Social Lab 5 – Workshop 2

Dates: 4 November 2019

Place: Wageningen, the Netherlands


RRI is a European framework in the research and innovation domain that tries to be sensitive and reflexive about societal needs and demands towards innovators and researchers, their work, and their outputs.

Our work focused on engaging in discourses with key industry players, civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations, as well as academics involved in such collaborations, and finding ways how to best act responsibly in these collaborations. The discussions conducted as a part of SL5 were extremely informative and engaging, they were also perfect opportunities to meet and talk to like-minded people from other fields.

Updates on Pilot Actions

The process of research and innovation (R&I) involves not only technologies and systems but actively engage with societies by interacting and affecting them. The normative requirement of responsibility in R&I, since its explicit introduction in 2010 to European framework programmes (H2020, Horizon Europe), aims at designing an inclusive and sustainable R&I process that involves all the affected societal actors in a cooperative and transparent manner. A plenitude of successful responsible R&I-related initiatives have since then been developed, in collaboration with an ever-growing number of societal actors and stakeholders. One of the lessons learnt from these experiences is that, despite the active participation of civil society organizations (CSOs)/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in R&I collaborations, their invitation to the proposal-drafting process of R&I projects is not always successful.

The objectives of Social Lab 5 investigation are twofold:

  • to identify and reflect on the causes of the barriers and hurdles of the increased involvement of CSOs/NGOs in the initiation of project proposal-writing endeavours, and
  • informed by these reasons, to design a prototype of proposal writing process that would be successful in inviting CSOs/NGOs into collaborative projects since their conception.

The findings comprise issues related to funding bodies, issues related with networking together with the right actors. Additional barriers of collaborations with CSOs/NGOs have been identified, such as, failing to speak the same language with academics and business partners; different interests with other stakeholders; individual contacts and where to best locate contacts for collaboration; different work-culture; specific role of ‘research’ for CSOs/NGOs.

All these barriers and hurdles open a new horizon for further discussion with key stakeholders how to enable CSOs/NGOs in future collaborations.