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‘The time has come for responsible research and innovation (RRI) in ICT’

Speaking at the recent CAPS2015 conference, Anthony Dupont from RRI-ICT FORUM described how the project is working to analyse, support and promote responsible research and innovation.

The European Commission’s Digital Agenda has put progress in digital technology front and centre of the EU vision for rebooting the economy. ICT research and innovation (R&I) is certainly surging forward at speed, but what are the boundaries and rules in this brave new world? And who makes the decisions? The EU-funded RRI-ICT FORUM project says R&I in ICT is too serious a thing to be left to ICT researchers alone, and that the time has come for responsible research and innovation (RRI). RRI has been defined by the Commission as an inclusive approach to R&I, aligning the process and outcomes of R&I with the values, needs, and expectations of our societies. Analysing, supporting and promoting this type of R&I in ICT is the prime focus of the RRI-ICT FORUM project. At the recent CAPS2015 conference, Anthony Dupont from RRI-ICT FORUM project coordinator Sigma Orionis took to the stage to discuss the project’s work. ‘The core idea behind RRI,’ Dupont noted, ‘is that with ICT innovation having profound effects on our world, the whole of society should take part in the process.’ This means that R&I projects move away from being arena of experts in the ‘hard sciences’ only – and open up to the social sciences and humanities (SSH), as well as citizens and civil society organisations who can offer different perspectives and creativity, and foster more socially relevant outcomes. Other important dimensions of RRI include encouraging open access, promoting science education, ensuring gender equality and ethical standards. RRI-ICT FORUM, which launched at the beginning of this year, serves as a hub between the different actors involved in innovation including projects, scientists, the European Commission and other stakeholders. The team has its sights set on Horizon 2020 and is working in particular to foster the social sciences and humanities contribution and the RRI approach in ICT under the programme. Also in the context of Horizon 2020, the team seeks to curate the domain of RRI, empowering other projects and the European Commission to adopt the approach. In order to encourage networking, the team will organise annual events for stakeholders to meet and exchange views. The first project event took place in Brussels in early July under the theme ‘RRI & SSH in ICT-related projects of H2020 - Getting started!’. Online networking and learning is also now possible through the RRI-ICT Platform which was released on 8 July. The platform allows users to connect to peers and find out who does what in the RRI-ICT domain; find potential partners and access and share information, best practices and toolkits on the subject. According to Dupont, the platform will serve as a place where the RRI community can gather and find solutions together. ‘Let’s make this change happen working from inside the system,’ he concluded. For further information, please visit: RRI-ICT Forum http://rri-ict.eu/

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