Social Lab 15 – Pilot Action 1

”Sharing the benefits of RRI”

Date: 5 July 2019

Place: Berlin, Germany

After two very insightful meetings of the pilot group at the social lab workshops in Berlin (November 2018) and Ljubljana (April 2019), the pilot group came together for a working meeting in the Fraunhofer FORUM in Berlin. It brought together researchers, entrepreneurs and experts in the field of science education, technology, innovation and RRI who jointly worked on the creation of an easy-to-use template to share and widely communicate the benefits of RRI to academic and non-academic audiences.

By taking the existing set of RRI indicators from MORRI as starting point of the group work, the pilot aimed at promoting exchange between existing RRI knowledge hubs and addressed the need for best practice examples in adopting and reutilizing past project results.

Participants engaged in an intensive discussion on the common problem of  reutilizing project results beyond the (fully financed) project scope and the resulting lack of benchmarks that show whether and under which conditions past project results can be successfully replicated and adopted.

As one of the core reasons for the lack of (such) benchmarks, participants highlighted the chronic lack of monitoring and measurement of project impacts. By its nature, impact occurs in close or distant future and hence, beyond the end of a project, which, ironically, is not tracked precisely because it lies beyond the borders of a project.

Another very vivid discussion revolved around the complexities of measuring impact that are related to the highly non-linear, context-sensitive and emergent nature of impact pathways. With a closing discussion on observable asynchronies between progressive social and human practice and regressive policies that (shall) reflect and codify social practice, participants created a common base of knowledge and understanding of the major problems, hurdles and experiences prevailing in the scientific community.

This set the ground for a fruitful teamwork on the MORRI indicators in which three groups elaborated on potential short-, mid- and long-term effects of RRI on science, economy and society that occur at project-level. The three groups presented their results by contextualizing the indicators in their respective environment and explaining the motives and thoughts that guided them in revising and reformulating the indicator descriptions. Reflecting on the group results in view of RRI as a concept that permeates sectorial and thematic borders, it became clear how smaller positive effects of RRI have the potential to aggregate to larger, interdependent and mutually reinforcing impacts across sectors and areas.

The revised indicator descriptions will undergo a final critical assessment through the Fraunhofer team and will subsequently be disseminated within the SL/community.