Social Lab 4 – Workshop 3

Date: 24 & 25 October 2019


Ten participants joined the 3rd and last workshop run by Social Lab 4 on Research Infrastructures.
Participants came from 7 European countries and, 9 out of 10 represented research institutions, whereas one participant represented a government institution.

Objectives of the workshop

This workshop was successfull in reaching the 4 objectives listed below:

  • learn about status quo and further development of pilot activities;
  • discuss and reflect on pilot activities, process and context;
  • develop narratives;
  • acknowledge the achievements of the workshop and of the social lab


Research infrastructures, such as electronic databases, mega-telescopes and other large scale research equipments do not operate in a societal vacuum. Embedded within society their implementation and use also needs to reflect their societal implications: How is it that the infrastructure even gets into being an infrastructure? Who will have access and can use their services? How could results be used in a responsible way?

Social Lab 4 team organised a series of three workshops on these issues, implementing self-designed small projects to test and see their implications. The last workshop of this one and a half-year journey took place at the end of October 2019 with the aim to look back and ahead to future steps to take.

The workshop used a variety of methods including the technique of a fishbowl discussion, an online-self-reflection tool as well as reflection teams so that even the smallest initiatives were discussed.

Additionally, a walkshop, which is a guided walk through a set path solving specific task while moving, was used to stimulate reflection on the whole journey. Using a matrix, the lessons learnt on responsible research and innovation have been plotted on personal, institutional, national level and the level of the research infrastructures programme line.

Update on Pilot Action 3: Revision of Open Access Charta

Once upon a time a charter on open access to research infrastructures was drafted by the European Commission. Whilst being explicitly on open access, the overarching concept of responsible research and innovation has not been considered. This needed to be changed.

A brave group of researchers took on the task to change this. Tremendous efforts have been put into first analysing the gaps in the charter, to then rewriting the charter including all six key dimensions of responsible research and innovation, to include ethics, gender equality and diversity, public engagement, science education and governance more clearly. However, a newly written charter does not have any effect if no one knows about it! Therefore, a small workshop has been organised in Brussels, representatives from ESFRI (a research-infrastructure policy setting organisation) as well as from the European Commission have been invited.

The new charter has been accepted really well. All participants were extremely interested and also participated in discussions of research-infrastructures and theirresponsible use. Our pilot team was really happy. And they lived happily ever after.