Skip to main content

Enhancing Responsible Research and Innovation through Curricula in Higher Education (EnRRICH)

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EnRRICH (Enhancing Responsible Research and Innovation through Curricula in Higher Education (EnRRICH))

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2018-03-31

The EnRRICH project was developed to help embed RRI in higher education curricula. The focus therefore was to build the capacity of students and staff in higher education with a goal of developing their knowledge, skills and attitudes for RRI. Using the expertise of Science Shops the project focused on responding to the research needs of society as expressed by civil society organisations (CSOs). The first stage of the project identified a range of promising practices where elements of RRI were already embedded in academic curricula from different countries and disciplinary areas. Based on these practices, the first definition of RRI in academic curricula and a tool were developed to help educators (re)design curricula for RRI. Using this scoping for inspiration, project partners then implemented pilots where they trialled methods of embedding RRI in curricula in their own institutions. This trialing of teaching strategies and supporting of new Science Shops resulted in over 120 pilots. During these pilots, almost 6000 students participated through academic curricula with 230 CSOs. In total, 79 courses or programmes were delivered across 10 institutions in diverse disciplines. Learning from these pilots has been shared via www.enrrich.eu. Three new Science Shops were also established in Hungary, Lithuania and Spain, and support was provided for fledgling Science Shops outside the project. Policy Case Studies were undertaken which involved interviewing higher education policymakers in Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the UK. In addition, two policy roundtables were held, the second of which was held at the European Parliament, engaging key European and international policymakers. Policy briefs were produced which highlighted links between RRI and teaching and learning policy priorities.

EnRRICH concluded that engaging students in research with CSOs is vital to build capacity for the participation of citizens in research agendas. The interim evaluation of H2020 identified a need for innovation, collaboration and more impact through mission-orientation and citizen involvement in the FP. EnRRICH has demonstrated that embedding RRI in academic curricula can make a significant contribution to addressing this need. It has also concluded that the role of mediation mechanisms such as Science Shops is vital in supporting the work of educators and the participation of CSOs in RRI processes. RRI in higher education curricula and Science Shops are important in that they can help Europe respond to urgent problems by up-skilling early stage researchers in societal engagement and impact. Building higher education curricula to develop the capacity of young people to be engaged, collaborative, innovative and disruptive as both researchers and citizens is vital in helping to solve societal problems and address Sustainable Development Goals. Additionally, doing RRI through curricula helps build citizen involvement by engaging CSOs in research processes through student projects. This builds research capacity in CSOs, responds to their research questions and puts their concerns on the agenda of future researchers and academic staff, whilst producing impact through the research outputs and creating social change. There is an appetite amongst both educators and policymakers for further development of RRI in academic curricula, and the EnRRICH consortium has concluded that this is an area where further investment would reap significant results.
In the initial project stages, the Consortium consulted with stakeholders including educators, CSOs and policymakers. From this, it developed, workshopped and piloted a definition of RRI in higher education curricula, linked to the RRI Process Requirements. The EnRRICH Tool was developed to help educators (re)design curricula for RRI. This was based on scoping where partners examined curricula in their own institutions to find Promising Practices - available on the website. Many PPs were drawn from the work of Science Shops which were the backbone of the Consortium. Highlights include the development of a 15 credit module for teaching community based participatory research to PhD students, which is now embedded in one partner institution. 9 case studies offering examples of deep interventions have also been shared on the website. A Science Shop Community of Practice was also established and deliverables were produced to support new and emerging Science Shops. There has also been a strong focus on sharing learning amongst the consortium and the international Advisory Board. Virtually all deliverable reports were shared and workshopped amongst the consortium and AB and several virtual consortium meeting were added to facilitate the sharing of learning. Case studies and new Science Shops were peer evaluated as part of project and learning from this exercise was shared amongst peer evaluators. Workshops were held to develop indicators for peer evaluation and deliverables were workshopped and developed collaboratively in order to share learning.
At the beginning of the project, RRI was not very well known amongst CSOs, students, educators or policymakers. During the project, almost 6000 students participated in RRI through academic curricula with 230 civil society organisation partners. In total, 79 courses or programmes were delivered across 10 institutions. In addition, 18 meetings were held with policymakers to discuss RRI in curricula and changes have been directly integrated into 10 institutional or national policy documents as a result of these meetings. A peer review publication was produced which was downloaded 2,300 times in 5 months. Three new Science Shops have been established in Hungary, Lithuania and Spain, and 9 existing Science Shops have been supported to develop their practices. All of these will be maintained and developed further after the life of the project.

Resources have been produced to develop RRI in academic curricula and the EnRRICH website and will be maintained in the long term on www.livingknowledge.org. Care was taken to ensure that resources produced were useful to the relevant target audience. Resources produced to help educators who are interested in including RRI in their own curricula include a definition of RRI in higher education curricula and a peer reviewed academic paper to begin to build an academic bedrock in the teaching and learning world. The EnRRICH Tool offers a language for developing learning objectives whilst the case studies and promising practices give real practical applied examples of where RRI has been embedded. Resources were also produced for new and emerging Science Shops including a report on examining Science Shops as mechanisms for introducing RRI in higher education curricula and a promotional leaflet. The evaluation reports provide feedback on the learning from these pilots as do the deliverable reports from the piloting workpackage. The project also produced policy briefs designed to help articulate a case to policymakers for the inclusion of RRI in academic curricula. These briefs were workshopped and discussed with stakeholders ahead of publication and have already been used. Lastly the EnRRICH consortium has been very active in using conferences to engage with a wide range of stakeholders. Besides the project conference which attracted 230 attendees from across stakeholder groups, partners attended over 50 conferences and events.