On the 8th and 9th of July 2015 our Mikelangelo representative participated in the “Getting started!” workshop of the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) project (http://rri-ict.eu/). It took place in Brussels in the EGG, a modern post-industrial events location, which suited the interactive agenda of the workshop.
- engaging society more broadly with research and innovation activities (public engagement),
- facilitating the access to scientific results (open access),
- ensuring gender equality in both the research process and research content (gender dimension),
- taking account of the ethical dimension (ethical issues), and
- promoting formal and informal science education (education).
During the sessions that took place at this meeting, participants and organisers worked together on deepening and amplifying the meaning and understandings of each point above. Several team sessions allowed participants to first explore their roles in the RRI-SSH ecosystem and then elaborate on their thoughts on barriers and action points.
An important conclusive point of the sessions was that although emphasis is given on users’ engagement during the proposal stage, in fact few project give users the necessary importance to communication and cooperation with users during user requirements gathering and validation stages. Also, few user organisations are able to disseminate and share results of the projects in a meaningful way to fellow organisations and their target groups.
Another important factor is that discrimination avoidance should not be focused on gender only, but include age, disability and language differences. Mechanisms that allow EU projects to be more inclusive should be established.
On the ethical side, the quiet consciousness of each scientist was discussed and the importance of values in decision making.
The measurable impact has been characterised as the most desired result of all projects. Despite the importance business development and indicators tracking have been given in the latest H2020 programme, many projects are still lacking the means of quantifying impact in a meaningful way. That is both because many projects are designed to be executed as lab experiments, abstracted from society (eg basic research projects), but also because guidelines on how to connect company/ organisation level indicators with EU level indicators are missing.
In the end of the session the participants platform was presented. It includes a repository of people, organisations and documents, as well as an online forum where projects were prompted to continue discussing RRI issues.