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Science with and for Society – Reducing Barriers to Engagement

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) aims to engage wider society in decisions regarding research and innovation.


Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) aims to engage wider society in decisions regarding research and innovation. The main benefits from RRI are that research and innovation will be better targeted to societal needs and enriched by social knowledge.  However, this requires that those responsible for establishing, funding and carrying out research and innovation programmes provide the right conditions for societal actors to engage.

Optimat is a partner in the PROSO project (funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme) which is working closely with ordinary citizens as well as third sector organisations, policy-makers, research funders and research institutions to understand barriers to such engagement and develop policy options to address them.  We recently published our preliminary analysis (available here) and will present our conclusions in Brussels on the 19th February.  A number of clear messages have come out of this process:

  • Transparency is essential for trust-building, participant satisfaction and the effective pursuit of the goals of engagement processes.
  • Both online and offline approaches are needed to broaden the number of participants, increase transparency and build trust.
  • A variety of perspectives should be understood as a valuable resource, and conflict as a productive element in an engagement process.
  • There is a need to develop a more elaborate culture to acknowledge the contributions that societal actors make in engagement processes.
  • Engagement should become natural without being a standard requirement.

If you would like to find out more please register for the newsletter and updates at www.proso-project.eu/ or come to our conference next month (register here).

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