Monday 09

Main results from the EU4FACTS Conference - Evidence for policy in a post-fact world

Posted by RRI Tools on 09 Oct 2017

Clear recommendations for successful evidence-informed policy making was the aim for the 2017 Joint Research Centre (JRC) annual conference that took place last September 26th in Brussels

It offered an open encounter between leading experts from the fields of science, policy and media.

Background

The interaction between science and policy has never been straightforward. But this relationship has been further complicated by the current post-fact debate. This crisis is a challenge for the whole of society, not only scientists, experts, the media and policymakers, but also for politicians. We need to learn from past success and failures in building policy on evidence, to understand the causes of this crisis and to chart a new course for organisations operating at the inter-section of facts, politics and the media.

Policy making needs to find the balance between facts and values. Linear thinking cannot be applied to the relationship between science, society and policy anymore. Scientists, politicians and citizens need new models and processes to connect, to develop new thinking and to communicate new narratives.

The process needs to become more open, involving all interest groups (scientists, policymakers and society) from the design and production to the delivery phase.

Contents

  • Why should we trust science? - The role of science in times of fake news and ‘filter bubbles’.
  • Re-designing policymaking using behavioural and decision science - How can evidence and data be effectively balanced with values and emotions when policy decisions are taken?

You can download the complete EU4FACTS programme from here

Keynote Speakers

  • Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness
  • Pascal LAMY, former European Commissioner, former Director-General of the World Trade Organization
  • Sir Peter GLUCKMAN, Chief Science Advisor to the New Zealand Prime Minister, Chair International Network for Science Advice to Governments (INGSA)

See the complete list of speakers & bios here

MAIN OUTCOMES OF THE CONFERENCE

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Thursday 28

Two recent scientific publications focused on the RRI Tools project

Posted by RRI Tools on 28 Sep 2017

  • Review of the RRI Tools project at the Journal of Responsible Innovation - by Christopher Groves

ABSTRACT - The RRI Tools project, funded under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (2007–2013), is an important attempt to translate key guiding principles of responsible research and innovation (RRI) into a compendium of best practices to assist researchers and practitioners. It has set up a valuable database of practical and other reference resources, instigated an EU-wide community of practice, and begun rolling out training in RRI. By placing engagement at the heart of the RRI endeavour, it raises again important questions relating to how engagement is done and how it relates to the broader processes and institutional contexts in which innovation happens

Christopher Groves is researcher in Social Sciences at Cardiff University

See complete pape here

  • Responsible Research and Innovation. How to Put Gender Equality into Practice? - by Justyna Wojniak

ABSTRACT - ​This paper discusses a project devoted to the concept of responsibility in the field of research and innovation, which has been initiated by the European Commission in recent years [the RRI Tools project]. The key element of this project is performing science with society and for society, which includes wide cooperation with different societal actors, representing researchers, business, civil society and policy makers. An important part of this concept is diversity and gender equality in the research and innovation sector. These issues are also perceived as instruments of shaping correct relationship between science and society. The paper presents the main initiatives under the Responsible Research and Innovation project and selected good practices introduced by research institutions aimed at overcoming gender imbalance in the scientific profession within the European Union.

Justyna Wojniak is proffesor at the Pedagogical University of Cracow and board member of the Foundation “Women Scienctists – Polish Women Scientists Network”

See complete paper here 

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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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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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Friday 10

RRI in Europe: What´s next?

Posted by RRI Tools on 10 Feb 2017

Interview with Kurt Vandenberghe - Director of Policy Development and Coordination, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission.

 

 

What is the future of RRI....?

Well, I think there is an important future for RRI. It really goes to the heart of what we are trying to promote, what Commissioner Moedas is trying to promote, namely open science, open innovation; which means, user driven, data driven, but also responsive towards what society asks and expects. And that is where responsible research and innovation comes in. It is very important to show that science and innovation are not only relevant for society, but that we can also have the trust of society. And we do that by having all the ethical criteria that should be respected, by having gender equality policies, open access to data and to publications, but also by having more and more engagement with the public, with stakeholders, with citizens, on why we do science, what kind of science we do, and what we do the science for.

 

... we need to widen the concept of excellence in science

I think we have to always keep in mind that excellence is the prime driver for science, for the quality of science. But excellent science does not mean science in an ivory tower, it does not only mean science that ends up in publications or in patents. What we want from excellent science is impact and that can have impact in terms of value, not only for science itself, but also for society. So we need to come to a broader concept of excellent science, which is not only about publications or patents, but also about the value it can create, and it should create, for economy, for society, by engaging with society. What is important is that we promote excellence in science in a broader concept, but always respecting, following the scientific method. So what matters is applying the scientific method, but nothing says that excellent science is only science for science. It should also be science with and for society

 

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