An eco simulation game for children, a municipal project developing a food policy for the city of Milan, a British company promoting the employment of people with autism and a French programme tackling water challenges in the Acquitaine region. What do they all have in common? They are all examples of responsible research and innovation in practice.
These practices are described in a catalogue of good RRI practices from around Europe that has been put together by the EU RRI Tools project. The aim is to provide inspiration to others who work in research and innovation on how to put into practice one or more aspects vital to RRI. It is the first step towards building a living online RRI database.
The catalogue includes projects, tools, programmes and organisations that support a range of the RRI policy agendas, including Ethics, Gender, Governance, Open Access, Public Engagement, and Science Education, and the Societal Grand Challenges. The selection also involved evaluating the practices against a set of process requirements that R&I processes should fulfill to promote responsibility: Diversity and inclusion; Openness and transparency; Anticipation and reflection; and Responsiveness and adaptive change.
The practices were collected by the RRI Tools consortium, in which VA (Public & Science) manages the Swedish hub, during a consultation with stakeholders in R&I. A total of 31 practices were selected to be part of the catalogue, four of which are from Sweden. This includes VINNOVA’s funding programme Challenge-driven innovation; the Swedish company Praxikon that works to increase diversity in the computer games industry (Diversi); Mistra Urban Futures, a programme addressing sustainable urban development using a transdisciplinary approach; and Smedpack, a collaborative project developing security solutions to prevent counterfeit medicines entering the legal distribution chain.
As Karin Larsdotter, project manager of RRI Tools at VA, said: “We are very pleased that four Swedish examples have been selected for the catalogue, but not surprised, as they meet many of the RRI criteria.”
However, some criteria are addressed more than others. For example, ‘gender’ is focused on by only one fifth of the selected practices, whereas a large majority involve ‘public engagement’.
“More examples of good practice within ‘gender’ need to be developed and this is an area where Sweden can help more. We have excellent Swedish gender research as well as well-developed resources to work with gender issues,” said Karin Larsdotter.
The European Commission has recently published an expert group report on “Indicators for promoting and monitoring Responsible Research and Innovation”. The report recommends ‘open access’ developing into the broader and more ambitious concept of ‘open science’. According to the Commission open innovation and open science, which is partly about involving more actors in the innovation process, are key to bringing growth and jobs to Europe.