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Grounding RRI Actions to Achieve Institutional Change in European Research Funding and Performing Organisations

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - GRACE (Grounding RRI Actions to Achieve Institutional Change in European Research Funding and Performing Organisations)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-03-31

GRACE is conceived to contribute to the effort of spreading and embedding RRI in the European Research Area (ERA). It creates a specific approach and environment for six RPFOs (hereinafter: implementing organizations = IOs) to attain a cluster of well-defined institutional changes through the implementation of a set of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) Grounding Actions (GAs) with visible short-term impacts during the timespan of GRACE. A selection of GAs is coordinated into specific 8-year ‘Roadmaps towards RRI’ for each consortium IO; using the first three years – the GRACE project - for paving the way for the attainment of further and more complex institutional changes in the medium- and long-term period.

The GRACE approach allows rapid institutional change in the frame of a specifically developed mutual learning process and a co-creation environment based on the support of co-operating organization that are experienced in RRI, specific RRI keys and/or institutional change.

The aim of the mutual learning process and co-creation approach is to facilitate a direct exchange among the project partners to learn from each other’s experiences. It provides skills on how to pursue institutional changes via inclusive participatory approaches, coping with resistances and obstacles, in a relatively rapid way.

GRACE also aims at evaluating the GAs in terms of their capacity to induce institutional changes and to open up to further mid/longer-term institutional changes on the basis of well-established evaluation categories (relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability) and by assessing the impacts of GAs on the basis of a set of indicators (MoRRI indicators and contribution to Sustainable Development Goals) as indicated in the topic. The Roadmaps towards RRI are analysed both in terms of actual and potential future impacts.

The efficient communication and dissemination of the project results is developed with the aim of open sharing with the RRI community and further interested stakeholders, enhancing the overall impact of the project.

In this context, GRACE interprets the role and significance of RRI. It strives to transfers the massage that implementing RRI in institutional governance approaches does not mean adding new tasks and duties to the ordinary research and innovation activities, but the availability of a new set of resources and opportunities to improve what is already there in a more inclusive way. GRACE pays attention to underline the context-sensitive approach of RRI as well via the self-tailored GAs and Roadmaps towards RRI, integrating an assessment process based on self-defined success criteria.
Over the first reporting period [M1-M15], GRACE focused on achieving the 7 well-defined, but overlapping project objectives:
Objective 1: Identify, design and implement a set of SMART Grounding Actions (GAs) with visible short-term impacts at six consortium RPFOs implementing organzations during the timespan of GRACE.
Objective 2: Integrate this selection of GAs into a specific 8-year ‘Roadmaps towards RRI’ for each consortium IO; using the first three years – the GRACE project - for paving the way for the attainment of further and more complex institutional changes in the medium- and long-term period, through a second and third ‘sets’ of GAs in the second part of the Roadmap (4 – 8 years).The roadmaps are living documents and may undergo changes any time during the lifetime of the projects.
Objective 3: Test and develop new partnerships. The process of identifying GAs and integrating them in 8-year roadmaps came hand-in-hand with the identification of key stakeholders (both current and foreseen, internal and external to the project) whose involvement is paramount not only to meeting the project objectives and the sustainability of its outputs, but also to favour the engagement of all societal actors as of the “quadruple helix” model (researchers, industry, policy makers and civil society) and their joint participation in the R&I process, in order to achieve institutional changes towards RRI.
Objective 4: Learn and capitalize from the GAs via the setting-up of a mutual-learning framework bringing together IOs and co-operating organisations, as well as IOs with IOs.
Objective 5: Evaluating and assessing the impacts of the GAs in terms of their capacity to induce institutional changes and to open up to further mid/longer-term institutional changes on the basis of well-established evaluation categories (relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability) and by assessing the impacts of GAs on the basis of a set of indicators (MoRRI indicators and contribution to Sustainable Development Goals) as indicated in the topic. The evaluation is two-fold, consisting of 1) a process evaluation and 2) an impact assessment.
Objective 6: Co-ordinating the actions and ensuring high-quality standards throughout the project by adequate management processes and clear description of roles in the partnership, online collaborative project platform, specifically developed quality assurance and risk management, data management plan and ethics requirements.
Objective 7: Sharing and exploiting the projects outputs is addressed with the active participation of all partners throughout the project.

In summary, during the 1st reporting period (M1-M15), the work focused on the setting up the project framework and processes, the formulation of the institutional ‘Roadmaps for RRI’ for the project implementing organizations including the detailed plan of the GAs to be carried out in the GRACE project period and the activation of the GAs’ implementation process.

All objectives are still ‘ongoing’.
• Seven autonomous guidance documents called ‘State-of-the-art review of documented experiences’ aimed to assist implementing organisations to acquire basic knowledge on RRI-related concepts and practices, both in general and for the single RRI keys
• A ‘Roadmap towards RRI’ framework
• A ‘Basic scheme for self-assessment’ for the use of the implementing organisations to make a preliminary self-assessment helping the definition and design of the Grounding Actions and the development of the first version of the 8-year ‘Roadmap towards RRI’
• Six concrete roadmaps towards RRI for the consortium implementing organisations with well-defined Grounding Actions and an implementation plan
• GRACE Mutual Learning Plan defining the approach, contents and activities of the mutual learning process. It includes the following sections: 1. Institutional framework; 2. Theoretical and methodological framework; 3. Substantive aspects; 4. Timesheet.
• Six ‘Roadmaps towards RRI’ for the six consortium IOs
• GRACE Evaluation Reflection Tool and guidance how to use it. The tool provides help to develop and elaborate GA ideas before setting the institutional ‘Roadmap towards RRI’ and commencing the implementation, as well as it is a tool to return to if in case changes to GAs need to be discussed or e.g.: further stakeholders are to be included in the process.
• GRACE Evaluation Scheme describes the purpose, theoretical anchoring, and methodological setup of the evaluation of the Grounding Actions. The evaluation consists of two parts; a process evaluation and an impact assessment.
• Evaluation and impact assessment reports (mid-term and final)
• Six ‘Roadmaps towards RRI’ for the six consortium IOs for 8 years with sustainability plan
GRACE project brochure for dissemination