What does it mean to be responsible in science and innovation? In Europe and the United States, each year it is more common to find public calls that include in their evaluation criteria the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). However, many of the efforts to define and implement the concept have focused on these two areas.
Therefore, the Center for Studies in Science, Communication and Society of the Pompeu Fabra University as part of the GRECO project has focused on discussing this concept in other regions of the world, seeking to enrich it and adapt it to different social contexts. Thus, in the first week of April, a three-day intensive course entitled <<Considering Responsibility in Research and Innovation>> took place at the prestigious University of Sao Paulo (USP), at the Institute of Energy and Environment (IEE USP).
In this course, the participants explored how to make research projects, their processes and results more responsible, and to become familiar with the definitions, keys and dimensions of that concept. The dynamics were based mainly on practical and group work, in which the participants reflected on the RRI. Their deliberation, as well as the appropriate literature and the use of case studies, guided their work to co-create a research proposal that considered responsibility in all its forms, from open science, gender equality and inclusion to the ethics and anticipation, among others.
The course also featured some plenary sessions. Gema Revuelta, director of the center, and Luisa Barbosa, associate researcher, introduced the definition and dimensions of the concept, as well as outstanding examples in which it has been tried to put into practice. In addition, as a local representative, there was the participation of Professor Ana Paula Tavares Magalhães Tacconi, a doctor in history and advisor to the USP’s research vice-rectory, who addressed the current situation of the university in matters of open and ethical science.
At the end of the course, 16 researchers, laboratory technicians, teachers and administrators received their certification and reported their interest in implementing RRI practices in their professional field. In addition, when asked about key concepts associated with the word “responsibility”, the participants covered most of the aspects identified by the RRI experts.
With this step, the GRECO project, in which Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) participates along with institutions from five European countries and one Latin American country, continues the line of training that has already been in Spain and Germany. Our next destination will be Bulgaria.
Thus, GRECO seeks to put Open Science into practice through a solar energy research project. GRECO wants to demonstrate that greater social support leads to an increase in the use and integration of innovation products in this field. Thus, based on the principles of the RRI and citizen participation, GRECO proposes solutions to increase the useful life of the technology, reduce its costs with higher performance and bring innovations in agriculture and architecture. The project is funded by the Horizon 2020 program of the European Union (Grant 787289).