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The RRING network, the NewHoRRIzon and the ORION Open Science project recently held an online interactive roundtable on 3 September as part of the Euroscience Open Forum 2020, ESOF 2020 on "Joining forces for a global 21st century Responsible Research and Innovation Network". We are now inviting you to get involved and have your say!

The purpose of the session was to consider the number of projects and initiatives that are currently operating in this arena and the need for a global network that marshals the shared experience from European Commission funded projects and other important initiatives internationally. The session discussed how developing a network for RRI will make the most of existing know-how, results and impacts whilst ensuring that a sustainable vision for RRI is global in its outlook and engagement, it also considered a framework for RRI and what the challenges and benefits of this would be.

Potential benefits of a global RRI network

The roundtable was chaired by Dr Gordon Dalton, RRING Project Coordinator, MaREI University College Cork and featured initial presentations from Dr Erich Griessler – NewHoRRIzon project, University of Vienna and Maria Hagardt – ORION Open Science project, VA Public & Science.  All three projects are funded under the SwafS programme of Horizon 2020. It was then followed by an interactive discussion chaired by Emma Day, Vitae, utilising an online voting tool to prompt panel discussion. The panel consisted of John Crowley, UNESCO, Marion Boland, Science Foundation Ireland, Jessica Wyndham, AAAs and Gail Cardew, EUROSCIENCE.

Benefits of a global RRI network
Word cloud from Mentimeter poll at ESOF 2020 

The discussion was centred around two topics RRI frameworks and RRI networks. The audience were able to give their views to the expert panel by using the online tool. This led to some interesting observations. First, the idea of a global network was much appreciated:

  • A global RRI network would have a positive impact
  • A global RRI network should have tangible benefits including a communications platform or a mechanism for knowledge transfer, of least importance was networking without purpose.
  • There are several benefits to a RRI framework including advocacy for the approach and providing clear guidance – barriers and benefits must be connected
  • An RRI network should promote lobbying for and legitimisation of RRI and metrics for measuring impact.

However, there are still challenges ahead:

  • There remains a spread in how familiar people are with RRI – 31% of the participants of the roundtable did not know anything yet, whilst only 6% felt they were expert.
  • RRI is felt to be more of a priority for individuals themselves than for departments or institutions -This may demonstrate that the audience had a personal commitment to RRI and what it achieves but lack the opportunity to follow this at the institutional level.
  • RRI is felt to be more of a priority internationally than nationally, possibly reflecting the success of the EU in promoting Europe-wide RRI initiatives
  • Lack of incentives and research culture may stop individuals engaging with RRI

Get involved and have your say!

As a result of this discussion, the RRING team are now keen to seek wider perspectives on this topic. The discussion on how to build a global RRI network will continue and interested stakeholders will have an opportunity to contribute via the online survey. We also encourage representatives of all stakeholders to sign up for a 6 month trial of a global RRI Network. 

For more information about the RRING EU have a look at the project website.