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Innovative interactive tools to facilitate further cooperation on responsible research and innovation

An EU-funded project has developed two interactive online tools to assist in the dissemination of best practices for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).

During the ‘RRI: Shaping New Horizons’ conference that was held on 14 and 15 January 2016 in Brussels, the RESPONSIBILITY project presented its key successes, including how it has created a virtual Observatory and Forum that facilitates the adoption and diffusion of a common understanding of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) across the globe. As a reference framework, the project partners began by asking themselves two key questions: What are the benefits of an RRI community and, most crucially, how can an RRI community be built most effectively and with the most added value for stakeholders? In order to begin answering these questions, the project started in its early phase to collect and disseminate best practices, amass a number of applicable case studies, and begin building a network of scientists to strengthen collaboration on RRI issues in many interdisciplinary fields. From here, the project was able to begin putting in motion the creation process for its two key aims: the construction of the Forum and Observatory. The RESPONSIBILITY Forum The RESPONSIBILITY Forum is an online tool that is self-regulated, transparent, remote and open to all interested stakeholders. The main objective of the Forum is to be an interface between many different actors interested in RRI, including researchers, policy makers, civil society and industry representatives and CSOs. The Forum will also prepare RRI outcomes that are relevant to both political actors and industry. However, the Forum is conceived not to be just a simple talking shop for RRI stakeholders. The project has also envisioned it will allow participants to actively advertise for new RRI projects, submit new calls for applications, post job vacancies, new funding sources, and publicise calls for partnerships in new projects. “The aim for the project is to provide an incentive for users to visit the site, and subsequently raise its profile amongst RRI-interested stakeholders,” commented project team member, Mohamad Ajami. Discussions that take place in the Forum, and their outcomes, are then planned to provide the necessary content for the project’s second tool, the Observatory. The RESPONSIBILITY Observatory The RESPONSIBILITY Observatory of Responsible Research and Innovation will be established as a permanent point of reference and actual fore-thinking with regards to the current concept of, and developments in, the field of RRI. With RRI evolving rapidly as a concept due to new technologies and changing attitudes, the Observatory is designed to be a single repository for RRI literature, projects and initiatives that already exist. The tool uses an in-built search engine that will allow users to obtain an overview of the most read and most linked documents. Entries into the database are also tagged and archived in a manner which meets the needs of particular RRI actors. Like the Forum, the Observatory is also meant to have an interactive element, so it is designed to allow any interested stakeholder to upload and / or discuss a particular RRI topic or discussion. The Observatory will also allow researchers to identify areas in need of more detailed research, and it will identify where public engagement on particular issues might be relevant. “What makes the tool so special is that it doesn’t just provide an observatory for the RRI community, but it also takes advantage of the RRI community itself – it uses the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ as a virtual place to clarify, develop, and discuss the concept of RRI,” project coordinator Dr. Aki Zaharya Menevidis said. The Forum and Observatory tools developed by RESPONSIBILITY will act as crucial lynchpins over the coming years in furthering the development and dissemination of RRI principles and practices across both the policy and scientific and research fields. For further information please see: RESPONSIBILITY project website

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