Towards a more inclusive research agenda for Horizon 2020

EFIMED has participated in the second workshop of an ongoing social lab on Responsible Research and Innovation in the FOOD programme for the Horizon 2020 Programme.

Photo: Valentino Marini Govigli

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) emerged in the H2020 programming period as a more advanced “process for better aligning R&I [research & innovation] with the values, needs and expectations of society.” It entails a closer collaboration between all relevant stakeholders to develop a more inclusive research agenda, with a special focus on gender equality, open access of knowledge, and ethics.

In the European Framework, RRI has been designed comprising six key areas: public engagement; gender equality; science literacy and science education; open access; ethics; and governance. The RRI agenda, launched through H2020, seems likely to continue into the new programming period post 2020, in the 9th Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

Social labs for responsible research

In May 2018, EFIMED was invited to participate in one of 19 social labs, spanning all H2020 programmes, as a part of the NewHorrizon project that aims to identify opportunities to evaluate the status quo and suggest improvements to further the implementation of RRI. At this workshop, EFIMED joined other experts (including stakeholders from research, business, policy making, education and civil society) to brainstorm innovative ideas for operationalising RRI in the FOOD programming area (agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, and bio-based industries).

Last year’s discussion kick-started ideas for pilot actions and activities to take place during the lifespan of the project. These preliminary RRI actions were:

  1. Increasing the role and participation of the general public in EU projects
  2. Developing guidelines for facilitating family life for those working in RI systems
  3. Developing ways to evaluate and reward research communication
  4. Developing a Europe-wide course on science education for PhD students
  5. Establishing a way to evaluate multi-actor approaches

In the second of three workshops to further develop these pilot actions, EFIMED returned with other social lab participants to beautiful Tromsø, Norway on 19 and 20 February 2019. During this second workshop, the ideas selected in the first workshop were further developed into concrete pilot actions that will be tested during 2019.

Pilot actions for 2019

  • Coordinators’ midterm reflection to evaluate multi-actor approaches in EU projects
  • Training module to reflect on existing second-generation gender/age bias
  • Workshop to support transnational R&I funding related to stakeholder engagement
  • An interactive platform to map stakeholders and facilitate consortium-building.

After implementation, a third workshop of the FOOD social lab will seek to review lessons learned and ways to carry these initial actions forward to other settings.

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Valentino Marini Govigli
Valentino Marini Govigli is Junior assistant professor (fixed term) at the Department of Agri-Food Sciences and Technologies, University of Bologna (Italy). He holds a PhD in Forest and Cultural ecology, a MRes in Ecology and Environmental Management, and a BAE in Economics. His fields of expertise are socioeconomics of agro-forest goods and services, consumer behaviour and stakeholder preferences, intangible ecosystem services assessment, social innovation brokerage and multi-actor engagement.