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Fostering a Transition towards Responsible Research and Innovation Systems

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FoTRRIS (Fostering a Transition towards Responsible Research and Innovation Systems)

Reporting period: 2016-10-01 to 2018-03-31

Though knowledge economies have access to vast amounts of scientific knowledge and technological know-how, the sustainability performance of knowledge economies leaves much to be desired. We currently lack the necessary knowledge to create a thorough understanding at the level of individuals and institutions of possible solutions for the sustainability challenges we are globally facing, although these changes will be so vast, so pervasive, and so influential that they require immediate policy and management interventions. The research and innovation system is therefore asked to reflect upon its role and position in society and to re-examine their course and goals.

Currently, we record an emerging paradigm, in which a successful interaction of science, technology and society depends on the cross-fertilisation of values, norms, experiences and expertise among all actors engaged with ecologically sustainable and socially just societal change, and hence on the ability to transcend disciplines, established research cultures and practices, and categorizations such as public–private and academic–non-academic. ‘Responsible research and innovation’ (RRI) was introduced as a new way to conceptualize this new relationship between science and society.

The main goal of FoTRRIS was to bring this co-creative and transdisciplinary way of doing research into practice. More precisely, FoTRRIS aimed for developing and introducing new governance practices to co-design transdisciplinary Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) project concepts that are attuned to local needs, values and opportunities, and that mobilize and connect local stakeholders.
This main goal can be translated into the following objectives:
- The development of a method to co-design co-RRI project concepts: This method guides a diversity of actors through a structured process consisting of a series of virtual (online) and real-life collaborative phases to co-create research projects that respond effectively, efficiently and in societally robust ways to local manifestations of global challenges.
- The establishment of co-RRI competence cells: The main goal of these competence cells is to foster and to upscale RRI practices in their regional and national research and innovation landscapes.
- Capacity building towards substantial co-RRI agendas: This entails a variety of activities aiming for, in the first place, awareness raising about the collaborative nature of RRI practices, and this from the very beginning of research and innovation trajectories, and with the ultimate goal of collaboratively developing substantial co-RRI agendas.
- conceptual framework: Based on the theoretical work on co-RRI performed during the FoTRRIS project and the insights gained through the empirical work in the experiments, a position paper has been written explaining the core principles of co-RRI (FoTRRIS website).

- co-RRI experiments: A series of workshops was organized in which actors from business, science, civil society and the policy world collaborated in a structured way to co-create a concept of a research project that responds effectively, efficiently and in societally robust ways to local manifestations of global challenges (glocal challenges).
(1) A booklet, called 'Cookbook: How to co-create co-RRI projects?'' (FoTRRIS website)
(2) Videos about the FoTRRIS objectives and experiments, and advise for those interested in setting up a new co-RRI trajectory. (FoTRRIS website)
(3) Project concepts.

- online co-creation platform: The development of a co-RRI web-based platform that supports RRI stakeholders to participate in co-RRI processes. The development of this platform has followed lean design principles, which implies an agile design process and user driven evolution. The platform has been designed to support the FoTRRIS methodology, but it is flexible to adapt to different workflows (i.e. different phases or workshops for defining a co-RRI project concept). This platform is a complementary tool to the development of the workshops. Its use is flexible, depending on the needs of the co-RRI hub or competence cell.
(1) Online collaboration tool (The co-RRI web-based platform is hosted at The software is distributed as open source at The Spanish competence cell, that is RRIIA, will invest in the maintenance and further evolution of the platform.)
(2) Leaflet 'How to use the FoTRRIS online platform?' (FoTRRIS website)

- alternative reward strategies: The development of alternatives in line with the co-RRI principles for the rewarding and compensation of researchers and other participants in R&I projects.
(1) An overview of possible alternatives, of which the knowledge vouchers, though still in a conceptual phase, are the most promising with regard to their future use. (The Flemish competence cell will invest in future research on the knowledge vouchers.)
(2) Game on alternative remuneration strategies in the field of research and innovation. (FoTRRIS website)

- competence cells: These are organisations, or well-defined parts of already existing organisations that will dedicate time and money to foster and upscale co-RRI activities.
(1) The establishment of 5 competence cells, one in Austria, Flanders, Hungary, Italy and Spain. Each of these competence cells can present a proper governance and activity model. The partner organisations committed themselves to further invest in the development of these cells.
(2) Leaflet 'How to set up a competence cell' and more elaborate guidelines. (FoTRRIS website)

- policy recommendations: The development of policy recommendations (21) addressing regional, national and European policy makers. The content of these recommendations is based on the insights gained and the lessons learned during the theoretical and empirical work performed during FoTRRIS, as well as the input received during interviews with third parties and other events organized by the FoTRRIS team. These recommendations will be disseminated the coming months among relevant actors in each of the partner countries.
- FoTRRIS will lower barriers to the implementation of RRI approaches by 1) establishing competence cells that will help interested actors to set up their own co-RRI trajectories, 2) providing a methodology, hands-on guidelines and videos explaining how to set-up co-RRI projects, and 3) providing an open-source, online platform that supports this kind of co-creative, transdisciplinary processes.
- By means of the competence cells, FoTRRIS creates new spaces entirely dedicated to RRI, and hence lays the foundation for structural change within the R&I landscape. New interactions and new ways of working together will be promoted. As expert places, the competence cells are expected to become meeting points between research and innovation practices and policy making.
- In the longer term, an adequate rewarding and compensation strategy will allow for a strong involvement of all kinds of actors, which was not possible before.
- FoTRRIS formed a network of competence cells, promoting standard definitions and practices of RRI across the EU. At the same time, as these competence cells will deal with ‘glocal’ challenges, they will promote a variety of actions at the local level for the global challenges European countries are facing.