Wednesday 28

«Science was never intended to be in the market, but today it’s a commodity» - interview with Andrea Saltelli

Posted by Social Observatory of "la Caixa" on 28 Jun 2017

«Science was never intended to be in the market, but today it’s a commodity»

Interview with Andrea Saltelli - originally published at Social Observatory "la Caixa"

Andrea Saltelli (Italy, 1953) is adjunct professor at the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities at the University of Bergen (Norway) and guest researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Together with philosopher Silvio Funtowicz he has recently written a series of pieces on the post-truth debate.   

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Everybody is talking about a crisis in science... What’s it about?

First of all, there is a crisis in replicability which is especially evident in the medical field, replicability meaning that a study should produce the same results if repeated exactly. Many articles have been written by people who attempted to replicate experiments and were disappointed to find how many of them failed. For instance, John Ioannidis and others have tried to replicate preclinical and clinical experiments.

 

What are the causes of this crisis?

This discussion can be thrown open very wide because there is a chain of causes. The main one is that science was never thought or designed to be in the market. But today science is a commodity: it is in the market, and it’s sold at a price. Historian Philip Mirowski has detailed this process in a book called Science-Mart. Privatizing American Science. It’s a play on words to express that when science becomes a supermarket, when it becomes too much of a commodity and it’s sold over the counter, the result is that its quality disappears.

 

Is this happening in all disciplines?

It affects all fields; it is also notable in psychology. Nobel Prize laureate Daniel Kahneman, who wrote the book Thinking, Fast and Slow, was the first person to realize that something was going really wrong because experiments could not be replicated. Auguste Comte, a mid-19th century philosopher, thought that sciences follow a hierarchy, according to how close they are to exact laws. So at the top you have mathematics, geometry, and then you have physics, chemistry, biology and the social sciences. The more you move away from the top, from exact laws, the closer you get to domains where things become messier, more complex. Nearly two centuries after Comte, Daniele Fanelli looked at reproducibility rates across disciplines. He found that the lower you travel down the hierarchy of sciences, the greater the increase in positive results, which confirmed his hypothesis that 'softer' disciplines are more prone to bias.

 

In this sense, where are the limits of science?

Science cannot solve every problem. Reductionism is the idea that you can take a complex system, cut it down into bits, and if you study all the bits, then you understand the complex system. But there are systems which cannot be treated in this way, for example living systems. Whenever you want to study a biological system, you have to somehow delimit it. But how do you delimit it? In organisms, everything is linked to everything else.

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Thursday 22

Roll the RRI Dice!

Posted by Antonina Khodzhaeva and Andrea Troncoso on 22 Jun 2017

The Ecsite team created for the RRI Tools toolkit a dice that gives the oportunity to provoke conversations, reflections and create scenarios, especially thought for RRI Trainings or RRI meetings. 

 

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Monday 12

First workshop on Exploring the Application of RRI to Innovation Ecosystems EARRI’17

Posted by Francesco Niglia‎ on 12 Jun 2017

We invite empirical and methodological contributions focusing on the adoption of one or more pillars of RRI perspective to contribute to the definition of guidelines for the application of RRI in innovation ecosystems that include citizens and the territory. The adoption of RRI principles can significantly enhance the explanation of dynamic phenomena such as organizational capabilities and routines, strategic behaviour, entrepreneurship, organizational learning, and innovation.

List of topics:

  •  Original Best Practices of application of one or more of RRI pillars (public engagement, science education, ethics, open access, gender) in an Innovation Ecosystem and its communication to the public via courses or events.
  • Methods and examples of research, businesses and organisations (both for-profit and non-profit) creating synergies in new strategies, products, services and concepts that provide answers to ethic and gender issues.
  • Contributions on how the RRI approach affects the development and implementation of policies targeting the dynamics of innovation systems are also welcome.
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Tuesday 30

Conference "Responsible Research and Innovation in the health industry"- key messages from round tables

Posted by RRI Tools on 30 May 2017

 

The way forward: key messages from round tables 

Closing remarks by Ignasi López at the Conference “Responsible Research and Innovation in the Health Industry” held at the EESC premises, in Brussels, on 18 and 19 May 2017.

I would like to thank all speakers and the moderator. This Conference is a joint initiative of the ELSI Board of the EIT Health and the Final Conference of the Responsible Industry project, together with the European Commission, the EESC and the “la Caixa" Foundation, who I do represent.  I would like to thank them all.

 I was asked to wrap up. And it is an honor to do so. 

 1st day: May 18th – some key messages:

  • “No research and innovation about me without me”: there is a bottom up claim from society
  • And a political answer:  the framework of RRI 
    • A number of challenges are ahead
    • In a very complex context

And a headline from EESC: “RRI - or however we call it - seems to be mature enough to embed it in the biggest R&I funding programme in the world: FP9”

In the 1st round table we saw amazing experiences of citizen engagement in different fields of R&I in the health sector: engagement of patients in the editorial process, as end users of innovation, as innovators… Through living labs, maker spaces, citizen science, biolabs, science museums, in industry (big corporates, SMEs and entrepreneurs...)

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Monday 10

Responsible research and innovation in the health industry

Posted by RRI Tools on 10 Apr 2017

Responsible Research and Innovation calls for innovation that integrates societal concerns in all the phases of R&I, from the design of the research agendas to the commercialization of research outcomes. The idea of RRI is that anticipating the social needs and concerns of novel technologies by integrating wider society will facilitate better innovation. 

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology, the European Economic and Social Committee and the EU project Responsible-Industry organize the conference “Responsible Research and Innovation in the Health Industry” to be held at the EESC premises, in Brussels, on 18 and 19 May 2017.

The conference will discuss how RRI can help to boost innovation in biomedicine and health with a special focus on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). It will ask how social values and needs can be “integrated from scratch” and which drivers and obstacles RRI encounters when implemented in companies.

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Tuesday 28

How can early career researchers make their voices heard in public debates? - join us at the "Standing up for Science" workshop

Posted by Kathryn Brian - Sense about Science on 28 Mar 2017

Sense about Science EU is running a workshop for early career researchers exploring the representation of science in the media and policy-making. The ‘Standing up for Science" workshop will involve interactions with experienced researchers who have previously engaged with the media and policymakers, as well as science journalists and policymakers. 

How can early career researchers make their voices heard in public debates?. Sense about Science EU aims to do this by building a network to cultivate in the next generation of European researchers the ethos of taking responsibility for public discussion, and to give them the confidence and the know-how to do it, addressing one of the main RRI aims.

I am the current intern at Sense about Science EU and I have had the pleasure of previously attending a "Standing up for Science" workshop in the UK. I thought I would give you a personal insight into how I viewed the day to give you a flavour of what to expect. 

The day started with.......

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Monday 27

Post-doc at University of Leiden - “Optimizing the responsible researcher: towards fair and constructive academic advancement”

Posted by Sarah de Rijcke on 27 Mar 2017

Job description

Project: “Optimizing the responsible researcher: towards fair and constructive academic advancement”
This 2-year project is funded through the new ZonMW program Fostering Responsible Research Practices (FRRP). Recent years have seen high-profile initiatives to improve current criteria for assessing academic achievements (e.g. the Leiden Manifesto, the Metric Tide, Science in Transition, DORA, METRICS, Reward Alliance). Some institutions are implementing improved and innovative incentive and reward systems. It is yet unknown whether these systems will counter unintended effects of evaluation systems and unwarranted uses of performance metrics, and help to foster responsible conduct of research by selecting the scientists with a multidimensional profile (i.e. more than a good publication and citation record) and a skill-set that enables them to undertake and supervise both innovative and societally relevant research. This project aims to describe the optimal profile of researchers in terms of their propensity to foster responsible conduct in research, and will compare this profile with existing academic incentive and reward systems. It will result in an evidence-based framework and a set of concrete policy recommendations for designing (or adapting) academic reward systems aimed at fostering excellent, socially responsible research.

Key Responsibilities
You will (help to) conduct:

  • A systematic literature review in which debates about organisational integrity work are traced, and in which one or more ideals of responsible conduct in research can be theoretically developed; 
  • Expert interviews with relevant stakeholders from different levels of the research governance system (including deans, policy makers, a selection of heads of departments) involved in the institutional arrangement of academic advancement systems in biomedicine;
  • Focus group interviews with biomedical researchers, to collect views and opinions about responsible conduct in research and characteristics of responsible researchers, and how they think reward systems should be shaped;
  • Desk research and expert interviews with recruiters, HRM policy makers, evaluators, and staff advisors at different UMCs to further map how incentives towards responsible conduct in research are currently institutionalized;
  • Comparisons in two different UMCs of the effectiveness of new and existing reward systems in terms of fostering responsible conduct in research.
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Monday 20

Postdoctoral Researcher in Responsible Innovation and Circular Economy at Wageningen UR

Posted by Vincent Blok on 20 Mar 2017

Post:                                 Postdoctoral Researcher in Responsible Innovation and Circular Economy
 
Project name:                   Responsible Innovation Practices of Sustainable Entrepreneurs in Making the Transition towards sustainable agricultural, water and energy systems 
 
We offer you an employment contract for 0.9 FTE (34,2 hours a week) for 12 months. The maximum gross salary is € 3,427.00 per month (based on fulltime employment), (scale 11.0 Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities). In addition, we offer a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-the-year bonus of 8.3% of your annual salary.
The post is available to start on May 1st 2017.
 
Short JOB DESCRIPTION

MVI entrepreneurship is a NWO funded project that aims to explore how dimensions of responsible innovation (RI) are applied by new technology based firm (NTBFs) start-ups developing climate change innovations in the field of climate-smart agriculture, how sustainable entrepreneurs can benefit from RI, and how the innovation systems NTBFs operate in can be conductive to RI. While Post-doc one, who is already employed, focusses on the actor level of NTBFs involved in climate-smart agriculture, water, and energy systems, we are looking for a second postdoc who will focus on the systems level. 

Post-doc one has already started to explore how sustainable entrepreneurs manage socio-ethical factors at the actor level, and has identified barriers for the application of RI by NTBFs, such as the need to balance economic and sustainability (societal) objectives, customer reluctance to pay a premium and an industry with vested interests.  In post-doc two, we explore how the management of socio-ethical issues by NTBFs is impacted by the innovation system that sustainable entrepreneurs operate in. This includes the system responsible for the development of innovations (i.e. technological innovation system), but also the wider system and set of actors that influence the start-up and entrepreneurial process, such as supply chain actors, inter-firm linkages, investors, facilitating agents such as government, as well as societal actors and consumers. The research question of post-doc two is: How do innovation system dynamics interact with the implementation of RI by sustainable entrepreneurs, and what are the implications for sustainable entrepreneurship and RI?
This work will have an interdisciplinary nature, drawing on disciplines such as innovation system approaches, transitions management, sustainable entrepreneurship, responsible innovation, and potentially wider management science and science and technology studies approaches. An affinity with understanding and dealing with socio-economic and socio-ethical issues will be needed/an advantage.

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Thursday 23

Post-doc (3 years position) for the project 'Policy, Responsible Innovation and the Future of AI"

Posted by RRI Tools on 23 Feb 2017

The Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI) invites applications for a postdoctoral Research Associate for the project 'Policy, Responsible Innovation and the Future of AI'. The appointment will be for 3 years, and is based in Cambridge. 

CFI is an exciting new interdisciplinary research centre addressing the challenges and opportunities posed by artificial intelligence (AI). Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, CFI is based at the University of Cambridge, with partners in the University of Oxford, Imperial College, and UC Berkeley, and close links with industry partners and policymakers. 

This project examines the prospects for a robust safety and benefits culture within the AI industry, in anticipation of the development of increasingly powerful AI systems that will present ever-greater real-world opportunities and challenges. It asks questions including: What can we learn from the management of other powerful technologies? What are the role and prospects for regulation, and how can the technology community work with policymakers, towards mutual goals? How can industry leaders balance near-term commercial responsibilities with the need to engage with broader and more long-term challenges? With AI developing rapidly, these questions are becoming urgent; this is therefore an exciting opportunity for a talented individual to make a major contribution.....

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