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Responsible Research and Innovation: Which criteria? Which wording? Where?

Tuesday 13

Responsible Research and Innovation: Which criteria? Which wording? Where?

Posted by Science Animation on 13 Sep 2016

Summary of a full day workshop

Friday 1st of July, about forty people – academics, cultural actors, businesses, policy makers – met up at the Cité des sciences et de l'industrie for a full day workshop on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) that we co-organized within the RRI Tools project framework. “European project”, “Science education”, “Living Lab”, “Sustainable innovation” … are some of the words that could be heard during participants conversations, waiting for the beginning of the day, coffee at hand. There is no doubt that the RRI concept triggers enthusiasm as well as it raises questions.

Far from being simplistic, the RRI concept is about research and innovations which aligns with society’s values, needs and expectations. Many organizations already put into action some of its principles (ethical charter, citizen involvement, gender equality awareness…). We designed this workshop as an opportunity to bring representative of those organizations together with a diversity of people interested by the approach. It was also an opportunity to advertise the RRI Tools platform which offers over 400 challenging resources to bring RRI from concept to action.

The day started with a first group of sessions and experiences’ feedbacks. In a room, a dozen of participants was carefully listening to SoScience’s team. This startup is coaching laboratories and companies to re-think their innovation projects in regard to RRI principles. After a short explanation of the “responsible innovation” concept and their activity, SoScience pulled a couple of post-its out for a creativity session to “imagine your own responsible innovation project”.

Next room, another group engaged in an lively discussion on all the possible meanings of the RRI wording: “engagement”, “innovation”, “fostering participation” … Then, representatives of Paris Region Entreprises presented the tools they have been using for the past decade to enhance responsible innovation : set of criteria, question to be asked, good practices examples, etc.

In the meantime, others were getting acquainted with the four RRI process requirements[1] coupled with the six RRI policy agendas[2]. An opportunity for each participant to tackle his·her own challenges and gather some advices. This session was concluded by a collective search for resources on the RRI Tools platform.

Wording and RRI criteria were the base ground of those morning discussions. “The session, Imagine your Responsible Innovation project, facilitated by So Science, help me understand that there are many RRI definitions which co-exists at the moment, and, sometimes, differ on various aspects.” says Julien Lorentz, communication officer at EuroScience.

During the afternoon, three other sessions focused on those new third places which can foster RRI.  Numerous were the participants curious about the session on the LivingLab approach developed by the Dôme, new science center settled by Relais d’Science in Normandy (Western France). The Dôme aims at turning the audience of a cultural place into innovation’s actors. An approach which cannot be built in a day, but the benefit for all is worth the trouble: citizen (and among them, younger people) feel valuated and companies gather precious feedback from users. Settling LivingLab projects act as a valuable lever to involve future generation not only in definition and choice concerning research and innovation, but also in their ability to develop their full potential within an open innovation framework. Julien Lorentz is enthusiastic: “It’s a beautiful opportunity to better understand the way LivingLabs function, my feeling is that it represent the future of science outreach. It reinforces my conviction that science center do have a crucial role to play within the RRI framework, they might even be at its core, as the Dôme is!

In parallel, participants were listening to the story of the Science Shop of the University of Lyon: bringing together researchers, students and citizens, this service allows citizens to submit the societal issues that matter to them, students can then address those questionings during their internship with the help of researchers.

Last, but not least, Claire Brossaud, researcher in sociology from the Lyon Architecture Urbanism and Research Laboratory (EVS-LAURE), member of the VECAM association, shared her work to build a new type of open scientific space based on the concept of “common good”.

This fruitful workshop concluded on inspiring practices and valuable networking for all participants.

Next RRI-training workshops are scheduled end of September in Toulouse and end of November in Grenoble.

This workshop was organized by Science Animation, for the RRI Tools project, in partnership with Universcience and the Inmédiats program. With the support of Amcsti, SoScience, Solve France, Sciences Citoyennes, Paris Region Entreprises and the Science Shop of Lyon University.

Original article in French can be found here.

Written by Audrey Bardon, translated by Malvina Artheau

Audrey Bardon and Malvina Artheau work on RRI Tools at Science Animation in Toulouse, the RRI Tools Hub coordinator for France.


[1] Namely : “diversity & inclusion”- “anticipation & reflexivity”- “openness & transparency” – “ responsiveness and adaptive change”


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