RRI from the Go4 pitch
Posted by Ecsite on 16 Jan 2016
Andrea Troncoso from the RRI Tools project gives her views on the conference "RRI Shaping new Horizons: Responsible Research and Innovation in Europe and across the World" which was held on 14 and 15 January 2016 in Brussels.
It was a long activity programme… You could suspect the immensity of the field you were to enter…but the invitation was tempting. The two cold and rainy days that Brussels offered as a background did not discourage the varied public that attended the Go4 Conference: Shaping the new horizons.
Experts, participants and newcomers gathered to hear about the lessons learned along the way and the impact of these four projects: Res-AGorA, ProGReSS, GREAT and Responsibility. Two of these projects had a huge component on research and the two others on governance. It was particularly impressive to see that different actors from, for example, Philippines, South Africa, China, were part of the ProGReSS team and were expressing the challenges but also the social and economic profits of doing research and innovating in a responsible way. It was above all very outstanding to hear a representative of the San People from South Africa sharing what he saw as a great outcome of collaborating with scientists: the common construction of knowledge and the distribution of its benefits. I cannot go through every project´s presentation, but visiting each of their websites is worth a try. For example, get and try the Responsible Navigator, a practical tool to guide you in this ocean of possibilities.
I would like to also comment on one of the sessions offered: the Open Space. The question presented in the programme was: How can RRI enter the real world? I was curious to get answers to that key issue, answers that could complement what I had already in mind. The moderator was inviting each of the 40 participants to a session were there was no programme, with unknown results and with only one statement: Everyone had two feet, or wheels, to move. We were encouraged to be as chaotic, collaborative and creative as we wished and to keep a level of lightness along the session. Yes, the invitation was mouth-watering for everyone. There we were, in a couple of seconds, together, posing provocative questions like: We want to combine art and science to bring it to RRI. How? We want researchers to be convinced about the utility of RRI, why? How? Along the two sessions we got loads of food for the mind and the spirit. Answers and more questions of course.
The combination of presentations, collaborative workshops and open sessions kept the spirits high (without spirits) during the whole conference. The RRI Fair, a poster session, gathered 10 projects and triggered a very animated discussion, while sharing a nice beverage, two hours after the conference finished, on its first day.
I cannot finish this short note without mentioning the brilliant moderation of Vivienne Parry, the British journalist and presenter. Her nice remarks, good jokes and professional way of wrapping up and catching the essence of each of the speakers, were definitely a plus in the whole conference.
As I said, let us keep these four projects in mind, because they have built up the road, in a very robust way, towards the responsible research and innovation that we are all wishing for the new years to come.
Andrea Troncoso works on RRI Tools at Ecsite, in Brussels, which is responsible for the mapping of stakeholders in the RRI Tools project