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ORION is a 4-year project (runs from May 2017 to April 2021) that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Science with and for Society (SWAFS) Work Programme. The main aim of the SWAFS Programme is to build effective cooperation between science and society. Open science is a core strategy of the European Commission that involves widening participation and collaboration as well as sharing research processes and outcomes to improve research and innovation.

Our Aims

Orion will explore ways in which research and funding organizations in life sciences and biomedicine can open up the way they fund, organize and do research. The project aims to trigger evidence-based institutional, cultural and behavioural changes in Research Funding and Performing Organizations (RFPOs), targeting researchers, management staff and high-level leadership.

Our Vision

Our long-term vision is to “embed” Open Science and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) principles (ethics, gender, governance, open access, public engagement, and science education) in RFPOs, in their policies, practices and processes to organize and do research.

The Experiments

After an assessment exercise on Open Science awareness and practice, we will co-design and perform “co-creation experiments” with different groupings of RRI actors. Our experiments will tackle three specific challenges of Open Science:

  1. Opening up the research engine: ORION participating RFPOs will experiment with different and complementary approaches to embed Open Science in the way funding and research are organised.
  2. Identifying risks and opportunities presented by disruptive technologies: We will explore what risks and opportunities have technologies such as genome editing by CRISPR-Cas9 from a range of perspectives by engaging with multiple stakeholders – researchers, funders, patient associations, industry, and legal and ethical experts.
  3. Running multi-stakeholder Citizen science (CS) projects in fundamental research: We would like to involve multiple stakeholders in scientific projects from project conception to hypothesis generation, data collection, analysis and further exploitation in a CS project in life sciences and biomedicine. We would like to explore benefits for both sites researchers and citizens.

Expected Results

These challenges will serve as case studies to try out different co-design/co-creation methods with multiple stakeholders, and engaging unusual blends of actors, e.g. funders and citizens, or researchers, industry and citizens.

We will identify drivers and barriers, interests and values, and in some cases produce “prototypes”, in the format of new Citizen Science projects, new research strategies and new funding frameworks, and last but not least new training material.


orion leaflet