RRI community of practise in Austria

The Centre for Social Innovation – the Austrian “Hub”-coordinator for the RRI tools project – invited 15 guests to a full day workshop on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). The group of representatives of five different stakeholder groups (industry, science, education, policy maker and civil society) discussed the proposed definition of RRI and its main dimensions and process requirements. The group collected promising RRI practices and extracted strong and weak points of the discussed examples to be added to the RRI concept. Besides well known factors such as sustainability and different forms of public engagement and participation, the aspect of empowerment was highlighted, especially for intermediaries like teachers. Discussed was also the reach and accessibility of activities.

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Although on one hand locality and specific context are important, limited accessibility or boundaries of single projects are seen as burdens. Communication and established communication structures are crucial, not only for building up the communities of practice and networks of RRI, but also to overcome language barriers, as well as disciplinary and culture gaps.

The group suggested a common “code of conduct” on RRI as guiding principle. Awareness raising within all participating groups including researchers is required. Workshop participants also suggested extending the RRI concept into RSI, meaning science in general (including teaching), not only research. Also one should not forget the relevance of social innovations.
The group expressed the need for an Austrian platform on RRI, for exchange and information, but also for sharing resources on RRI: Materials and tools and “recommendations for actions” that could support RRI processes and contribute to the establishment of “intra- and inter-institutional institutionalization” of the concept. The heterogeneous group appreciated the initiative and expressed wishes for further collaboration.

(Author: Ilse Marschalek)