RRI Tools Conference in the Senate of the Czech Parliament
Posted by Katerini Polák Dalasová on 09 Jan 2017
Devoted to the RRI Tools project, the Responsibility in Research and Innovations conference took place in the Czech Republic (in the Senate) on 20 October 2016. It was organised by the Plzeň-based Techmania Science Center in co-operation with Grafia s.r.o, a project partner.
One of the themes of the conference of the RRI Tools project was care and respect for nature and mankind, but also for other space bodies as a basic viewpoint in scientific, research and innovative work. Speakers from among leading Czech and foreign scientists, research and innovation companies, agencies and others discussed the issue of responsible research and innovation on specific cases.
For example, the information presented covered responsible stem cell and nanomaterial research or exploration of planets and other cosmic bodies. Professor Steve Miller of University College London presented RRI in terms of the need to see things in a larger context on the example of malaria-bearing mosquitoes. “If we were able to eradicate them, genetically modify them so that they would no longer be able to reproduce, what would that do to the entire ecosystem? What other, perhaps even much more dangerous species would take their place?” he asked in his speech. Therefore, according to him, anticipation and reflection as well as broader cooperation with other bodies is needed in the scientific community in order to provide the public with truthful information. In Great Britain, this is done by the Science Media Centre. That said, he believes that the dissemination of unscientific rumours and misinformation in the media can never be completely prevented.
As part of his presentation, doc. Dr. Ing. Vladimír Kebo of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic responded to his words by stating that “the biggest barrier is the lack of creatively and logically thinking people”. This idea also resonated in other presentations. The debaters agreed that communicating science, research and innovation and their responsibility towards the world in the broadest sense is an issue whose roots extend all the way to schools, including nursery schools. In this field, science centres also play an important role as informal communicators of science and knowledge.
The conference was attended not only by representatives of the scientific community, but also by representatives of universities, business & industry, and last but not least, policy makers. The opening remarks to the conference were given by Prof. RNDr. Václav Hampl, DrSc., Chairman of the Committee on EU Affairs, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, and Ing. Lumír Aschenbrenner, a member of the Committee on EU Affairs, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic.
Mgr. Michal Pacvoň, Ph.D (National Contact Point for the following thematic priorities of the Seventh Framework Programme: Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities, International Cooperation, and Science in Society) spoke about the future of RRI in the European context, and presented the planned Horizon SWAFS-2017 call focusing on measures relating to the promotion and development of responsible research and innovation (RRI).
(*) You can have a look the complete photo album of the event here
Katerini Polák Dalasová
Katerini Polák Dalasová is project manager at the Techmania Science Center, which is responsible for implementing and promoting the RRI Tools project in the Czech Republic