pilot, we intend to organise a broader debate within the SwafS-/ RRI-community about the future of SwafS and RRI. Two elements are planned: Development of scenarios for alternative futures of (European) research funding and a lobby activity for a new and advanced SwafS-like programme in the next framework programme. This is a response to the draft of this programme currently under political debate, which misses a follow-up programme for SwafS and further promotion of RRI. Thus, we aim to demonstrate how the SwafS-community deals constructively with the promises and pitfalls of the programme and of the RRI concept. We believe that the context of the social lab and the NewHoRRIzon project is a good starting point for such a communication effort. Both activities are at the same time highly policy relevant and will therefore be pursued in close collaboration with the management board of NewHoRRIzon.

Pilot Action 4: “Interdisciplinary dialogues”

One of the challenges of the current SwafS programme is that the interdisciplinary nature of the projects is something to be developed further. Participants of the SwafS social lab consider it to be an attractive element of a future SwafS programme to establish transversality with other framework programmes, in particular to work on integrated views on responsibility between social scientists and humanists and scientists trained in natural sciences or technical disciplines. In the SwafS social lab we intend to make use of the NewHoRRIzon infrastructure and invite participants of other social labs to interdisciplinary dialogues facilitated by methods that help to build bridges and integrate views. We this, we will build on existing methods and knowledge and intend to make available our approach and lessons learned for use in other contexts. These dialogues also establish new networks which might become the basis for future collaboration.

Pilot Action 5: “RRI Training”

Many social labs of NewHoRRIzon have identified the need for RRI Trainings, and so has the SwafS social lab. SwafS has opened up to new communities by promoting a broad field of RRI related topics, in particular also in the area of education. Newcomers to H2020 do often not know how to address the RRI requirements within a project proposal, how to embed RRI within their activities. Therefore the SwafS social lab will link with other NewHoRRIzon social labs which plan to do “RRI trainings” and offer at least one training session in the course of 2019.

Managers and facilitators

Social Lab Managers: Stephanie Daimer and Susanne Buehrer, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Karlsruhe, Germany.

Social Lab Facilitator: Philine Warnke, Fraunhofer ISI, Karlsruhe, Germany.