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Open Responsible research and Innovation to further Outstanding kNowledge.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ORION (Open Responsible research and Innovation to further Outstanding kNowledge.)

Reporting period: 2017-05-01 to 2018-07-31

The ORION project focuses on triggering evidence-based institutional, cultural and behavioural changes in Research Funding and Performing Organizations (RFPOs), targeting researchers, management staff and high-level leadership. Our long term vision is to “embed” Open Science and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) principles (ethics, gender, governance, open access, public engagement, and science education) in RFPOs, in their policies, practices and processes to organize and do research. To achieve this, we will co-design and perform “co-creation experiments” with different groupings of RRI actors.
Our experiments will tackle three specific challenges of Open Science:
1. Opening up the research engine: research is everywhere and affects almost everybody - how can RFPOs become more “porous” to receiving input from a multitude of stakeholders?
2. Identifying risks and opportunities presented by disruptive technologies: technologies such as genome editing are revolutionising the way we can edit our genomes “a la carte”. What risks and opportunities do these emerging technologies present to society? We will explore this from a range of perspectives by engaging with multiple stakeholders – researchers, funders, patient associations, industry, and legal and ethical experts.
3. Running multi-stakeholder projects in fundamental research: Citizen science (CS) allows integration of citizens in scientific projects with mutual benefit for scientists and other stakeholders. We would like to take the challenge of citizen science a step further and use this approach in fundamental research in life sciences and biomedicine, areas not yet well explored with CS projects.
By designing and implementing the experiments together with different actors, we will apply the RRI principles to reflect on the scientific process and governance. We will use these challenges as case studies to try out different co-design/co-creation methods, and engage unusual blends of actors, e.g. funders and citizens, or researchers, industry and citizens. We will identify drivers and barriers, interests and values, and in some cases produce “prototypes”, in the format of new projects, new research and funding frameworks, and perhaps even products.
We will also generate new training programmes and modules, targeting young researchers, established scientists and professionals working in funding agencies, to raise knowledge about Open Science and RRI principles and practices, therefore enriching the current portfolio.
The consortium counts on the participation of six RFPOs in four European countries: four research institutes (CRG, MU/CEITEC, MDC and BI) and two funders (ISCIII and JCMM). They collaborate with other ORION partners, including two civil society organizations (VA, ANT) and a group focusing on social sciences and evaluation (UAB/CRECIM).
During this first reporting period (15 months), the project kick-started its main activities in the different work packages (WPs) along the outlined objectives, engaging the ORION partners, fostering internal and external collaborations, reaching out different stakeholders, and implementing an efficient management framework (WP1).
Within WP2, we first carried out 1) an extensive assessment exercise on Open Science awareness, knowledge and practice in the participating RFPOs (UAB/CRECIM) and 2) an open consultation about perception of Open Science and life sciences among citizens in the six European countries represented in ORION (MU/CEITEC in collaboration with VA). These results are currently analysed and will feed into the different WPs to better guide and design future actions.
Several partners also started developing expertise in co-creation and participatory methods, as well as they are reflecting on the specification of the open experiments to be carried out during the second year of the project to engage different stakeholders in life sciences research (WP3). Some partners piloted participatory workshops; an example is the successful session on “Can the public shape the future of genome editing research” at the ESOF Conference in Toulouse in July 2018 (BI with participation of CRG, ANT, VA, MDC, MU/CEITEC). As part of WP3, CRG carried out a call on Citizen Science on fundamental research among researchers at ORION RPOs. The call triggered interest among researchers about this participatory method, and two projects (from MDC and CRG researchers) were finally selected for funding to be included in ORION activities.
Within WP4, some training activities were piloted, building on an initial analysis of existing material and needs of junior researchers. Importantly, MDC in collaboration with CRG delivered the first training workshop for professionals at funding organizations, receiving positive input and feedback for further improvements.
WP5 focuses on evaluation, a fundamental element in ORION to assess the impact of the activities we organize and the overall project. The UAB/CRECIM set up the evaluation framework, and started piloting such framework to evaluate initial ORION activities. They are actively training the other partners in evaluation so that this WP can be a truly collaborative effort.
Finally, VA has led outreach and dissemination (WP6), setting up a collaborative communication and dissemination strategy and plan, including an analysis of main stakeholders to reach, key objectives and methodologies. The ORION project has already reached visibility among the research community (in its broad sense, including funders, policy makers and different associations) through social media, invited talks, posters, workshops and the press.
The ultimate goal of ORION is to catalyse institutional and cultural changes to embed Open Science and RRI in the participating institutions and their key actors (high level management staff, researchers, administrators), and beyond the consortium, engaging other RFPOs, researchers, policy makers, science educators, patient associations, civil society organisations, and industry. The originality of our proposal is that the four research institutes excel in fundamental research in life sciences and biomedicine, a field that often is more difficult to open up to different stakeholders, especially citizens in general.
The expected results and impacts outlined are the following:
1) Enrich and improve the quality of existing training material on RRI and Open Science by producing novel open educational resources tailored to the needs of funders and junior scientists, through highly participatory methods.
2) Increase general knowledge on RRI and Open Science practices by sharing experience about the different co-creation and open experiments across different disciplines.
3) Contribute to changes in RFPOs governance settings (including institutional changes and stakeholder behaviours) that are consistent with Open Science and RRI.
We expect ORION to have an impact not only on ORION participants, but also beyond the project´s partners. By providing examples, case studies, and inspiring stories, we can transfer our knowledge on practising open science to other researchers and research institutions, and we can provide evidence for future recommendations from policy makers.
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