Social Lab 4 – Workshop 1

Date: 14-15 May 2018

Place: Vienna, Austria

12 participants:

  • 2 NCPs
  • 2 ESFRI chairs
  • 6 Researchers and Evaluators
  • 2 Research Infrastructures

Presentation of the workshop

We had our first social lab workshop with a very diverse and highly experienced group, represented by 12 participants, 5 men, 7 women, stemming from 9 different EU countries, representing 2 NCPs, 2 former ESFRI chairs, 6 researchers and evaluators as well as 2 research infrastructures. After a few team building activities we immediately dived into the current working practices in the field, reflecting and assessing them against aspects addressed by the RRI concept. It turned out to be a difficult task to attain a common understanding of RRI in such a short time frame, an agreement was only partly achieved. For further readings, we, as lab management team, provided additional materials after the workshop.

Despite this missing agreement, the interactive and reflective character of our programme supported us in elaborating both aspects that might burden the RRI implementation in infrastructures and aspects that might enrich the work. Although RRI was perceived as a rather vague concept by our participants, they came up with more enriching aspects. The “integral” and overarching character of RRI was highlighted, bringing all aspects such as gender equality and open access together under one umbrella.

Participants saw a “better embeddedness of science and research” in society and vice versa, and with the “involvement of different stakeholders” also “new options for innovations”. The social lab participants also envisaged the influencing character of RRI, into “institutional structures”, like “breaking with hierarchical structures” or “creating more equal opportunities” and lastly the “education system”. They appreciated “dedicated spaces” for RRI, in which reflection and co-creation could take place. Formulated burdens described already first needs to be addressed, such as: “I am not trained for this”, “causing additional work for researchers”, “diversions from topic of research” or “making the proposal writing more complex”.

To enable flourishing ideas how to address these aspects we invited our participants to a walkshop in the beautiful gardens of Schönbrunn (luckily the weather allowed us to). Walking in small groups, participants discussed ideal future visions of RRI integration in the field of research infrastructures. Based on selected future sentences participants came up with requirements how to achieve those and how to address open issues in the following steps. Ideas formulated implied the following headings: RRI dissemination and branding, the concept work of RRI, policies required, including open access strategies, the RRI community of practice and accountability(transparency).

All the collected ideas fed a common pool out of which concrete solutions and ideas for pilot activities were elaborated. After a final selection process, small teams worked on ideas for pilot activities and co-created concepts for implementation.