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The ICM-CSIC publishes a Guide to promote non-sexist and inclusive communication at the Institute

The ICM-CSIC publishes a Guide to promote non-sexist and inclusive communication at the Institute

The document, which is one of the measures of the Institute’s Gender Equality Plan, contains tools, resources and guidelines for non-sexist use of communication.

The Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC) in Barcelona has published a Guide for the use of inclusive and non-sexist communication aimed at all the centre’s staff. The document, which is part of the actions included in the ICM-CSIC’s Gender Equality Plan, provides communication resources, examples and guidelines that address the specific reality and daily activity of the Institute.

The Guide has been developed by ResBios and LeTSGEPs project teams, in collaboration with the ICM-CSIC’s Outreach and Communication Office and the ICM-CSIC Equality Working Group.

“As stated George Steiner, ‘what is not mentioned does not exist’. Inclusive communication is not a formality, it is part of the strategies to make not only make visible the presence of women, but also to highlight their contributions to science and society and help them become referents in areas where they have been excluded,”

says gender expert Sílvia Donoso.

In this sense, adds Esther Garcés, member of the LeTSGEPs project, “despite the importance of ensuring inclusive and non-sexist communication, some research centres have instruments that are often too generic and do not respond to the needs and activities of the different institutions. Hence the importance of this Guide, developed especially with the ICM in mind”.

From her part, Janire Salazar, one of the ResBios members, points out that “we need to be aware of the way we communicate in science, since it can often be discriminatory and excluding, and provide tools such as the one we have just presented, which incorporate the gender perspective in language”.

Resources, recommendations and strategies for non-sexist language

The Guide is structured in six chapters that include an analysis of how sexism and androcentrism are transferred to language, a compilation of resources and strategies for a non-sexist and inclusive use of language, recommendations on the use of images and implicit contents in texts, tips for oral and visual communication, and a glossary of frequent use in the workplace that includes a series of alternatives to achieve an inclusive and non-sexist use of language. Overall, the aim of all these resources is to facilitate the task of drafting documents.

For example, the document recommends using inclusive terms to refer to groups made up of women and men, such as “scientific staff”, “technical staff” or “administrative staff”, instead of the generic masculine, which makes the presence of women invisible. In the same way, this inclusive and plural vision is to be transferred to the field of visual communication, in order to offer a real image of the centre’s staff.

“We have the tools, but it will not be easy to achieve an inclusive and non-sexist communication in the Institute without the commitment of all the staff. This is the challenge”

emphasise the authors of the Guide, who are aware that there is still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in the centre, although they are optimistic and convinced that the change is possible.

Click below to read the guide

Guide for the use of inclusive and non-sexist communication

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Fruitful collaborations

Fruitful collaborations- Resbios publications

Throughout the ResBios project, our partners have been using this opportunity to mutually learn from each other, both to help each other develop robust RRI initiatives in their respective research institutes, but also using the opportunity to combine their expertise and conduct and publish research papers across the field of biosciences.

Recently our partners from the University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture (UNIZG-FAZ) in Croatia, and the University of Primorska in Slovenia, have collaborated on a number of papers focusing on ecology and sustainability, combining their expertise in genetics, ecology and the environment to conduct research on chamois, key stone species of even-toed ungulates (related to antelopes, sheep, and goats) that play a role in maintaining the ecosystems of the Northern Dinaric Mountains of Croatia, a region that is of great environmental significance. Chamois, as iconic alpine species, play a crucial role within its niche, by helping to maintain grassland through grazing activities, providing suitable habitats for many plant, insect and bird populations, as well as being an important prey species.

However, the Balkan chamois subspecies, which inhabit Dinaric Mts, is endangered. Populations are isolated and their numbers are critically low due to many treats such unsustainable management and illegal poaching. Preserving their genetic diversity is crucial to allow future adaptation to climatic and landscape changes in mountain environments.

Through this collaboration, we can learn more about the genetic health and distribution of the Balkan subspecies, and help protect the environment they call home.

Find out more about this research below:

The Balkan chamois, an archipelago or a peninsula? Insights from nuclear and mitochondrial DNA

A Mother’s Story, Mitogenome Relationships in the Genus Rupicapra

As well as this, the team at UNIZG-FAZ has also been researching the introduced species of aoudad, an ungulate native to the mountain ranges of North Africa, but introduced to several locations in Europe for hunting purposes. With the hope of understanding the sustainability of all European populations, they analysed their population structure and genetic structure. Based on the results they were able to reconstruct probable introduction routes and origins of European aoudad populations.

Population structure and genetic diversity of non‑native aoudad populations

Stay tuned for more updates and publications!

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Reaching out to our friends and colleagues in Ukraine

ResBios- reaching out to our friends and colleagues in Ukraine.

All of the ResBios team were holding their breath and hoping for the best last week, but when Russian troops crossed Ukraine’s borders on Thursday 24th of February, words cannot describe how saddened we all were. So now, our thoughts go out to all the people of Ukraine, as well as to our friends and ResBios colleagues at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. Over the past three years, it has been our pleasure working alongside our Ukrainian friends, and there is nothing more we could hope for more than a swift resolution to this conflict, and an opportunity to see our friends, their families, and their fellow citizens safe and well.

The European Union was created to help heal old wounds, and to try to ensure that the atrocities of the past do not repeat themselves, and EU projects such as ResBios and countless others, help to cement these bonds of friendships and sense of collaboration, and to help improve the world for the better. And although a sad cloud has settled over the EU, we hope that we can all Ukraine weather the storm and come out the other side. And over the weekend we saw people all across Europe,coming together to make their voices heard and to speak out for the people of Ukraine, with protests even being held in St Petersburg.

These last couple of years have been difficult for all of us, but the trials are not yet over. We must all continue to stand together and make sure that we do whatever we can to help bring this to a peaceful conclusion, as soon as possible.

We hope for the best and we will continue to strive to do whatever we can to help, and like the rest of the EU, we hope to see our friends safe and sound, very soon!

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Keeping Women in STEM Careers- Fixing the Leaky Pipe- Webinar

Keeping Women in STEM Careers- Fixing the Leaky Pipe- Webinar

As part of the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC) Awareness month. The ResBios project is taking part in a discussion on Keeping Women in STEM Careers- Fixing the Leaky Pipe. on Feburary 22nd at 15:00 CET

Featuring contributions from:

Prof Doris Elster – Biology and Science Education, University of Bremen- “Interest and Recruitment in Science – Why Women choose STEM Studies”

Prof Natalia Marek- Trzonkowska– International Centre for Cancer Vaccine Science, University of Gdańsk- “Why so few women reach professorship positions in science and how we can change it”.

Following these presentation the floor will then be opened for questions and comments from the audience to discuss these issues further and share experiences and collect feedback.

If you are interested in taking part in this discussion please click here to register.

The Webinar will be presented in English and hosted via Zoom. Link and reminder will be timely provided.

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Ticked off the TODO list – ResBios and the University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture are opening up science.

Ticked off the TODO list – ResBios and the University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture are opening up science.

In September of 2021 our friends from the University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture, attended the TODO National Open Data Conference (NODC2021) as representatives of the ResBios project. The aim of NODC2021 is to bring together decision-makers, public servants, businesses, researchers, and citizens from across Croatia who are interested in the promotion and dissemination of open science projects across the Republic of Croatia.

As a part of last year’s conference the team at University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture presented their findings from a study they conducted at their Faculty to determine how the frequency of academic and scientific papers being written by the academic staff within the University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture had changed over the past decade, and to determine if open access publications and resources were being utilised by other university staff and students. This analysis was conducted using data collected from the Web of science platform (with filters for Open Access publications), as well as by conducting focus group interviews, and issuing questionnaires to students, researchers and librarians. These surveys questioned the respondents’ knowledge and previous experience of using and submitting articles to Open Access journals. The results of these surveys showed that of those questions, 43.5% of the respondents had never heard of Open Access, 26.1% of the participants knew of Open Access but have never published a journal using this platform, and 30.4% had experience of publishing in Open Access journals.

Although from these results, it does seem to show that although the majority of those questioned from the University of Zagreb had little to no experience or knowledge of Open Access journaling, it must be taken into account that roughly 70% of those interviewed were master or early PhD students without publishing experience. On the other hand, the analysis of the data collected from the Web of science platform showed that the number of articles being published in Open Access journals by academics at the University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture has drastically increased over the past decade, as demonstrated in figure 1.

Figure 1. Number of Open Access publications affiliated to Faculty of Agriculture in the period 2010-2021 (WOS, accessed in September 2021)

This marked increase has been linked to a policy that is in place at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture since 2016. where faculty provides some financial compensation towards the submission of articles to Open Access journals.

Following on from the findings of this investigation, and feedback from fellow associates present at NODC2021, Resbios associates at the University submitted a new proposal that would allow for the opportunity for every PhD student to have their first article that they put forward to an high impact Open Access publication, the costs will be covered by the Faculty, and as of the 18th of January, this proposal has been approved by the Faculty governance board. Therefore moving forward, due to the efforts of our fantastic partners, we can expect even more Open Access papers to come from the University of Zagreb, and with that great recognition and knowledge of this form of publication model.

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Prof Ewa Łojkowska awarded Johannes Hevelius Award 2021 of the City of Gdańsk in life science

Prof Ewa Łojkowska awarded Johannes Hevelius Award 2021 of the City of Gdańsk in life science

We are happy to inform you that a member of the ResBios family, Prof. Ewa Łojkowska, has been awarded the Johannes Hevelius Award 2021 of the City of Gdańsk in life science. This most important scientific distinction in Pomerania was awarded to Prof. Ewa Łojkowska for her outstanding scientific achievements in phytopathological research, especially her work in genetics and diagnostics of bacterial plant pathogens.

The Johannes Hevelius Award of the City of Gdańsk, also known as the Pomeranian Nobel Prize, has been awarded since 1987 to representatives of the Gdańsk scientific community for outstanding scientific achievements. The awards are presented at a special ceremony held every year on January 28, Johannes Hevelius’ birthday. This year the ceremony took place online.

“The Jan Hevelius Award of the City of Gdansk is a great honour and distinction for me, especially as it was awarded for the first time for research conducted on plants and factors causing their diseases, and more broadly for research in the field of plant biotechnology and molecular phytopathology. I am very happy that the splendour of the award will be bestowed on plant biotechnology and my whole research team. I am honoured with the award also because Gdańsk is my beloved city, which I have chosen as the place to live as a forty-year-old fully matured in science and life. I am very satisfied that I could develop my scientific research in Gdansk at the unique in Poland Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of the University of Gdansk and Medical University of Gdansk.”

Prof Ewa Łojkowska said about the award:

Congratulations Prof. Ewa Łojkowska, all of us here on the ResBios project are very happy that your tremendous work is being recognised and we could not be happier to have you as a part of our fantastic team.

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Reaching Out and Stepping Up -How citizen science and RRI can enhance bioscience research- Webinar

Reaching Out and Stepping Up – How citizen science and RRI can enhance bioscience research

Since the onset of the COVID -19 pandemic, the impact of bioscience research on all of our lives has been made far too clear. However developments within this field of research will continue to have long lasting impacts on the world arounds us long after the current pandemic, from improving food security, mitigating climate change, protecting wildlife the environment, and continued medical advancements of all types, just to name a few. As the world continues to collide with the field of bioscience research, it has become increasingly important to include societal actors when we approach these fields of study. Many of the wicked problems we are going to face in the future will be closely intertwined with the biosciences and will directly impact everyone. So creating a society where communities feel like they can connect with research will play a key role in how we deal with these problems in the future, together.

Recently, getting people from the community to actively take part in data collection and research has become an increasingly popular method of getting society to feel connected to research. This is known as Citizen Science, and although it is a distinct practice, it certainly has links to Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) approaches, especially when it comes to open science and public engagement.

To explore the interconnectivity of these two approaches, ResBios and StepChange would like to invite you to join us for an online discussion March 28th (14:00-15:30 CET) about how RRI and citizen science can be used to enhance research, with a particular focus on open science and public engagement in the fields of bioscience research. By combining our shared experiences it is our hope to demonstrate the theory and practice of employing these principles and how they could be applied to future projects.

Click here to register for this event.

Featuring contributions from:

Dr. phil. René von Schomberg – the Kate Hamburger Kolleg, International Centre for advanced studies: Cultures of Research

Prof Carla Montesano – ResBios Project – Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata

Prof Elena Buzan – ResBios Project and Step Change – University of Primorska

Dr. Carolina Doran – European Citizen Science Association

Click here to register for this event.

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Enabling open science and societal engagement in research

Enabling open science and societal engagement in research

On the 1st of July 2021, the Science with and for Society (SwafS) organised a workshop to discuss what could be done to encourage open science and societal engagement initiatives within research organisations across Europe. Invited to this workshop were members of the European University Alliances under the European Universities Initiative and representatives from projects involved in the Responsible Research and Innovation institutional change portfolio, which included us at the ResBios project. Project leaders Daniele Mezzana and Carla Montesano, from Università degli studi di Roma Tor Vergata attended this online event and shared the experiences of our partner institutes who have been implementing grounding actions that focus on open access, open science, and societal engagement. This was also a fantastic opportunity to hear the experiences of project coordinators, and to learn about alternative approaches to this issue.

Throughout this discussion, three main institutional logics and how these approaches could best facilitate the uptake of open science were discussed throughout the workshop. These institutional logics included:

  • The Ivory Tower-grounded in the independence of researchers, who are free to pursue research with the primary goal of producing knowledge that contributes to
    understanding of the natural and social worlds
  • The Utilitarian University – places emphasis on ‘useful’ knowledge, impact and external partnerships. It can be thought of broadly as ‘applied research’, innovation and research that is aimed at meeting strategic policy challenges (e.g. ‘net zero’).
  • Managed Bureaucracy – This is a logic that supports, manages, and resources the other two logics, emphasising bureaucracy, efficiency, centralisation and performance.● Managed Bureaucracy – This is a logic that supports, manages, and resources the other two logics, emphasising bureaucracy, efficiency, centralisation and performance.

The insights and recommendations that were presented throughout this workshop have been formally written up and are as follows:
  • 1) Universities and other research performing organisations should make
    reforms to criteria, metrics and processes supporting researchers’ recruitment and
    career progression in order to reward open-science practices.
  • 2) The European Commission, national research funders and national policy
    makers should consider the institutionalisation of open science in universities and other
    research performing organisations as a long-term project for which they should provide
    leadership, co-ordination and sustained legitimation.
  • 3) The European Commission, national policy makers and research funders,
    universities and other research performing organisations should continue to
    make reforms to indicators, measures and processes utilised by them in project,
    programme, researcher and research unit evaluations to ensure these include
    assessment and evaluation of open-science practices.
  • 4) The European Commission and national research funders should continue to
    improve criteria, metrics and methods that underpin research proposal evaluation
  • 5) University ranking organisations should undertake substantial reforms to
    criteria, metrics and methods that underpin ranking systems for universities and career progression and reward for researchers who follow these pathways in order
    to reward open-science practices.

Further details on these recommendations, and additional information about the findings from this workshop can be found in the EU publication, Enabling open science and societal engagement in research.

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Barcelona Bound – Second Mutual Workshop

Barcelona Bound – Second Mutual Workshop

In the last week of November, ResBios held its second Mutual Learning Workshop. For many of us it was a fantastic opportunity to meet up in person for the first time since the onset of the global COVID pandemic, and those who could not make the journey were able to contribute to the workshop online. During this week the ResBios team were looked after very well by our wonderful partners from Instituto de Ciencias del Mar (ICM) in (not so sunny) Barcelona.

The two-day workshop was opened by ResBios project leaders Daniele Mezzana and Carla Montesano, from Università degli studi di Roma Tor Vergata. During this introduction, a little time was taken to reaffirm the good work that the project has done so far, as well as the importance of co-development and mutual learning for the ResBios project. In the early days of the project, partners were separated into two groups, either as RRI mentors or partners implementing RRI actions for the first time. Since this time however, it has become increasingly apparent that all ResBios partners still have so much to learn from one another, regardless of previous experience with RRI. This is why these opportunities to share and learn from each other are of the utmost importance for growing relationships with each other, and with society as a whole.

“We need mutual learning to exercise co-responsibility and to face complex challenges”

Daniele Mezzana, Università degli studi di Roma Tor Vergata

Over these two days, the overall aim of this workshop was to exchange our experiences so far in implementing RRI within our target institutes, and to learn from our peers; those within the project, but also gaining insights from other coordinators of related projects that use the RRI framework. From this we hope to learn how best to alter our approaches, as we move into the final part of the ResBios project and how we can ensure the long- lasting legacy of the project, another major theme throughout this week’s workshop.
This meeting was broken up into four key sessions, Challenges for responsible research in Biosciences, Mutual Learning in Action, Mutual Learning in Dialogue, and Networking for Responsible Research.
The workshop opened with a reflection on how the ResBios project has progressed since its inauguration in 2020, presented by the project leader from Università degli studi di Roma Tor Vergata. Following this, the current state of RRI and mutual learning, and how these approaches have changed over the past fifty years, was presented to the consortium by Wiebe Bijker of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and ResBios advisor, with particular emphasis on how the social contract between science and society has shifted throughout this period, especially in the field of biosciences. Janire Salazar (ICS Barcelona) provided also information about the application of responsible research in Ocean studies.

The first session focused on the journey of the ResBios project to date, detailing what actions have been put into place so far to promote the principles of RRI in our target institutions. Each delivery partner gave a state-of-the-art statement on the key grounding actions of the project, as well as presenting details of each of their plans for maintaining the long-term legacy of the project. Following this, we took some time to reflect on the experiences since the start of the project, featuring inputs from Andrea Declich (K&I), Janire Salazar (ICS Barcelona), Aglaia Pappa (Dimokriteio Panepistimio Thrakis), Mariia Nagalievska (Ivan Franko National University of Lviv), and Toni Safner (Sveučilište u Zagrebu Agronomski fakultet). After these presentations all workshop participants took part in group work, where all partners were provided some food for thought about the features of institutional change, and the long term legacy of the ResBios Project.

During the next session, the ResBios team had the privilege of hearing the experience of coordinators from two other EU projects, and learning how these related projects use RRI approaches within a different context. This included contributions from Stefan Philipp of the CHERRIES project, and Aïda Díaz from the GRACE RRI project. Both of these projects use RRI but in very different ways. CHERRIES use this framework to connect healthcare workers with the needs of society, to help address current issues within the modern health care institutes across Europe, and GRACE RRI, aims to create guidelines on how to implement long-term governance for research institutes and funding bodies across Europe, promoting “Science with and for Society”. This will be done by the creation of an eight-year road map for institutes to follow; and consequently, hope to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project’s outcomes. During this session, the consortium was also presented with updates from the projects delivery partners, where the ResBios Grounding actions have been implemented, including contributions from RRI mentors; Dimitar Djilianov (AgroBiotech Institute), Julia Holzer (University of Bremen); Magdalena Żadkowska and Natasza Kosakowska-Berezecka (University of Gdansk), Elena Bužan (University of Primorska) , and Carla Montesano (UNITOV).

In the final session of the workshop, the constorium were presented contributions from high representatives of the 4 RPOS, where ResBios grounding actions are under implamentation. This included presentations from:

– Josep-Maria Gili (ICM-CSIC) (in presence)
– Nikica Šprem (UNIZG-FAZ) (online)
– Yuriy Plevachuk (IFNUL) (online)
– Raphael Sandaltzopoulos (DUTH) (online)

Following this, Carla Montesano announced the development of an International Network for Responsible Biosciences (INRB), which was born from contributions made at the UNESCO Chair in Biotechnology and Bioethics of University of Rome Tor Vergata. The aim of the INRB would be to build a culture of knowledge sharing, co-creation, and co-responsibility between bioscience research institutes. During this annoucment, the ResBios consortium heard from external stakeholders and the project’s advisory board, including contributions from; Luiz Alcantara/Marta Giovanetti (FIOCRUZ, Brazil), Luiz Zerbini (ICGEB, South Africa), Pavel Ovseiko and Vasiliki Kiparaglou (both from the University of Oxford), who were able to provide some additional global context to the issues facing the biosciences.

The problems that science and society currently face will increasingly rely on the expertise and the work done by those within the field of biosciences as well as a combination of these disciplines. Moving forward, we all need to ensure that society has faith in the solutions and advice brought forward through these avenues of inquiry. That is why we need to continue to learn from each other, and adopt an increasingly transparent approach to the work we do, as well as promoting transdisciplinary and international collaborations between our organisations. In the future the “wicked” problems we will face will not have simple solutions, and we will all have to face them together. Therefore, by using the connections the project has created over the past 18 months and the long-standing links our partner institutes have, the INRB already has a good foundation to build upon, and by using the brand and recognition of the ResBios project, we can hopefully grow this network quickly.

Working closely with our advisors, we hope to start building our relationship with those within the INRB by promoting the good work done by other projects, sharing knowledge and relevant updates, and the organisation of webinars at which current issues can be discussed and addressed as a community.

We have so much to learn from one another, and it is the hope of the ResBios project that we can build a relationship between bioscience institutes so that we might better address the issues we will all face in the future. Let’s continue to work together.

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RRI Explained- A Podcast about RRI and Resbios

RRI Explained-
A podcast about RRI and Biosciences

As you might have seen already, the ResBios website describes Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) as … “an overarching policy strategy which aims to increase the intensity and quality of interactions between scientific research and society”.

Over the past decade, the field of bioscience has increasingly collided with the reality that most of us find ourselves in… with climate change, food security, health, and of course the COVID-19 pandemic, the biosciences affect us all on almost a daily basis. So it is more important than ever that scientists and researchers work hand in hand with society, to ensure that effective changes can be made to make the world a better place for all of us. But for this to happen, research institutes and universities need to do better when it comes to sharing the work they do and explaining how this research will directly impact the real world. This is where RRI comes in.

By actively addressing some of the key obstacles which are currently in place, we can hope to make long-lasting changes to the way researchers behaviour and think about the work they do, to increase the visibility of their work, and help make the field of bioscience more accessible to everyone. By tackling issues in how those in the field approach the topics of; public engagement, open access, gender, ethics, and education.

Through a series of podcast interviews with key project leaders and some animated short videos, we will explain to you exactly why each of the key pillars of RRI are important, and how by adressing these issues we can build a better relationships between science and society. ResBios hopes to promote these ideas within research institutes across Europe, and beyond.

Listen to the episodes so far by clicking here.

A selection of the speakers featuring in the first few episodes of RRI Explained, Dr. Elena Bužan, Prof Dimitar Djilianov, Dr Magdalena Żadkowska, Mr Daniele Mezzana, Dr.Carla Montesano, and Ms Saskia Tenberg

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