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

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - InSPIRES (Ingenious Science shops to promote Participatory Innovation, Research and Equity in Science.)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2021-06-30

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. 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. 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 have invigorated the Science Shop concept through cooperation among four continents and its eight international consortium partners, their respective networks, and its numerous experts participating in the international advisory board of the project. InSPIRES brought 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 have integrated 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 also brought 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 have contributed to: a) give evidence and support political bodies and decision-makers, in order to propose changes in local, regional, national and international policies; b) nurtured the debate about the place and role of society in science, c) supported 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 was 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. For that purpose, the project developed the InSPIRES Open Platform, an open repository of intermediation structures such as Science Shops, and their respective projects. It also features an eLearning course containing six modules on Science Shops and participatory research, and finally it integrated a monitoring and impact evaluation methodology and online tool which automatically create evaluation report and restitute through quantitative indicators and qualitative data showing the impacts of such multi-stakeholders processes on all the different actors involved.
The InSPIRES project has completed all the proposed tasks proposed under 7 WPs. 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 Transformative Framework for Science Shop Process aligned with RRI, Open Science and Impact Evaluation. Based on the framework, InSPIRES consortium developed training materials to share with the community all the learning acquired throughout these months of research. The eLearning course was developed in collaboration with all the partners, thereby showing great diversity of implementation for Science Shop project. It features six modules and is openly and freely available to the community, and this in many different languages. 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 newly developed monitoring and impact evaluation methodology. The OP is now (1) a open repository featuring Science Shops and similar units and projects, (2) an online collaborative self-reflection and impact evaluation methodology and tool producing real-time evaluation report with three different level of visualization and (3) en eLearning course containing six different modules. InSPIRES finishes the project with 8 well established Science Shops and have conducted in total 123 Science Shop projects, as well as having piloted the evaluation methodology and tool on 58 projects. The project have organized many webinars featuring key speakers in the field, and participated in numerous conferences covering disciplines not used to this inclusive and integrative approach. Another great achievement is the Open Call and the award to six international projects located in diverse locations such as Southern America and Africa to spread the practices of Science Shop and community-based participatory research. Thanks to our website, the OP, and dissemination activities, our consortium have reach out to a significant number of stakeholders, mostly citizens, students, researchers.
InSPIRES has achieved to build on and go beyond the state of the art established by previous key Science Shop European funded projects (i.e. TRAMS, PERARES, Living Knowledge). InSPIRES led the way forward in the development of innovative Science Shop offering a Framework for Transformative Science Shop process to promote their use as gold standard for community based participatory research and innovation. InSPIRES project co-created, co-pitoted and co-implemented 123 science shops throughout the 51 months of project. The project actively collaborated with RRI stakeholders, at the local level but also across countries and continents in order to support the citizens’ “glocal” necessities through Transdisciplinary and transnational projects. InSPIRES have ensured that civil society members, students, researchers and teaching staff involved in the project acquired but also transferred their knowledge, skills and attitudes towards each others for more resilient ecosystems. Thanks to the ground-breaking evaluation data collected by the 58 projects piloted on the Open Platform, InSPIRES empirically demonstrates the benefits of such approach for all the stakeholders involved.
credits: Ana Ferreira Cirigliano