Social Lab 9 – Workshop 1

Date: 17-18 May 2018

Place: Vienna, Austria

16 participants:

  • 4 NCPs
  • 2 Evaluators
  • 10 Researchers

Presentation of the workshop

On May 17th and 18th, the ZSI team conducted the first workshop of the social lab on the topic of “Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy”. Sixteen people participated in the lab, ten female and six male stakeholders stemming from 14 different European countries had been engaged. Besides presenting a broad geographical heterogeneity, the four NCPs,two evaluators and ten researchers were highly experienced in this field and had diverse backgrounds.

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. Thus, and for further readings,we promised to provide additional materials after the workshop.

Still, due to the methodological approach and the interactive character of the lab, participants were able to identify both potential barriers of RRI but also many more aspects which could enrich their work in the field of Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy.

For instance they see that RRI “could be a tool for building sustainable solutions having long-lasting impacts”, “could reduce the tension between private and social actions”, or “could mirror SDGs to foster inclusive approaches”. They noticed that it is “too broad, ill defined, not understood by donors”, or there is the fear that “RRI will cause more work and slows down the project due to more time, budget and human resources needed”. Additionally there are questions how to “operationalize open access properly” or “how to make it [RRI education] concrete for students”.

In the next step the group was asked to work on future sentences; imagine concrete actions in a perfect RRI world. Many ideas and sentences were collected, showing that some participants tend to see RRI’s implementation on a meta level, other groups already formulated specific work related sentences. Subsequently, the same groups chose 3 sentences they continued working on. The so-called reverse technique helped them in a creative way to identify activities to implement RRI. In the first step they had to brainstorm all kinds of activities to hinder their visions from coming true Several participants were surprised how much easier it felt to think about activities not supporting RRI at all and that several of them were actually in place. However, in the following step they had to reverse their ideas and gathered a list of RRI supporting action ideas.

Finally, it was about formulating specific ideas of implementing RRI in the realm of Clean, Secure and Efficient Energy. The participants came up with 27 concrete plans for pilots, which potentially might be realized within the frame of the Social Lab. By a ranking process three pilots were chosen: i) Trainings for Energy NCPs which should finally lead to a common understanding of RRI in the field of Energy for all NCPs and further to an implementation of RRI in ENERGY funded projects; ii) Living Lab, with the goal to make RRI progress in science and society, and iii) Energizing Housing,aiming at setting up a conference on sustainable RRI in relationship with housing.

For all pilot actions, hosts and core working teams were identified. Each team stated clear next steps and started right after the social lab with bringing their ideas on paper and setting up a rough budget plan. Simultaneously, they checked the willingness of their home institutions. In case the institutions affected agreed to the ideas, the pilot activities were launched.

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.