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Ingenious Science shops to promote Participatory Innovation, Research and Equity in Science.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - InSPIRES (Ingenious Science shops to promote Participatory Innovation, Research and Equity in Science.)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-09-30

On the one hand, data shows that the majority of European citizens are not informed about the advances of Science and Technology. And it was shown that this situation affects the innovation performance at the national level. At the same time, experts agree on the fact that many societal challenges have not yet received enough attention from researchers, companies and government despite enormous potential for innovative solutions. On the other hand, Science Shops have been proposed to bridge the gap between Science and Society and to foster the design of inclusive and sustainable research and innovation projects in order to better respond to the “grand challenges” of our time. The Science Shops are intermediation structures that bring together civil society organizations (CSOs) and research institutions to encourage and foment scientific research that directly responds to societal concerns and needs expressed by citizens. Science Shops are based on a bottom-up approach and the concept of co-creation acknowledging that knowledges do not only reside within the communities of experts. Science Shops are powerful structures that connect different worlds and enable citizens to co-construct knowledge together with the scientific and innovation actors. InSPIRES will, during four years, invigorate Science Shops structures and projects and their cooperation among four continents through its eight international consortium partners, their respective networks, and its numerous experts participating in the international advisory board of the project. It represents a unique opportunity for bottom-up research and innovation, incorporating the views of civil actors to prioritize the research and innovation agendas. InSPIRES brings together practitioners and experts from across and beyond Europe to co-design, jointly pilot, implement and roll out innovative models for Science Shops. The InSPIRES models integrate Responsible Research and Innovation, Open Science and Impact Evaluation as part of their DNA in order to open the research process up in a more strategic way to civil society and other stakeholders. InSPIRES brings Science Cafés and other public engagement initiatives into its models together with a “glocal” international focus, for more inclusive, context relevant and culturally adapted community-based participatory research and innovation. InSPIRES outcomes will: a) give evidence and support political bodies and decision-makers, in order to propose changes in local, regional, national and international policies; b) nurture the debate about the place and role of society in science, c) support the development of new Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and Open Science (OSc) strategies and guidelines. The main goal of the 4-year InSPIRES project is to build effective cooperation between science and society by supporting the growth of Science Shops and enabling the expansion of responsible participatory research and innovation in Europe and abroad, in order to tackle key societal challenges that affect the world population.
The InSPIRES project has advanced its work on many different aspects throughout these 30 months. First of all, the consortium completed the baseline research. It has collected and systematized data on several international experiences on Science Shops and other similar research and innovations approaches. In total, 80 interviews to international experts were conducted and a systematic literature review on Science Shops performed. An online ideation process was also performed in order to invite the entire community to reflect on what elements could be added to the Science Shops models and projects in order to increase their positive impacts for civil society as a whole. This research work was completed by a several Delphi rounds and on-site research, and all these data combined together led to a first draft on the potential Science Shop 2.0 model framework aligned with RRI, Open Science and Impact Evaluation. InSPIRES consortium has advanced in consolidating the final theoretical framework for Transformative Science Shops and will now develop training materials to share with the community all the learning acquired throughout these months of research.

Another key achievement during this period is the consolidation of the InSPIRES Open Platform (OP). The OP is the integration of two initial separated tasks: the extensive database of Science Shops structure and the new impact evaluation. Indeed, the OP in on the one hand a repository featuring one section with Science Shops and similar units, and another one which their projects, and on the other, an online collaborative self-reflection and impact evaluation tool that can be used by anyone interested in integrated our evaluation approach into their research process. An important differential element is that the platform uses an automatized data analysis retrieving evaluation results in an fast and easy to understand format, with different types of vizualiation starting from a public with aggregated indicators to a more detailed private ones.

In terms of the implementation of the Science Shops units, the five new Science Shops structures have been consolidated during this period, and have now started new Science Shops projects. InSPIRES have organized several webinars featuring key speakers in the field. Another great achievement of WP4 is the launch of the Open Call and the award to six international projects.

InSPIRES partners also participated in several conferences, and most importantly conference covering different disciplines not used to this inclusive and integrative approach. Thanks to our website, and dissemination activities, our consortium have reach out to a significant number of stakeholders, mostly citizens, students, researchers.
InSPIRES is ambitious in its proposal and aim to build on and go beyond the state of the art established by previous key Science Shop European funded projects and initiatives (i.e. TRAMS, PERARES, Living Knowledge). InSPIRES wants to innovate and lead the way forward in the development of innovative Science Shop models 2.0 and methodologies to promote their use as gold standard for community based participatory research and innovation. InSPIRES project will co-create, co-pitot and co-implement at least 78 science shops to conduct research responding to requests expressed by society. The project will be structured to connect and actively collaborate with RRI stakeholders, at the local level but also across countries and continents in order to support the citizens’ “glocal” necessities. InSPIRES’ structure and outcomes will ensure that students, researchers and teaching staff transfer their knowledge and skills to their community and respective ecosystems, while ensuring their learning, teaching and research activities benefit from real-life cases and interactions. We expect to have results of evaluation by the third reporting period, which will represent unique data for the field. We hope to shed more light on the benefit of such approach for all the stakeholders involved.
credits: Ana Ferreira Cirigliano