Monday 19

EFARRI rewards inspiring research practices

Posted by Jeroen van den Hoven and Sara Heesterbeek on 19 Dec 2016

On Monday 21 November 2016 three European research projects that are contributing actively towards the development of a smart, inclusive and sustainable society were honoured by the European Foundations Award for Responsible Research & Innovation (EFARRI). The Swedish Mistra Urban Futures, Italian water management project IMRR and Spanish miCROWDscopy were selected by a scientific jury from more than 200 applications to receive a prize of €20,000 to continue their valuable work in diverse fields.

The EFARRI finalists and laureates at the RRI Tools final conference (21 November 2016)

These three projects champion inclusive approaches to some of the biggest challenges we are facing as society today in health, in resource management and in the urban environment. Mistra Urban Futures also convinced the audience of the RRI Tools final event most and received the ‘Public Vote of the RRI Community’. According to the jury this project radiates an institutional commitment to co-creation of knowledge and co-design of participation methodologies. Their brand new, open access co-creation manual is very comprehensive and provides us with novel insights and important RRI lessons. To quote one: ‘Everyone is a knowledge holder, everyone is a knowledge producer, everyone is a knowledge user’, stressing our mutual interdependence.

EFARRI laureates: MISTRA Urban Futures

Inclusiveness is also key in the Italian IMRR project. This integrated water management project provides tools and capacity to allow Vietnamese institutions involved in water resource management to negotiate sustainable policies in a participatory bottom-up way. It is based on a transparent, intuitive web-based platform that provides iterative stakeholder input, sharing existing knowledge and giving relevant stakeholders the opportunity to have access and genuinely contribute with questions and indicators. This project fills a niche that is needed in informed decision-making that secures its political relevance.

EFARRI laureates: the IMRR project

miCROWDscopy is a citizen science project that identifies the major grand challenge to give people access to diagnostics and ultimately to prevent deaths. This is done in a very inclusive, innovative and creative way: people are involved in crowd diagnostics in a gaming format with low-cost technology. The underlying idea is to translate medical protocols into digital micro-tasks that can be packaged into video games and performed by the gaming community around the world. The result is that lay people are engaged in a non-professional, but very efficient, iterative process of data collection and analysis. They just play their game and can simultaneously save many lives.

EFARRI laureates: miCROWDscopy

Not only these three laureates, but many of the applications we received show a creative approach to tackling societal challenges by implementing RRI in their daily research practices. They set an example for RRI because they exemplify a strong commitment to moral concerns and a dedication to harness the potential of technology, allowing them to anticipate potential implications and accommodate legitimate expectations of stakeholders with regard to research and innovation in their projects.

EFARRI is a joint initiative by the King Baudouin Foundation (Belgium), “la Caixa” Foundation (Spain), Fondazione Cariplo (Italy), Lundbeck Foundation (Denmark), the Robert Bosch Stiftung (Germany) and the European Foundation Centre Research Forum. These Foundations have a shared aspiration to encourage researchers to reflect on their work in terms of RRI and to actively incorporate methods that will align their research with the needs of society.

For more information about the aims of the award, the selection process and the finalists see

Jeroen van den Hoven and Sara Heesterbeek

Jeroen van den Hoven is the chair of the EFARRI jury.

Sara Heesterbeek works on RRI Tools at King Baudouin Foundation in Brussels, the RRI Tools Hub coordinator for Belgium and Luxembourg.



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