ORION Open Science was an EU-funded Horizon 2020 project exploring ways in which research and funding organisations in life sciences and biomedicine can open up the way they fund, organise and do research. VA (Public & Science) was one of the nine partners in the project that ran from May 2017 to September 2021.

The EU ORION Open Science project involved a wide range of benchmarking, co-creation and training activities designed to test different ways to involve the public and other stakeholders in the research process. The long-term vision was to embed Open Science and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) principles in Research and performing organisations, in their policies, practices and processes.

ORION Resources

On the ORION website you can find a range of tools and resources to support open science and RRI practices, which have been developed and tested during the project. These include:

  • ORION Inspiring Stories – containing 12 stories that highlight successes and learnings from activities conducted during the project

Tools for Co-creation and engagement

  • Menu of Co-creation Tools – an overview of 31 participatory methods that can be used to involve different stakeholders in the research process.
  • Public dialogues – how to guide on how to run a public dialogue as a tool for promoting open science plus detailed reports on the results of public dialogues on genome editing run in four countries (Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany and the UK).
  • Innovative examples of citizen science and educational games – such as the ORION Genigma game and ORION Virus Fighter game, SMOVE and Meltic (Ideas MELting pot for TIC and Health Science for Citizens in Small communities).
  • An arts residency and exhibition designed to promote discussion around the use of genome editing.

Public attitudes to life sciences research in six European countries – results of an ORION survey investigating the motivations for citizens’ involvement in life sciences research.

Training resources

  • ORION Open Science podcast – a series of interviews with interesting guests on a variety of topics related to Open Science, such as data sharing, citizen science, peer review and professional development.
  • ORION Open Source MOOC for the life sciences –  free online training course on different aspects of Open Science that allows researchers to gain a certificate in Open Science.
  • ORION Case Studies for Training – three case studies for use in short workshops to stimulate discussion about open science principles and practical actions. 
  • ORION E-learning platform – four lessons on different aspects of Open Science available in English and Czech
  • Open Science Researcher Checklist – for researchers to assess where they can make changes to open science practices in their day-to-day research.

ORION Open Science Factsheets 15 brief, informative, and easy-to-understand one-page factsheets on Open Science topics: 1. Biohacking and DIYBio Research 2. Career Benefits of Open Science 3. Citizen science. 4. Commercialisation of Research 5. Communicating Animal Research 6. Crowd Science 7. Research Data Management 8. Open Access 9. Open Research Data 10. Open Source and Software 1 Pre-Registration 12. Predatory Journals 13. Preprints 14. Public Engagement 15. Reproducibility.


Funding and embedding Open Science

Institutional Open Science Action plans – developed by ORION partners.

ORION final conference on 27-28 September 2021 – where ways to incorporate open science in guidelines and strategies at institutional, national and EU level, were discussed together with representatives of national and international organisation.

Awards and funding models – including the RRI Health Awards (and How to guide) and regional calls for young researchers and collaborations.

VA’s role

VA has been involved in many aspects of the project, including running co-creation experiments, such as the public dialogue held in Sweden, and undertaking a survey to investigate public attitudes to life science research involving 6,000 people from six countries. VA led the Communications & Dissemination work for the project plus organised a range of international workshops and events, including the ORION final conference.

Project consortium:


If you would like to find out about ORION, please contact Maria Hagardt International Relations & Communications Manager at VA.

ORION is also on Twitter: @orion_opensci, on Facebook and you can read more about the project on the ORION website.


Read the latest articles about ORION:

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The journey towards Open Science has only just begun

Public dialogues, citizen science, game development and co-creation activities. For 4.5 years, VA (Public & Science) together with 8 European partners has been testing different ways to involve the public and other stakeholders in the research process. The aim of the EU ORION Open Science project was to investigate how research and funding organisations can ”open up” the way they fund and do research.

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Engage the public in science through dialogue and co-creation – top tips and tricks

Global societal challenges together with growing public interest in science present both opportunities and challenges for the research world. Open Science is a way to ensure that citizens are involved in research, and that the views of different stakeholders are taken into consideration. How science communication practitioners, researchers, policy makers and research funding bodies can engage successfully with the public, and ensure that their values and interests are taken into account, was showcased and discussed at an international workshop on 25 June 2021.

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VA at ESOF 2020 – ensuring dialogue between science and society in challenging times

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, dialogue between science and society is more important than ever. This year’s EuroScience Open Forum, a hybrid of in-person and online events held 2-6 September, provided a key international platform to discuss and share experiences on issues such as communicating scientific uncertainty and maintaining public trust in science.

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Understanding the different motivations behind citizens’ involvement in life sciences research

In order to engage the public in science and design effective citizen science projects, it is important to understand the main motivations that drive individuals to engage in research. A pan-European study by the EU ORION Open Science project has revealed gender and age differences when it comes to the reasons that motivate members of the public to get involved in life sciences research.

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Let’s talk about genome editing!

What does the public think about the new genome editing technology and how should we talk about it? In Sweden and three other European countries, the EU project ORION Open Science has organised eight citizen dialogues to find out. Here we report on the two Swedish citizen dialogues held during January and February in Stockholm.

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