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"European Intersectoral Summit on Research and Innovation -second edition- ""The Role of the Media in Responsible Research and Innovation"""

Final Report Summary - EISRI II (European Intersectoral Summit on Research and Innovation -second edition- "The Role of the Media in Responsible Research and Innovation")

Executive Summary:
EISRI II is a project organised under the auspices of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU. The project saw the organisation of the second edition of the European Intersectoral Summit on Research and Innovation in February 2013. The Summit was organised with the participation of the Irish Ministry for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the actors engaged in AC in Ireland (Trinity College Dublin, Irish Times). The outcomes of the Summit were developed in the dedicated report on “The Role of the Media in Responsible Research and Innovation”.

The EISRI 2013 edition focussed on the influence of communication and media on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and was designed to create a unique opportunity for intersectoral and interdisciplinary discussions between leading stakeholders to:
a. Continue the conversation initiated during the “Science in Dialogue” Conference held during the Danish presidency to develop a European model for Responsible Research and Innovation;
b. Explore the role of media in the European model for Responsible Research and Innovation;
c. Facilitate the formation of professional networks, knowledge sharing, and exchange of best practices;
d. Come up with concrete recommendations on what needs to be done in the short terms at a European level to reach the long term objectives;

The conference brought together over 250 delegates from research institutions, businesses, media, NGOs, policy makers and professional science communicators to discuss and reflect on the relationship between science and society.

EISRI II presented over 50 high-level speakers including former heads of state and key representatives of the European institutions and national governments as well as leaders from research institutions, businesses and media.

The project also included the launch of the pilot project “Special Initiative for Citizen Engagement in Science" (SPICES). The pilot project was developed with Der Standard, El País, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Il Sole 24 Ore and The Irish Times and was launched in 5 European countries (Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain) in April and May 2013. The outcomes of the initiative are developed in the dedicated report (see deliverables).

SpICES saw the participation of over fifty thousand Europeans who contributed with their opinions and concerns, responding to six questionnaires relating to the relationship between science and society as outlined in the framework for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) during the six weeks in which the questionnaires ran within the pages of the media partners engaged.

Questionnaires on science education, gender, ethics, open access, engagement and governance were launched to engage the public at large in debates on these questions and to understand the main needs and concerns of society. The questions were developed in collaboration with European institutions, journalists and the scientific world in order to include relevant themes, scientifically valid concerns and questions that could spark a real debate among the public at large.

The initiative aimed to assess how media can engage the public at large in a two-way dialogue about science-related issues in order to develop a more participatory way to develop science policy at European level. The results of the Initiative were submitted to the European Commission to contribute to the preparation of the topics for the first call of the Horizon 2020 proposals (notably the 'Engagement' part of the challenge 'Inclusive, Innovative and Secure Societies' in the Commission's proposal (former SiS))”.

The pilot project received a lot of positive feedback and has shown that novel ways of cooperation between policy makers, media and researchers can create active debates and conversations with citizens on important questions relating to the research agenda.

Project Context and Objectives:
“Citizens have a right - and are expected - to be involved in the crucial decisions of what their futures will look like and how science and technology can contribute to its betterment”

In 2012, the Danish Presidency hosted the Science in Dialogue Conference on participatory processes and frameworks enabling and enhancing the dialogue and interaction between academia and society. The conference aimed at building a European model for Responsible Research and Innovation. After the 2012 ESOF Conference in Dublin, further contacts with Irish authorities took place in order to prepare a Presidency Conference exploring another specific area of Responsible Research and Innovation: "The role of the media in Responsible Research and Innovation", including a focus on the use of social media.

The current economic challenges and the increased global competition have brought the focus on the importance of research and innovation for the future competitiveness of the European economy. The Europe 2020 Strategy of the European Union gives a central role to innovation for this purpose. The Innovation Union Flagship initiative supports this strategy through specific commitments and defines research and innovation as key drivers of competitiveness, jobs, sustainable growth and social progress.

The Lund Declaration (2009) states that European research must move beyond the thematic approach undertaken in previous framework programmes and focus on the so-called “Grand Challenges” of our time. The same point is stressed in the 2020 Vision for the European Research Area which states that “the European Research Area is firmly rooted in society and should be responsive to its needs and ambitions […]”.

This approach to research and innovation underlines the importance of engaging society as a whole in the research and innovation process in order to make full use of Europe’s intellectual capital to the benefit of citizens, entrepreneurs and scientists.

A strengthened dialogue and interaction between science and society is vital if science is to deliver on the solutions needed for addressing the major societal challenges. A mutual responsiveness between researchers, innovators and society at large must be an underlying mind-set and precondition Horizon 2020 as well as for other future European frameworks.

Horizon 2020, in fact, centres round the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) means “that societal actors (researchers, citizens, policy makers, businesses, civil society, …) work together during the whole research and innovation process in order to better align their processes and outcomes with the expectations of society”.

EISRI II focussed on the following elements that characterize Responsible Research and Innovation:
- engaging Societal actors in the research and innovation process, shaping governance for RRI and creating equal conditions for citizen's engagement;
- providing free access to publicly-funded scientific knowledge to all actors.

EISRI II assessed the role of the media for RRI starting from the six keys: engagement, gender equality, science education, open access, ethics and governance.

Media affect almost all aspects of contemporary life and they are inherent in defining key social and cultural processes thus affecting the fundamental choices of society. In a time when technology and innovation are being developed at an ever increasing speed and impinge upon society at large it is important to assess how to inform the public about the risks and benefits of new technologies and how to inform policy makers about societal evolution and opinions.

In fact Horizon 2020, through the RRI framework, underline that the grand challenges will have better chance of being tackled if all societal actors are fully engaged in to co-construction of innovative solutions, products and services. The importance of transdisciplinary conversations and collaboration is a key element of this exercise.

New media are changing the relationship and behaviour of audiences. How can these new means of communication increase the trust with the public at large? How can new media be developed as a constructive and interactive channel between different stakeholders and the public?

Poor insight into the importance of good and transparent communication with the public has had disastrous effects for the acceptability and acceptance of certain new technologies and innovations.

It is clear that media and communication, broadly conceived, play a central role in shaping the opinion and attitude of society. It is therefore equally important that the key stakeholders – research institutions, industry, media and policy makers – make sure that they correctly address the question of authoritative communication of (and on) research and innovation to citizens.

The development of a coherent vision for better research communication in Europe will require choices – and these are not trivial. To set the priorities in a responsible manner, it is important to not only take into account the institutional and organizational diversity of the relevant stakeholders, but also to acknowledge the diverging needs of a wide variety of actors.

Thus, the main objectives of EISRI II were, on the one hand to bring together key representatives from the different stakeholders of the debate, to discuss the questions raised above and on the other hand to launch a pilot project, SpICES, to evaluate how traditional media can support the dialogue between policy makers and the public at large through the use of new media tools.

EISRI II Summit

The EISRI II Conference aimed to foster “out of the box” thinking and different formats that encourage interdisciplinary and intersectoral conversations.

The conference brought together over 250 delegates from research institutions, businesses, media, NGOs, policy makers and professional science communicators to discuss and reflect on the relationship between science and society.

EISRI II presented over 50 high-level speakers including former heads of state and key representatives of the European institutions and national governments as well as leaders from research institutions, businesses and media.

The objectives of the conference, as outlined in the project proposal were:
a. Continue the conversation initiated during the “Science in Dialogue” Conference held during the Danish presidency to develop a European model for Responsible Research and Innovation;
b. Explore the role of media in the European model for Responsible Research and Innovation;
c. Facilitate the formation of professional networks, knowledge sharing, and exchange of best practices;
d. Come up with concrete recommendations on what needs to be done in the short terms at a European level to reach the long term objectives;

The discussions at the summit were built around 4 plenary sessions and 8 breakout session looking more in detail to the different RRI keys. The discussions proved very productive in creating transdisciplinary collaborations and sharing of best practices. The results of these discussions are outlined in the Report on the Summit.

SpICES

The objective of the pilot project was to run an awareness campaign about the main issues and priorities of Horizon 2020 with some of the leading mainstream media in Europe (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany), Il Sole 24 Ore (Italy), Der Standard (Austria), El Pais (Spain), The Irish Times (Ireland)) including a dedicated online section to allow the public at large to state their opinions and priorities for Horizon 2020.

Starting from September 2012 a study was done to outline key priorities and issues to bring to the attention of the public at large limited to the “Engagement” part of the challenge “Inclusive, Innovative and Secure Societies”. The initial list of issues and set-up of the awareness campaign and questions were then developed together with the Editorial Committee of the project, the Quality Reference Group, Atomium Culture and the European Commission.

SpICES saw the participation of over fifty thousand Europeans who contributed with their opinions and concerns, responding to six questionnaires relating to the relationship between science and society as outlined in the framework for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) during the six weeks in which the questionnaires ran within the pages of the media partners engaged.

Questionnaires on science education, gender, ethics, open access, engagement and governance were launched to engage the public at large in debates on these questions and to understand the main needs and concerns of society. The questions were developed in collaboration with European institutions, journalists and the scientific world in order to include relevant themes, scientifically valid concerns and questions that could spark a real debate among the public at large.

The initiative aimed to assess how media can engage the public at large in a two-way dialogue about science-related issues in order to develop a more participatory way to develop science policy at European level. The results of the Initiative were submitted to the European Commission to contribute to the preparation of the topics for the first call of the Horizon 2020 proposals (notably the 'Engagement' part of the challenge 'Inclusive, Innovative and Secure Societies' in the Commission's proposal (former SiS))”.

The pilot project received a lot of positive feedback and has shown that novel ways of cooperation between policy makers, media and researchers can create active debates and conversations with citizens on important questions relating to the research agenda.

Project Results:
EISRI II is a coordination and support actions (Supporting) CSASA and as thus did not do any research itself. The project aim were to organise a European summit on the Role of the Media in Responsible Research and Innovation and to develop and run a pilot project on citizen engagement in science. Both these tasks were developed and delivered successfully and the outcomes of the discussions of the event, and the results of the special initiative are outlined and examined in two separate reports available on the website of Atomium Culture (www.atomiumculture.eu).

The results will be used by Atomium Culture and other European and national organisations in developing the activities and aims as set out by RRI. The reports are public and are thus available to anyone who is interested.
Potential Impact:
EISRI II aimed to be a key milestone of the eighteen months programme on “Changing Media: Communication and Science in Society” that AC launched in March 2012. This programme brings together key representatives from academia, media, industry, civil society and policy makers to clearly outline key issues and opportunities in the current media environment.

EISRI II aimed to start a structured European reflection on the role and responsibilities of the media in the EU model of Responsible Research and Innovation.

The EISRI Summit aimed discuss how to be able to move away from the horizontalisation of information in order to guarantee authoritativeness and reliability of scientific information and coverage by media (both traditional and new) thus raising the quality standards of responsible reporting on science, technology and innovation.

The Irish Presidency Conference was be instrumental in preparing the first 2014 Work Programmes of Horizon 2020 (notably the 'Engagement' part of the challenge 'Inclusive, Innovative and Secure Societies' in the Commission's proposal (former SiS)).
EISRI II further aimed to develop clear views to support the shaping of the European Research Area and to create particular workshops and sessions in order to prepare the participants to the HORIZON 2020 calls for proposals.

Throughout the project AC coordinated the media engaged in the platform -who together reach around ten million readers per day- in advance and in real time, to arrive at a joint and simultaneous coordination in Europe for the dissemination of the main outcomes of the Summit; outcomes that take account of the different views of the main stakeholders of this issue giving an informed opinion and a pro-active way to move forward.

By bringing together and engaging so many different actors from so many different countries the EISRI Summit continued the conversation initiated during the “Science in Dialogue” Conference held during the Danish presidency to develop a European model for Responsible Research and Innovation; explored the role of media in the European model for Responsible Research and Innovation; facilitated the formation of professional networks, knowledge sharing, and exchange of best practices; and came up with concrete recommendations on what needs to be done in the short terms at a European level to reach the long term objectives.

All the above results can be seen in the final report on The Role of the Media in Responsible Research and Innovation that Atomium Culture is publishing and that will be distributed across Europe in the coming years.

The report does not only bring together the thoughts and outcomes of the discussions. It highlights practical recommendations and showcases best practices presented at the summit. This report aims to be a guide for actors willing to engage more in media activities in relation to responsible research and innovation.

This report will be useful in continuing the discussion on RRI and in highlighting some key aspects that can be developed by different actors at different levels. Whether long-term European or national strategies, medium-term projects for actors active in the research and innovation fields, or very immediate actions that single individuals can undertake to improve.

The report also showcases some of the most innovative and successful best practices in this area and AC will ensure that these will be disseminated across Europe in order to increase collaborations and the dissemination of best practices.

Further, through the SpICES pilot project AC aimed to launch a concrete project to concretely address the issues and create more awareness with the public at large. SpICES was designed as a creative and innovative way to address the issue of participatory democracy by working together with leading traditional media, who today have some of the most respected and followed online media coverage.

Not only was the pilot project successful in itself, seeing the active participation of over fifty thousand users in only six weeks. The results and evaluation of this project is presented in a report that was developed that will show case this best practice.

The results of the pilot project were submitted to the European Commission to support as a contribution to the preparation of the topics of the first call for proposals of Horizon 2020 (notably the ‘Engagement’ part of the challenge ‘Inclusive, Innovative and Secure Societies’ in the Commission’s proposal (former SiS))”.

Currently AC and the media partners engaged in this pilot are looking forward to further develop this concept and to continue this very successful project.

The methodology used can be applied to a variety of different fields and can be used by policy makers at different levels in order to engage responsibly and with the authority of leading traditional media with the public at large on issues of concern.

In the near future AC is examining how to launch a second edition of this project and understanding how to best learn from the experience of the pilot. In light of the significant positive feedback received by differed parties and actors AC remains positive that this pilot will have significant developments and be seen as a European best practice in participatory democracy.

Throughout 2013-2014 AC and the other actors involved in EISRI II will be disseminating the results of the work done through a variety of channels:
- Targeted meetings with key people;
- Brainstorming sessions to further discuss key issues;
- Oral presentations at internal and external conferences;
- Roadshow to meet with the relevant representative of the governments of the member states in order to present the results;
- Use of new media tools.

To find more information about the Special Initiative and to access the platform please see:
www.atomiumculture.eu/content/about

Contact details:

Project coordinator:
Erika Widegren
Executive Director

Atomium Culture
4, Rue Louis Hymans
1050 Brussels
Belgium

T. +32 2 8887010
F. +32 2 8887011
email. atomiumculture@atomiumculture.eu

www.atomiumculture.eu