Tuesday 21

3 RRI Job Opportunities

Posted by RRI Tools on 21 Nov 2017

  • University of Nottingham Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) is seeking a Senior Research Fellow in Responsible Research and Innovation

SBRC Nottingham is one of six UK centre’s created by the BBSRC/EPSRC and has received £14.3M in funding for a 5 year period (2014-2019). SBRC-Nottingham is an exciting interdisciplinary large scale project, involving the creation and exploitation of gas fermenting microbial chassis as it relates to the sustainable production of chemicals and fuels. 

This post is core to the social science aspect of the SBRC, concerned with embedding and researching ‘responsible research and innovation’ approaches. 

Applications are invited to the above role to conduct high quality research, shape the core SBRC project as well as related projects, take initiative, and publish the results of the work in high quality outlets and publications. Work will focus in particular on further developing and implementing a framework of Responsible Research Innovation (RRI) and bringing the social science part of the project to fruition, paying particular attention to developing interactions with industry and policy makers. The role holder will collaborate with the SBRC Outreach Officer in shaping project related-engagement activities. The role holder will also have the opportunity to use their initiative and creativity to identify areas for research, develop research methods and extend their research portfolio.

Candidates must hold a PhD or equivalent (awarded) in a discipline relevant to social science, political science, bioethics, or philosophy. You will be an international post-doctoral researcher with substantial research experience with a background in social science or related interdisciplinary fields and a proven ability and willingness to engage in interdisciplinary research. The ideal candidate will have demonstrable interest in Responsible Research and Innovation.

This full-time fixed-term post is available until 30 July 2019.

Deadline for applications: Wednesday, 13th December 2017

More info here 

  • Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences is looking for a Research Associate in Science Communication

Your tasks: Mix of teaching science communication and doing comms for major #RRI project
 Internal and external project communication (nucleus-project.eu)
 Media releases, audio and video production, newsletter and website texts, social media
 Support in project administration, reporting and event management (e.g. public engagement)
 Teaching support in Science Communication (bit.ly/SciComm-DE)
 Management and support with course material and field trips
 Co-supervision of final theses and student projects
 Coordination of our Cross-media Production Lab 

Fixed-term contract until 31.08.2019

Deadline for applications: 29th November 2017

More info here 

  • The European Science Engagement Association (EUSEA) is looking for support in the PERFORM Project

This job is related with the organisation of the PERFORM final conference. UNESCO will be responsible for this conference at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, in close collaboration with EUSEA. UNESCO will convene representatives of PERFORM stakeholders (students and teachers from the schools who participated in case studies, early career researchers from case studies) as well as European policy-makers, UN representatives, invited speakers including members of the PERFORM advisory board, and other interested practitioners (i.e., entrepreneurs in STEM fields, including industry). This final event will compile the most relevant research results and toolkits of the project, and will show the best ways for PERFORM methodologies implementation in Member States through oral presentations, panel discussions and round tables.

The extent of the responsibility is primarily limited to the actual structure and arrangements; it is expected that all partners will add knowledge and experience to the programme, e.g. by inviting educational, scientific and policy relevant organizations representatives as speakers and moderators. A separate programme committee will be set up, as well as a local organization committee. Contracts with service providers, including venue, local staff, catering, conference administration, etc will be organized by UNESCO.

The person selected will collaborate with the EUSEA team and project officer and with the UNESCO team in developing the following tasks:

  • The person will deal with guests and stakeholders providing information about both conference contents and logistical aspects.
  • S/he will take care of the invitations to speakers and information to be provided to them or to be collected from them to set up the sessions.
  • S/he will collaborate with the management of the conference sessions, working together with EUSEA, UNESCO and the Perform project management team in defining the finale programme, possible guests and speakers of the sessions and taking care of verifying all the logistical aspects related to the session. In this process, the person will deal with the consortium partners involved in the organization of the conference.
  • S/he will take part into the meetings planned for the organization and will implement the actions defined by EUSEA and UNESCO aiming at the organization of the conference.
  • S/he will support and collaborate with the implementation of the communication actions designed and managed by the EUSEA team to promote the participation into the conference.

The estimated workload will be 12 hours a week, for a period of 6 months, from December 2017 until June 2018. The distribution of work will depend on the required tasks during different periods.

Please send your applications, including your salary expectations and your earliest possible starting date until 29 November 2017

More info here


Thursday 02

“Science issues are increasingly pressing civic issues” - interview with Lee Rainie & Cary Funk

Posted by Social Observatory of "la Caixa" on 02 Nov 2017

“Science issues are increasingly pressing civic issues”

Interview with Lee Rainie & Cary Funk from Pew Research Center.- originally published at Social Observatory "la Caixa"

Lee Rainie and Cary Funk are the heads of Internet, Science and Technology research at the Pew Research Center, a fact tank that informs the public about issues, attitudes and trends that are shaping the world. As a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder, it is a nonprofit, nonpartisan and non-advocacy organization, based on values such as independence, objectivity and rigor. Lee Rainie is the Center’s director of internet, science and technology research, and supervises the surveys that examine people’s online activities and the internet’s role in their lives, as well as the intersection of science and society. Cary Funk is an associate director for research, focusing on science.

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Pew Research Center conducts a wealth of research and produces many facts. How do you choose your research topics?

We are constantly looking to see which topics and key questions in society are pressing issues and could benefit from the kind of data and analysis that we can provide. Our mission is to conduct original, primary research that helps inform major policy decisions and cultural conversations. This means that we spend a lot of time trying to discern noteworthy and urgent issues in public discourse and determining which of these conversations might be helped by the kind of sound, timely data and analysis that we provide. However, we do not perform our research for the purpose of taking a position on policy outcomes.

 

Since facts are never completely neutral, do you take any neutrality measures with regard to dissemination?

We work to make sure that our research is balanced and neutral, starting with how we design our questions right through to how we describe our findings. Dissemination of our research focuses on people, groups and organizations who share an interest in the topic under study, regardless of their policy position. So, for instance, we hope our material is equally useful to those who want to limit immigration even more and to those who support more liberal immigration policies, or to those who want to cut science research and those who support higher levels of science research. We know that we are achieving our goals for balanced research when advocates on both sides of an issue cite our studies. For example, we recently observed in an appeals court that the judges on both sides of an immigration argument used our data to support their opinions on the case.

 

Why has the Pew Research Center expanded its research on science and society?

The Center decided to expand its research in these areas for three reasons. First, science issues are increasingly pressing civic issues: significant policy and ethical questions are driven by what scientists discover and how policymakers and the general public react to those discoveries. Second, science and technology innovations are at the heart of societal change: nations look to breakthroughs in nanotechnology, genomics, brain science, energy technologies, food production, robotics and other fields to fuel economic growth. Third, scientific findings are a key battleground for how cultures decide what is true: the rise of the internet and the explosion of communities of interest around science issues have raised fundamental questions about how facts are unearthed and what meaning they should be assigned when crafting policy solutions.

 

What is the relevance of science research in relation to other topics tackled by the Center, such as politics and religion?

As we already said, science issues are more broadly civic issues. Our analysis of public attitudes across 23 science-related issues showed that sometimes people’s political views are a major influence on their positions on a science issue and sometimes their religious beliefs and practices are a notable influence. Other times, people’s general level of education and their specific level of knowledge about science are influences. We find that some judgments about science are increasingly divided along partisan lines, such as support for federal government spending on scientific research, but also that many science subjects are not swept up by partisan hostilities.

The thing we find most fascinating with regard to all of these issues is that there is no single explanation for why people think the way they do about science. For example, people’s political views matter significantly in their thinking about climate change and energy issues, whereas religion is strongly related to how people think about end-of-life medical issues and people’s views about biomedical advances on the horizon

 

In science debates, what carries more weight: political ideology or facts? 

People’s political orientations appear to serve as an anchoring point for how knowledge influences their attitudes. For example, many in the scientific community believe that if the American public were better informed about the science behind climate change and energy issues, people would hold views more closely aligned with those of scientific experts. But as we found in a 2016 Pew Research Center survey on these issues, how much people know about science has only a modest and inconsistent correlation with their attitudes about climate and energy issues, whereas partisanship is a stronger factor in people’s beliefs. People’s level of science knowledge help to explain their beliefs about climate change to a certain degree, but the relationship is a complicated one.

 

Do you know how public and/or private bodies take your studies into account?

Even though we do not have a policy agenda driving our work, we want our material to be useful to the policy audiences. So, the starting point is building awareness.  In recent years, we have presented our findings to staff at the White House; Congress; multiple federal agencies and advisory bodies, such as the National Academies of Science; a number of prominent scientific societies, and the science journalism communities. Our work is included in the biennial Science and Engineering Indicators report from the National Science Board and the National Science Foundation; it has also been included in at least two studies by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine and served as the catalyst for a three-year project on the public face of science by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

 

What are the latest internet-related issues that you have investigated?

Our two recent reports on cybersecurity focused on how Americans think about cybersecurity issues in their everyday lives and on how much Americans know about cybersecurity issues and concepts.  This work extends the research we have done over the last three years about Americans and privacy issues. We have also continued our studies about the future of the internet by examining what experts predict the impact of algorithms will be on human activity in the next decade. We must remember  that algorithms are instructions for solving a problem or completing a task that lead to massive amounts of data being created, captured and analyzed by businesses and governments. We have also examined how experts think people and technologists will handle free speech issues in this age of trolls and worries about fake news.

 

And what are the latest science-related issues that you have investigated?

We released a series of studies assessing public judgments about scientific expertise, consensus and credibility. These surveys gathered parallel measures across three science issues: global climate change; childhood vaccines; and genetically modified foods. This in-depth look at public trust in science stems from questions raised in our  earlier surveys comparing the views of the public and those of the scientific community, which showed that on a number of major, controversial issues there were wide opinion gaps between them. The findings raised questions about the reasons behind these wide differences, and many speculated that they reflected a lack of public trust in scientific experts and their research.

 

And what are the mid- and long-term trends that you would like to explore? Why?

In our technology-related research, we are interested in several developments. One is the emergence of the Internet of Things and how people will incorporate connected devices and appliances into their lives. Of course, that has major implications for privacy and security. Another trend is how people try to navigate this new information ecosystem and how they figure out how to find information they can trust. Yet another issue is what role automation, robotics and Artificial Intelligence play as factors in people’s workplaces and learning experiences.

In our science research, we will continue to explore questions about new developments in biomedical research and how people think about these developments. Our most recent research on this showed that people are quite wary of biomedical advancements used to enhance human abilities, such as gene-editing, brain chip implants and synthetic blood substitutes. Many people are concerned about what these enhancements might do to them, their loved ones, and society.

Another area we hope to address in our coming research is how people learn about science issues and the role of education in people’s attitudes towards and understanding of science. We want to better understand public participation in these kinds of activities and how it might shape public thinking.

 

How are new media changing society?

Information has a different character when it is digitized and courses through networked communications channels. We have documented in our work how digitized, connected communication has, for example, elevated the importance of personal networks and decreased the power and role of the mass media in people’s lives. It has compelled institutions to create new laws and regulations around “information politics” on issues ranging from privacy, to hate speech, to intellectual property ownership. It has enabled people to participate in media culture in ways that were previously impossible and to create new kinds of communities that are organized around every possible connective element of human life. Furthermore, it has added new stresses to life, and has provided new ways for people to torment and wound each other.

 

In your opinion, how much of the research that you do in the USA can be universalized or extrapolated to other countries/cultures?

This is a core question driving our work at the Pew Research Center.  We would love to know more about the extent to which our findings in the U.S. generalize to other countries. All the questions surrounding science research are relevant not just to the U.S. but to societies around the world.  With so many technology companies based in the U.S., we often see Americans adopting new technology early, but as more people from other countries use these technologies, their use often evolves in new ways. Our colleagues who study global issues, for instance, have seen that social media adoption in developing countries is much higher among internet users than it is in developed countries. And that people in different countries use social media for different purposes.

One big mystery at the moment is whether the developing world will have a different experience of the changes enabled by the spread of mobile phones, compared with the experience that developed economies went through in the past generation with the wired internet. Some have speculated that the spread of cell phones in developing countries will allow them to “skip a generation” of tech adoption. No one has yet fully documented what that means or suggested how it will unfold in the future.  

 

From a Spanish point of view, one thing that is striking is that you have a “Hispanics” section. Why this specific section and not others? 

The United States of America is a country known for its diversity. The Center has studied other key demographic and religious groups in the country including U.S. Muslims and African Americans. We are also looking to better understand the key migration patterns of immigrants in the U.S., in Europe and around the world.

We originally began studying the experience of Hispanics in the U.S. because the number of Hispanics was growing rapidly. Hispanics are, according to a 1976 US Congress law, “Americans who identify themselves as being of Spanish-speaking background and trace their origin or descent from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central and South America and other Spanish-speaking countries”. This was a particularly useful line of research for the Center to pursue, because their experiences had not been comprehensively studied by other researchers. The number of Hispanics in our country now totals about 57 million adults and children. While the rate of growth has slowed, Hispanics still accounted for about half of the population growth in the U.S. from 2000 to 2014 (54%). Most Hispanics in the USA originally come from Mexico (64%); smaller percentages come from other Latin American countries. 


Wednesday 18

Get to know the RRI Tools ppts - developed to help you disseminate the RRI concept

Posted by RRI Tools on 18 Oct 2017

The RRI Tools project team has developed a series power point presentations (ppts) with the purpose to provide users with communication and advocacy tools for the dissemination of the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) concept. They were hence created to be used and adapted as convenient to:    

  • Disseminate the concept of RRI.
  • Empower as many actors as possible in following and implementing the RRI principles.
  • Help users find guidance and further information with the RRI Toolkit.

The following ppts are available:


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

  1. The speakers proposed 10 actions for a successful evidence-informed policy making
  2. You can read the online conference story
  3. Discover main highlights of the EU4Facts Conference in this 4 minutes video
  4. You can access the EU4FACTS Playlist which includes interviews with some of the main speakers of the Conference (13 videos)
  5. We also recommend you an interesting post - "EU4Facts: three take-home points from the JRC annual conference" - published by Paul Cairney in his blog 

 

 


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 


Thursday 14

Get to know the RRI Tools Training Showcases - developed to help bring RRI to life

Posted by RRI Tools on 14 Sep 2017

To help bring RRI to life in a concrete way, the project has developed a series of showcases, which give detailed descriptions of examples of RRI in practice. The showcases are accompanied by activities that help trainees think through the steps and resources involved in making RRI happen.

The Challenge Driven Innovation Scheme - Based in Sweden

Developed by the Swedish Innovation Agency (Vinnova), this programme funds collaboration in R&I within consortia of partners from different parts of society and has resulted in new working methods across the agency as a whole.

Check why this scheme demonstrates many of the RRI components and criteria.

The EPSRC’s Framework for Responsible Innovation - Based in the UK

When a major funder adopts key elements of RRI there’s a real incentive on researchers and their industrial partners to take note. The UK’s Engineering and Physical Research Council did just that in 2012 with its Framework for Responsible Innovation.

Check why this case shows that key elements of RRI do work for hard-nosed research and innovation teams.

The Fishery Benchmarking project of the IPMA - Based in Portugal

How can we expect workers in the fishing industry to provide marine scientists with data into how different species were faring, when those same data might be used to stop them fishing? This dilemma confronted — and was solved by — the Portuguese Institute of Marine and Atmospheric science by novel public engagement techniques.

Check why this case shows that RRI can provide win-win opportunities.

The Hao2 company - Based in the UK

Hao2 is a ‘social company’ that develops and sells 3D virtual environments. Although these products are used in a range of settings, from businesses to education, the company aims to increase opportunities for those with autism and other complex needs — 80% of Hao2’s workforce has disabilities such as autistic spectrum disorders.

Check why this case shows that RRI can provide successful business opportunities.

The Knowledge for Climate project - Based in the Netherlands

The Knowledge for Climate (KvK) programme aimed to make the effects of climate change comprehensible and manageable for the Netherlands, a priority for this low-lying country. It provides a model of a government, the research community, industry and citizens coming together to find socially acceptable solutions.

The Novo Nordisk Blueprint for Change - Based in Denmark

Novo Nordisk is a major pharmaceutical company that set out to challenge diabetes on the other side of the world. Using a “triple bottom line” of being socially and environmentally responsible, as well as financially responsible, it set out to ensure that diabetes sufferers received the treatment they need.

Check why this case shows that RRI can enhance “the bottom line” for all concerned.

The Social Innovation Factory - Based in Belgium

The SIF is a networking organization that organization that promotes, guides and supports social and societally innovative business concepts. It is a convener for different stakeholders. It is driven by a diverse community and is open to all individuals and groups.

Find out how the SIF succeeds in accelerating a shared culture of responsible innovation in Flanders and Brussels.

The Xplore Health project - Based in Spain

How should scientific and research careers be made attractive for young people? Xplore Health is a European educational programme that is a proof of concept on how to bridge the gap between research and secondary education with an innovative educational approach.


Monday 04

Two new online professional education courses on Responsible Innovation launched by TUDelft

Posted by Emad Yaghmaei on 04 Sep 2017

To support engineers and managers to deal with -and even get inspired by- pressing societal concerns and ethical dilemmas in their professional practice, TU Delft has launched two new online professional education courses: "Design for Values" and "Strategic Leadership for Responsible Innovation".

  • Design for Values (Start date: September 12, 2017) - Learn how to include ethical and societal values into the design of new technologies or products, and ensure a strategic win-win outcome for both society and your organization


For more info about the course you can download flyer from here and visit this webpage

  • Strategic Leadership for Responsible Innovation (Start date: October 31, 2017) - Do you know how to make an innovation a viable business model? Add a new dimension to your innovation process and discover the new business opportunities that arise from our Responsible Innovation (RI) approach. In this course you will learn how to make an RI strategy a reality in your organization.

For more info about the course you can download flyer from here and visit this webpage

 


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.

I know this is very controversial, but with climate this happens over and over. Climate is too complex to be predicted with any confidence by mathematical models. When a system has so many possible co-causes, effects may cancel out or be hidden by natural variability. Back in the 1960s, someone called this trans-science, to indicate those processes that can be studied scientifically but no solution can be found to the problems they create. We are unable to tackle some problems because of their dimensions. Science needs to learn humility and be prepared to admit it when a solution cannot be given.

 

Would consortiums of different centres and countries be a possible solution to tackle such a big problem?

Well, for example, the Human Genome Project was successful, but the idea that from human genome mapping we can infer relationships between genes and diseases has been much harder to prove. And this is exactly one of those cases in which the system has behaved as a complex system with emerging properties: you don’t detect those properties by cutting it into pieces and identifying a limited number of genes. For this reason, I believe there has been a considerable disappointment in the field of start-up companies trying to make a business out of using gene mapping. I am not saying it shouldn’t be tried, but we should beware of falling into this trap of reductionism.

 

Is post-truth reaching science too?

This post-truth story is very disingenuous. Now we have post-truth: why? Because we had truth before? I would strongly doubt this. Science was born in the 17th century as a combination of discovering nature purely for the pleasure of discovering nature and of dominating that very same nature. Both aspects contributed to science becoming the foundations of the modern state. But when modern markets developed, science increasingly became an instrument of domination, profit and growth, as well as the source of all kinds of wonderful things that we enjoy. This is no longer science for the sake of learning.

Yet these days, what is science for? Is it for the common good or for the profit of the few? So there is a collapse in the legitimacy arrangement between science and democracy on the one hand and science’s own governance on the other. This is the result of science being more and more in the market, even being a market itself. So for me there are two processes behind post-truth: the loss of legitimacy of science and knowledge as pillars of the modern state; and the collapse of the quality of science itself.

 

It seems that trust and confidence in experts is eroding... Why is this happening?

A classic example of this is the sugar story. It is explosive and I am surprised at how it passed by virtually unnoticed. People are progressively losing faith in science but I was expecting a much stronger reaction because the story is huge. Last year the journal of the American Medical Association published a report bringing to everyone’s knowledge the fact that the sugar industry has funded research that would focus attention on fat, in order to take the spotlight away from sugar. Can you imagine the consequences in terms of health effects this may have had? What if we calculate how many years of life have been lost e.g. to diabetes because of this gigantic act of corruption of research integrity?

 

What is the role of scientists, as individuals, in this crisis?

It’s relatively easy to get it wrong and think that you have discovered something. The physicist Richard Feynman said that “you are the easiest person to fool” because when you are looking for something, everything looks like that something. This is called confirmation bias. It means every scientist has a greater tendency to believe those results which he/she thought would be true in the first place.

 

Can biases like this be fixed?

You have to be tenacious, but also obsessed with the quality and accuracy of what you do. Thinker Jerome Ravetz understood scientists and their communities of practice very well. Everything that you do in the lab has many elements that you can’t find in the handbook, they have to be communicated from person to person. This is the unspoken element of a craft. Everything is personal in science, in these communities. But nowadays these communities have mostly disappeared. Science has become impersonal.

I can publish a paper and I don’t care if I am wrong, because after all, people know me through my impact factor. The higher my impact factor, the more brilliant I am, and so I am interested in publishing many papers even if they are wrong. And so, there are errors that can remain in the system for years and that nobody will ever find out.

 

Are people working on the edges of science more likely to be misled?

People who are really on the cutting edge of science are small communities and often less likely to make mistakes. Science can be spectacularly successful there. I am thinking, for example, of high-energy physics, or of the discovery of gravitational waves. It’s a triumph; it’s really something huge thanks to the tenacious effort of physicists.

 

In your opinion, what are the potential solutions to this crisis?

There are many good people doing very good work and they are trying to change the system from within. Munafò, Ioannidis, and other authors recently published A manifesto for reproducible science. We should really stop using things such as impact and citation factors, numbers which purport to describe the importance of journals and researchers. Also the peer review system has become very dysfunctional. There are recommendations for changing the situation, and I am all in favour of these approaches. We need something very powerful because I don’t think the system can heal itself.

 

Is there any collective effort attempting to solve these problems?

There has been an important declaration against the use of the impact factor to award grants. If you look at the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA Declaration) of 2012, it was a very important document and a very well designed set of recommendations for metrics, but nobody applies even part of them. If I want to earn a European Research Council grant they will look at my impact factor. And this brings us to the paradox that people of my age – who should be saying I don’t care about my citation numbers – are instead very careful about them.

Even when your ideological conviction is that these things are bad, you still use them, as do the research institutions that award grants. Why do they look at the impact and citation factors? Because the only alternative is to read the candidates’ papers, and this takes time. Students in many countries are requested to have three papers accepted in peer-reviewed journals to secure their PhD, and even here the quality check on the candidates is outsourced to the journals, instead of being performed in the faculty. Thus with all these driving forces, what happens is that there are 2 million papers published every year; a huge paper-generating machine.

 

Are you pessimistic in this aspect?

I am more pessimistic than optimistic, yes. In spite of all these declarations and manifestos just mentioned, it would be very difficult to fight the perverse incentives which head in the direction of cheating. If you love science you have to defend science and this implies being critical. But many people prefer to hide the problem because, they say, if you attack science you will jeopardize funding for science. But I wouldn’t be against jeopardizing funding for science if the science involved is not properly conducted. Why should we pay for bad science?

 

Taking into account the context you depict, can we identify initiatives that have led to an improvement at system level? Or any good practices that are already working to improve the current situation?

We can register – ironically, not as a suggestion for the west - that in China, prison terms or even capital punishment can be used against those who submit fake data in drug trials. 

Ironies aside, initiatives such as Brian Nosek’s Reproducibility Project in psychology, John Ioannidis’ Meta-research Innovation Centre at Stanford, and Ben Goldacre’s alltrials.net are all worthy undertakings which are not only setting about changing things, but also fostering a new climate of reform. Add to this Retraction Watch, which does an invaluable job in keeping up the pressure on journals and their editors. I am also convinced that the direct involvement of scientists on the side of citizens in societal and environmental problems is a precious contribution helping to generate trust between science and society. The case of water pollution in Flint, Michigan, and the role of scientist Mark Edwards, comes to mind here. Back in the seventies, a group of scientist-activists called the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science sought to change the world by first changing science itself: something of this sort is perhaps needed now.

 

Interview by Núria Jar for Social Observatory "la Caixa"


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.

You can download the RRI Dice from here. A ready to print-glue-use dice template plus a script with ideas of how to use it are ready for you to be put in action. We hope the dice will spark interesting conversations, useful starting points and will reflect one of the core principles of RRI: openness to discuss and share points of views about science, innovation and technology. Feel free to adapt the script and get in touch with us with your feedback.


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.

Important Dates

A two-stage selection process will be adopted and will follow a double quality check by the organisers:

  • 15th June 2017. A first stage will check a 1-page description about the relevance of the contributors’ talk with the main theme of the workshop
  • 15th July 2017. The second stage will ask for a full paper of 7-8 pages by July 15th. The papers will be reviewed by at least two organisers, only papers accepted / with minor corrections will be selected.

For more info visit https://rri-sis.wixsite.com/conference/earri17


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 – 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...)

And in the rest of round tables we saw different ways of improving social responsibility of business in the health industry.  And how social responsibility is indeed a competitive advantage, and we are not fully aware. 

The constellation of different constellations of participation is increasing dramatically; it is even difficult to keep track of them. 

I had certain feeling of urgency: that bottom-up structures (such as hackatons, patient innovators...) go much faster than the high policy level. The question is: are we really able to give appropriate answers to the requests of society in this sense? (from funding structures, from the policy level...)

The pace of innovation goes at a huge speed. And there is a certain surprise and paralysis by institutions to give appropriate answers.
But innovation has long times of return: it needs patient funding, it is very uncertain, it does not work linearly, and it is a collective endeavor...  And engagement processes and the implementation of RRI are processes of innovation themselves, which need governmental and paneuropean support. 

So what are the challenges? How do we fund good responsible innovation? How do we do engagement? 

  • Who are the stakeholders?  
  • Costs 
  • Regulatory barriers
  • Intellectual property
  • Safety, reliability
  • The most important challenge: changing mindsets of the community of people involved in co-design. Institutional change (Carlo Mango, Fondazione Cariplo)

And as advice: 

  1. Find RRI champions in organization. 
  2. Educate scientists:
    • Joint capacity building for all stakeholders (Magda Rosenmöller)
    • Thinking by themselves about societal issues
    • Ethics education should be mandatory in all disciplines (Alexei Grinbaum) 
    • But as well Magda Rosenmöller, who works in a business school: mapping skills
  3. Tools are not enough: RRI assessment service provider that assesses companies to make the change (Bernd Stahl)
  4. Broaden CSR to include R&I activities
  5. Next steps: labeling, standardization… Maybe. Let´s act. We have been thinking that RRI can be ISO standard for a long time. Do it!!!!!! B Corps is one best case to follow. 

Some other ideas:

  • The role of the State…??????  Is it disappearing in front of civil society, NGO's…????? Are we going from a representative democracy to a participative democracy to a….??
  •  How do we leave “the coalition of believers??

And as well: 

  • How do we improve collaboration and avoid double work (overlap) between different/ similar projects funded by the EC? Beyond the project based….
  • Funding structures. Ulrich Samm, EESC: collaborate!!!! (He said as well: make it simple!!!!)
    • New modes of funding - Crowd funding, as well venture philanthropy.
    • Foundations have been named several times as funders of innovative projects.
  • Ethics of invention. Increase of inequalities by technology. Risk. Different sectors

So it seems a extremely complex issue: engagement has to come with a deep process of reflexivity, taking into account ethical issues and moral values as inclusivity (as gender equality), transparency, responsiveness and it has to take into account the sustainability and desirability of the outcomes . But this is what RRI is all about. Nobody said it was going to be easy. 

Why doing it? Many reasons were brought up during the two days. 
Let's remember what is going out there:

  • Europe with increasing inequalities, where we are not assuring a better future for next generations, with a huge tension between the will of solidarity and the question of security 
  • Raise of (what some might call) populisms(and others): a normal reaction to those tensions
  • In a world dominated by science and technology with a huge separation between science and society (0,2% in H2020)
  • Opening the process of innovation and RRI is not the only solution for a better innovation. And its efficiency and positive impact is only a hypothesis. But it looks now as a quite strong one. "It looks mature enough". And we probably need to be courageous in the context that we are to do things differently. 

FP9 is a great opportunity to flexibilize funding schemes and incentivize more responsibility (no matter if you call it RRI, Open Science....) in research and innovation. 

Finally:
If you are worried about the costs we can remember the words of the champion of biomedical research and philanthropy in the 50's: "If you think biomedical research is expensive, try disease” 
I see ourselves now in a similar conundrum: If you think RRI is expensive, try irresponsibility, and we will continue finding ourselves in the situation that we are now. 
 
Thank you very much

Ignasi López Verdeguer is Director of the Science Department at “la Caixa” Banking Foundation

------------------------------------

(*) For more information about the Conference you can visit this page - there you will find programmepictures and presentations.

 

 

 

 

 


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.

Registration is now open, and while it is free of charge, seating is limited. The deadline for registration is 16.5.2017.

An interpretation will be provided from English and French into English and French.

For budgetary reasons, the Committee will not be able to pay transport costs and other expenses but participation in the event is free.

For more info see here


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 tea and coffee, over which I was struck by the overwhelming interest researchers held in ensuring their work is presented correctly to the public. My enthusiasm was further encouraged during the workshop by a press conference style discussion with academics who shared their experiences with the media. The session focussed on the potential dangers of communicating with the media and how researchers can avoid these dangers. Overall it became clear that communication is key! The take home advice we were given at this point was to be clear with our message and stick to our guns.

After a break (and further caffeine hit) it was time to take on the panel of journalists! The insights they provided were fascinating and did a lot to improve my perception of science journalists. In the past, I attributed any misrepresentations in the media to the extreme pressure placed on journalists to create an interesting story. Although the journalists agreed the pressure is extremely evident, they made it very clear they don’t want a mistake published as it would tar their name.

To round up the insightful day, we discussed the exciting ways we, as early career researchers, can participate in public outreach making it apparent that whether you’re a public speaker or more of a computer whizz, you can find ways to promote the momentum of your research in an approachable, interesting way. The workshop I attended in the UK focussed on the media and was detached from policy making meaning the event in Brussels will have an extra focus! The additional time to talk with policymakers makes the ‘Standing up for Science’ workshop in Brussels an amazing opportunity not to be missed. I can guarantee, it’s a brilliant way to spend your day!

The workshop is free to all early career researchers (PhD, postdoc etc.) and scientists in all sciences, engineering, medicine and social science. To make the most of this amazing opportunity apply through this link before 09.00 on 09/05/17 or click here for more information. If you want more information on the event, contact Sofie Vanthournout (svanthournout@senseaboutscience.org).


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.

 
Requirements

  • A PhD degree in Science and Technology Studies, or one of the Social Sciences or Life Sciences in combination with STS;
  • Strong skills in designing, organizing and executing qualitative research, especially interviews and ethnographic fieldwork;
  • Pertinent scientific publications;
  • Fluency in spoken English and excellent writing skills in English. Fluency in Dutch is considered an asset, but not a condition;
  • Strong analytical capacity;
  • Willingness and proven ability to work independently, but also to execute the research project in concordance with the other subprojects in the program.

 
Contract type: Temporary, for two years 

 
Employer: Universiteit Leiden


Leiden is a typical university city, hosting the oldest university in the Netherlands (1575). The University permeates the local surroundings; University premises are scattered throughout the city, and the students who live and study in Leiden give the city its relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere.

Leiden University is one of Europe's foremost research universities. This prominent position gives our graduates a leading edge in applying for academic posts and for functions outside academia.

 
Department: Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences 


The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences comprises four institutes: Education and Child Studies, Political Science, Psychology and Cultural Anthropology & Development Sociology. The Faculty also includes the Centre for Science and Technology Studies. The Faculty is home to 5,000 students and 600 members of staff. Our teaching and research programmes cover diverse topics varying from adoption to political behaviour. 

The Science and Evaluation Studies research group focuses on a) developing a theoretical framework on the politics of contemporary research assessment; b) gaining a deep empirical understanding on how formal and informal evaluation practices are re-shaping academic knowledge production; c) contributing to shaping contemporary debates on responsible research evaluation and metrics uses (including policy implications). The group is led by Sarah de Rijcke and is based at CWTS in Leiden. The centre studies the dynamics of scientific research and its connections to technology, innovation and society. Additional information about Leiden University and CWTS can be found on www.universiteitleiden.nl/en  and https://www.cwts.nl/. 

 
Additional information


Specific information about the vacancy and a more detailed project description can be obtained from dr.  by email s.de.rijcke@cwts.leidenuniv.nl.


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.
 
Extended Job Description

Climate change requires new green technologies and transitions in socio-technical systems. A key leverage points for this transition is found in sustainable entrepreneurs (Gibbs 2006), who establish New Technology Based Firms (NTBF’s) providing innovative solutions (Leach et al. 2012). Sustainable innovations are developed and diffused into society through sustainable entrepreneurship (Schaltegger and Wagner 2011). The sustainable innovations provided by NTBFs can be considered responsible innovations (RI), since they address so-called ‘grand challenges’ of our time, such as climate change (European Commission 2013), but they are also associated with a range of socio-ethical issues. In this research project, two post-docs explore how dimensions of RI are applied by 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 that NTBFs operate in can be conductive to RI. Post-doc one will focus on the actor level of NTBFs involved in climate-smart agriculture, water, and energy systems, whilst postdoc two will focus on the systems level. 

Post-doc one already started to explore how sustainable entrepreneurs manage socio-ethical factors at the actor level, and 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? 

To this end, post-doc two will examine the existing innovation system involved in sustainable agricultural, water, and energy systems in the Netherlands, and compare it with the emerging innovation system associated with the circular economy (CE). The creation of a CE requires a shift from a linear ‘take-make-dispose’ economy, to one that circulates materials in closed loops, reducing resource use and minimising waste. The economy within the EU is still largely based on a linear model, meaning 95% of material and energy value is lost; this includes for example the wasting of 1/3rd of food along the food chain (Mckinsey & Co. 2015). Adjusting to a CE could save business 8% of turnover and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2-4% (European Commission 2015). Achieving the transition to CE requires cross-firm integration and coordination, meaning careful design, heightened awareness, and consensus-building between a range of different stakeholders (Zhu, Kraemer, and Xu 2006; Aravendan and Panneerselvam 2014). We expect that the circular economy may provide an alternative innovation system in which the barriers of the application of RI by NTBFs are mitigated because of its strong normative focus, focus on inter-firm and chain collaboration, and the acknowledgement of the carrying capacity of the eco-systems of planet Earth.
In the context of a CE system, which constitutes a radical and transformative change, socio-ethical issues and their management can be expected to be quite prominent. The management of socio-ethical factors by sustainable entrepreneurs is likely to be impacted by supply chain dynamics for example – developing innovations for CE requires an understanding of the whole system, and collaboration with a wide range of actors. Ensuring that products have longer life cycles, means that they are often more expensive (due to the internalisation of externalities). This raises public good issues, as the costs are private, but the benefits public. In this respect, the institutions governing the design of the CE could provide support for the application of RI practices by NBTFs. 

Equally, RI by NTBFs could offer an opportunity to better manage the development of CE. CE require radical and transformative innovations, likely to impact large numbers of actors (which could result in socio-ethical barriers). Managing these different stakeholders, their differing expectations and interests is challenging. These challenges could be eased by following a RI process. Stakeholder engagement for RI can help prevent rebound or rejection.

Key questions include how the relationship dynamics/inter-firm linkages between different actors involved in the RI delivery ecosystem impact the management of socio-ethical factors by NTBFs, whether these processes represent a driver or barrier to RI in NTBFs, and whether RI can be seen as a supportive factor in the transition to CE. In order to answer these questions, postdoc two: 
1.    Will initially conduct a desk based review of relevant literature. It is expected that relevant concepts will/could be drawn from innovation system theories, circular economy/industrial ecology (cf. Graedel and Allenby 2010; Murray, Skene, and Haynes 2017), transitions management, sustainable entrepreneurship, and responsible innovation literature to identify key concepts and constructs. These will then be developed into initial frameworks and interview schedules. 
2.    Will map the innovation system in the Netherlands and the emerging CE innovation system. This task will involve the identification of the key system agents, such as relevant research and development organizations, public sector actors, policy schemes, financial actors and key industry organizations.  The character and nature of the linkages between these agents, and their motivations/interests will also be explored. This process will utilize both desk-based research as well as the conducting of 30 interviews with system agents. By collecting this information, an examination of how the system operates and what the roles of the different actors are, will be possible. In turn, this will provide information on key systems drivers or barriers to RI, as well as how RI could play a role in the development of CE.
3.    Will use these results in order a) to identify key system drivers and barriers for the management of socio-ethical factors in the innovation and start-up process (RI), and (b) provide insight of how and to what extent RI could play a positive role in facilitating the transition towards CE, such as enhancing societal embeddedness of innovations.  
Till now little is known about the driving and blocking factors that determine the development process from a linear towards a circular production model, nor the type of innovation system required. Conceptually, CE lacks consideration of social and ethical dimensions, meaning there is little understanding of how these factors impact system transition (Murray, Skene, and Haynes 2017). Finally, the potential advantages of CE for the further development and implementation of RI is not researched yet, neither is the role RI could play in the transition toward a CE. This research project therefore has potential high scientific and societal impact.  
 
Requirements

For this research project, which is funded by NWO-MVI, we are looking for a post-doc researcher in the field of sustainable entrepreneurship, responsible innovation (RI), systems change and/or circular economy. You are an ambitious scientist and a team player, devoted to research and education. Ideally, you have completed your PhD in the field of business administration, Responsible Innovation or science and technology studies, with a clear focus on one or more of the following fields: 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.

You are interested in research in combination with hands-on consultancy and advice, and have preferably experience with business modelling in practice.

Furthermore, you have built a strong international research network or you are in the process of building one. You have the ability to acquire externally financed projects and like to work in an interdisciplinary context. You are fluent in English and have published in international refereed scientific journals. Women are strongly encouraged to apply.
 
ABOUT THE PROJECT TEAM

Wageningen University is part of Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR), which is a leading international knowledge institute in the fields of nutritional health, sustainable agricultural systems, and environmental quality. WUR consists of Wageningen University, eight research institutes, two applied research institutes and a training and advisory centre. WUR has 6,500 employees and over 4,500 students. The research institutes carry out strategic, applied and practical research for businesses, governments, and stakeholder groups. The research institutes and university work together closely in five areas of expertise: Social-, Plant-, Environmental-, Animal- and Agrotechnology & Food Sciences.

The Social Sciences Group (SSG) of WUR consists of the Department of Social Sciences which consists of 22 Chair Groups, the Agricultural Economics Institute (LEI) and the Centre for Development Innovation (CDI) and has approximately 750 employees. The Social Sciences Group combines the strengths of scientific research and education in the field of people and society and is extremely qualified to support governments, companies, and civil-society organisations in the choices they have to make. SSG is involved in various national and international projects. 

The management studies group (MST) conducts leading research in the field of chain and network science, with a special focus on stakeholder engagement, (responsible) innovation and internationalization. MST offers and contributes to a broad range of different educational programs for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Central in MST’s research program is the quest for understanding and managing the rapidly developing international chains and networks, with a special focus on stakeholder engagement, societal- and ethical dimensions of innovation processes, innovation management, technology adoption, transparency and sustainability. 

The research project will be embedded in the management science chair group. Dr Vincent Blok is working at the management science chair group as associate professor. He is expert in the field of RI, sustainable entrepreneurship and business ethics and currently supervises 10 PhD’s and 1 Post-doc in these fields. Next to the Management Science chair group, the knowledge, technology, and innovation chair group is involved in this project. Prof Phil MacNaghten has extensive expertise in the governance of science and technology and in the development of frameworks of responsible (research and) innovation. 
 
PRACTICAL INFORMATION ON INTERVIEWS
The starting date of this position is May 1 2017. Interviews are planned for 12th April.
 
HOW TO APPLY
1.    A letter of application detailing why you are applying for the job and how the project will benefit from your participation.
2.    A full cv.
3.    A two-page document setting out how you would approach this research project (appropriate theories to be used, research design and data collection approach).
 
The deadline for applications is April 9, 2017, 2017. Please do not email your application, but use the website to upload your application: http://www.wur.nl/en/Respond-to-vacancy-page.htm?vacancyurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.connexys.nl%2Fwageningenurpublic%2Frun%2Fregister%24.startup%3Fz_f_taal%3D2%26z_kan_advertentie_id%3D38404 .
 
INFORMAL INQUIRIES

Before submitting an application, you may wish to discuss the post further by contacting Vincent Blok on vincent.blok@wur.nl (06-41667469)
 
Reference list: 

  • Aravendan, Muthusamy, and Ramasamy Panneerselvam. 2014. "An Integrated Multi-Echelon Model for a Sustainable Closed Loop Supply Chain Network Design."  Intelligent Information Management 6 (06):257.
  • European Commission. 2013. "Options for Strengthening Responsible Research and Innovation." In, edited by Expert Group on the State of Art in Europe on Responsible Research and Innovation. Brussels: European Commission 
  • European Commission. 2015. "Circular Economy Package." In European Commission - Fact Sheet. Brussels European Commission 
  • Gibbs, David. 2006. "Sustainability Entrepreneurs, Ecopreneurs and the Development of a Sustainable Economy."  Greener Management International 2006 (55):63-78. doi: 10.9774/GLEAF.3062.2006.au.00007.
  • Graedel, T. E., and B.R.  Allenby. 2010. Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Engineering Pearson.
  • Leach, Melissa, Johan Rockström, Paul Raskin, Ian Scoones, Andy C. Stirling, Adrian Smith, John Thompson, et al. 2012. "Transforming Innovation for Sustainability."  Ecology and Society 17 (2). doi: 10.5751/ES-04933-170211.
  • Mckinsey & Co. 2015. "Europe’s circular-economy opportunity." In. USA: McKinsey & Company 
  • Murray, Alan, Keith Skene, and Kathryn Haynes. 2017. "The Circular Economy: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of the Concept and Application in a Global Context."  Journal of Business Ethics 140 (3):369-80. doi: 10.1007/s10551-015-2693-2.
  • Schaltegger, Stefan, and Marcus Wagner. 2011. "Sustainable entrepreneurship and sustainability innovation: categories and interactions."  Business Strategy and the Environment 20 (4):222-37. doi: 10.1002/bse.682.
  • Zhu, K. , K.L.  Kraemer, and S.  Xu. 2006. "The Process of Innovation Assimilation by Firms in Different Countries: A Technology Diffusion Perspective in E-Business."  Management Science 52 (10).


Monday 06

Save the date: Conference on RRI in the Health Industry

Posted by RRI Tools on 06 Mar 2017

Conference “Responsible Research and Innovation in the Health Industry”

To be held at the EESC premises, in Brussels, on 18 and 19 May 2017. Co-organized by the EU project Responsible-Industry, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and the European Economic and Social Committee 

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 conference will discuss how RRI can help to boost innovation in biomedicine and health with a special focus on 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. 
 
Program and registration will follow soon. Join us in the discussion at the EESC premises on 18 & 19 May and share your view. For budgetary reasons, the Committee will not be able to pay transport costs and other expenses but participation in the event is free.

Contact: int-events@eesc.europa.eu


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.

Candidates should have a PhD in a relevant field (or equivalent experience in a relevant setting), and should provide strong evidence of potential for research and publication at the highest level, as well as interest in engagement with policy and technology communities. Relevant fields include: Science and Technology Studies; Public Policy; Political Science; Computer Science; Economics; Law.

The closing date for applications is 5 March 2017. For more info see here


Friday 17

Two job offers in UK

Posted by RRI Tools on 17 Feb 2017

  • Institute Administrator at University College London - The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources

The UCL Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources delivers world-leading learning, research and policy support on a range of societal challenges including climate change and energy security. Located within the Bartlett faculty, the school is comprised of four institutes: the Institute for Sustainable Heritage, Energy Institute, Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, and Institute for Sustainable Resources. The post holder’s responsibilities would be to the Energy Institute Please see http://www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/bseer for further information.

The UCL Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources has an exciting opportunity for a proactive and enthusiastic administrator to join the administrative team to support the Energy Institute with a range of communications and administration duties. They will be responsible for the Institute’s communications, including its website, social media, drafting printed materials and events. The post holder will provide personal assistance to the Institute’s Deputy Director.

More info here

  • Research Director at NatCen Social Research 

At NatCen Social Research, we're driven by the belief that social research has the power to make life better. Our research works for society by providing a rich understanding of people's lives and enabling them to have a powerful and influential role in shaping social policy decisions. It is used by policy makers, practitioners, academics, the media and the public as a driving force behind increased understanding of the environment we live in and how it's changing.

We are recruiting an exceptional research professional to join the Household Surveys team in our Survey Research Centre. The Household Surveys team deliver rigorous social research surveys across a wide range of policy areas. These include some of Britain’s best known social surveys such as the English Housing Survey, the National Travel Survey and the Family Resources Survey.

We are looking for an accomplished professional with strong leadership and project management skills, which include the organisation of people, projects and resources. The successful candidate will have a leading role in our Survey Research Centre as part of our London based team. You will need to be a first class communicator with a proven track record of building robust and prosperous relationships with partners and potential clients.

Strong research skills are essential, with particular experience of survey design using quantitative research methods. You will be responsible for delivery of complex surveys to time and budget from initiation through to reporting and dissemination. An interest or track record in research into income and poverty would be beneficial but is not essential. You will also be enthusiastic and proactive about business generation at NatCen, helping to identify new funding opportunities and leading on successful tenders and grant proposals.

For more info see here


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.

 

(*) This interview was recorded at the RRI Tools Final Conference, Brussels, November 21st - 22nd 2016.


Monday 06

The webpage of the RRI Tools Final Conference is now online

Posted by RRI Tools on 06 Feb 2017

We are happy to announce that the new webpage of the RRI Tools Final Conference is already online - if you visit the page you will find the main materials and outcomes of the conference: videos, presentations, pictures, booklet, link to posts in the blog, etc.

The Final Conference of the RRI Tools project was both a celebration of three years of intensive work and an "open market" to share and exchange ideas on how research and innovation can be built further on more open and responsible foundations. This final meeting was the icing on the cake of an enormously creative and successful project. More than 250 people attended, representing a full range of R&I actors at regional, national, European and global levels.

Visit the webage and get a real feel for what participants discussed and what the two days produced!

 


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