Do more to address citizens’ needs and involve them in the research and innovation process. Include the humanities and social sciences more in Horizon 2020 calls. These are two of the recommendations put forward by VA (Public & Science) in response to the European Commission’s public stakeholder consultation, which forms part of the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020. Responses to the questionnaire will help the Commission improve its implementation of H2020 and inform EU research and innovation funding post-2020.
Overall, VA views Horizon 2020 as a good vehicle for supporting research and innovation and promoting international and trans disciplinary cooperation across Europe. In particular, VA stresses that the SwafS programme and the RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation) approach are very valuable for supporting science-society interaction as well as for increasing our understanding of how EU citizens perceive and interact with scientifically based information and outcomes. It also views the societal challenge based approach as positive.
Although VA believes that Horizon 2020 is helping to strengthen cooperation between academia and other societal actors, it would like to see more focus on citizens’ needs and for them to be more involved in research and innovation.
With regards to a possible successor programme, VA sees a clear need for a dedicated SwafS programme and for efforts to mainstream RRI to be increased. It also suggests that RRI aspects should be explicitly evaluated as part of the impact assessment. VA also calls for more support for evaluators and applicants on how to implement and evaluate RRI.
“H2020 offers an excellent platform for sharing knowledge and expertise, as well as developing new partnerships at a European level,” said Cissi Askwall, Secretary General of VA (Public & Science).
She attended a hearing organised by the Swedish Ministry of Education and Research in January 2017 where stakeholders were invited to give input for the preparations of the next EU framework programme.
“I truly appreciated the opportunity and stressed that confidence for researchers and willingness to invest in research cannot be taken for granted. To be able to run a substantial FP9, the EU must better understand and monitor how citizens view science and use research-based knowledge, and this can be done through keeping the Science with and for Society programme,” said Cissi.
Her message was that citizens and different societal actors must be increasingly engaged and involved in research and innovation, something that should be addressed throughout the next framework programme.