Social Lab 5 – Workshop 1

Date: 18 – 19 June 2018

Place: Wageningen, The Netherlands

Sixteen participants

Participants came from a wide-range of activities such as business, policy-making, NGOs, and academia.

The participants perceive the relevance of RRI as important and crucial. Most of the potential benefits are openness, transparency, and involvement in research. The difficulties may be summaries by lack of access, lack of information and training available, lack of involvement of humanities in calls and projects, and the lack of gender and minorities focus and representation in projects.

Pilot actions

The following pilot actions were identified:

1. Involvement and Engagement of Civil Society Organisations
2. Training for Responsible Research and Innovation

Pilot 1 – Involvement and Engagement of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)

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 since 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 our investigation are twofold: a) 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 b) 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. These objectives are expected to lead to greater societal cohesion and increased efficiency and overall societal benefits resulting from challenging R&I developments.

Pilot 2 – Training for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)

Responsibility in research and innovation (R&I) is an essential requirement driving the European R&I agenda since 2010. Either through the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), open science initiative, or increased socio-ethical reflection, the aim of increased involvement of stakeholders affected by R&I processes is one of the driving forces behind this unmet need. Such involvement of diverse groups with their particular interests incorporates substantial challenges; mainly:

  • How can different societal groups be included in sustainability research and innovation?
  • How can researchers, innovators and policy-makers collaborate effectively? What collaboration tools are available
  • How can resistance to socio-technological innovations for sustainability be eased?

The pilot action explores the opportunities that the concept of responsibility in R&I offers to deliver impactful and inclusive solutions for innovation, sustainability, circular economy, etc. through a meaningful interaction. We will explore the challenges of open science and the value trade-offs that researchers, innovators, and policy-makers face when engaging in responsible R&I endeavours. The aim is to investigate, facilitate, and enhance effective transdisciplinary trainings and discussions of groups with a broad diversity of stakeholders. These include BSc, MSc, PhD students, academic and non-academic researchers, innovators, and businesses (SME/MNE).
Our team will collect anonymized data that will inform the advancement of further research in cross-disciplinary R&I discussions and the effectiveness of various training approaches in diverse discourses. The output of our work will not only increase the awareness of the multitude of discursive methods in cross-disciplinary R&I collaborations but will also collect valuable insights for future research relevant to the collaboration between private and public actors for responsible R&I.