The first Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) Social Lab Workshop in the field of security research was organised 2nd – 3rd of May 2018 at Roseni Torn, Tallinn, Estonia, in collaboration with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd and Estonian Research Council. The workshop gathered together 13 participants, the facilitator from Estonian Research Council and three organisers from VTT. The participants came from Estonia, Finland, Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy and Ukraine. Research and government representatives were well included in the workshop.
The workshop concentrated on answering questions of the meaning of RRI as well as co-development and implementation of RRI in the security field. During the workshop, several questions were considered within the participants including themes of potential of RRI, benefits of RRI, current reality of RRI, difficulties and barriers of RRI and good practices of RRI in security research and innovation. The workshop concentrated on collecting experiences, knowledge and ideas and sharing them with the group of participants. Group dynamics worked well and the participants included both people actively participating into discussions and people with more analytical and observing approach.
The workshop brought out that RRI is seen as a potential framework for creating more society-oriented research by aligning outcomes of security research with the values and needs of society. RRI is believed to make research more trusted and justified by bringing advantage through openness, innovation and new ideas. Transparent dialogue and trust based relationship with various stakeholders could boost new business opportunities. For organisations RRI is seen to bring advantage by increasing the social acceptability of organisations and their outcomes. RRI is also seen to make laws more visible.
The workshop discussions also made it clear that the current state of RRI in the field of security is seen rather poor and abstract, lacking the needed monitoring and evaluation tools. RRI activities, such as the social lab workshop, are seen as positive actions in order to build more responsible and effective research and innovation. Sometimes RRI is seen as a burden because of the time and resources that need to be allocated for it and the costs it brings in the short term. RRI can also be experienced as a new extra term, which makes it hard to promote. In the security field, specific and required procedures and confidential nature of issues and information can decrease the interest towards RRI.
During the workshop, concrete pilot ideas were brainstormed to offer ideas for social experiments to overcome RRI related issues and reflect on the outcomes of those experiments to draw conclusions. The most far developed pilot idea during the workshop focused on capacity building of RRI in higher security education in Finland. The dialogue between the workshop participants and social lab managers is continuing after the event and two more workshops in the field of security research are following as the project goes forward.
Pilot action 1: Capacity building of RRI in higher security education
The on-going pilot “Capacity building of RRI in higher security education” targets to increase the knowledge and understanding of Responsible Research and Innovation by producing a coherent course materials for undergraduate degree students in the field of security in Finland. During the pilot we are also looking for interactive learning methods e.g. gamification, and hope to put these in actual testing.
Pilot Action 2: Developing a web-based RRI compass tool for SMEs, by which they can assess their performance against certain RRI principle
The pilot creates a toolkit for the development and promotion of RRI in AI SMEs, that could also be applied to other SME kinds too. The tool helps AI SMEs get a grip on the R&D, technical feasibility and commercial potential of their ground-breaking, innovative idea and develop it into a credible business reporting on the RRI.
Mika Nieminen, Principal Scientists, VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd
Social lab 13 manager
Janika Miettinen, Research Scientist, VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd
Social Lab 13 assistant
Veikko Ikonen, Senior Scientist, VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd
Social Lab 13 co-manager