Experts from the Applied Research and Communications Fund are exploring how Bulgarian institutions, science, education and business are putting aspects of responsible research and innovation (RRI) into practice. Together with colleagues from 11 other countries from Europe and around the world, they are involved in a project that aims to encourage a broader and more meaningful consideration of responsible approaches to the science and innovation process. The three-year Responsible Research and Innovation in Practice project is funded by Horizon 2020.
The ARC Fund team presented a detailed overview of the strategic documents and the public policy dimensions of the topic, as well as the understanding of responsibility in research and innovation processes in Bulgaria. Despite the intense dynamics in the role and social functions of science and the many strategic concepts for its development, there is a need for more effective interaction and dialogue with all stakeholders in following a responsible approach in institutional, research or organizational practice.
The first discussion of the project brought together representatives of the scientific community, industry, academia, institutions and civil society organisations relevant to the topic. They commented on the five key aspects of the concept of RRI: ethics, public engagement, gender equality, open access to scientific information and science education. As a result, they focused on:
– The need for a shared understanding of responsibility in science and innovation that includes ways to objectify the social relevance of research;
– The promotion of good practices to strengthen the science-society relationship as a framework for promoting RDI in Bulgaria;
– The need to strengthen the functions of science in response to societal challenges and the search for models for active interaction between science and policy;
– Greater involvement of business in promoting responsibility initiatives in applied science practice;
– Higher quality education as a good basis for building a new generation of socially responsible young scientists.
The discussion launches the actual analytical work of the project. It is to be followed by activities related to the review of existing approaches within the organisations involved in the project. The aim is to define a longer-term perspective for the modernisation of institutional and organisational structures and models, as well as for the adoption of successful practices regarding aspects of responsibility in science and innovation.
The RRI-PRACTICE project is funded under the EU Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Science and Innovation and runs from September 2016 to August 2019. It involves organisations from 12 countries across Europe and the world, namely Norway, Bulgaria, France, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Italy, China, the USA, India, Brazil and Australia.