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.

More information: comms@resbios.eu

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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.

More information: comms@resbios.eu

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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.

More information: comms@resbios.eu

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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.

More information: comms@resbios.eu

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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.

More information: comms@resbios.eu

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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

More information: comms@resbios.eu

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Save the date: 19th October

On the eve of Global Ethics Day, our partners at the University of Primorska will be hosting an evening of ethics! Discussing the role of ethics in research . This event will consist of two parts:

  • From 16:00 the University of Primorska will lead a Mutual Learning Workshop for members of the ResBios Project.
  • From 18:00 the University will host an open lecture on the current role of ethics in research, with a presentation from associate professor and senior research fellow, Tomaž Grušovnik.

This open lecture will discuss the role of ethics in research, with a particular focus on ethical methodologies and the justifiably expected results of ethical analysis.

In addition to this, Tomaž will briefly explain three general moral paradigms – utilitarianism, rule ethics, and virtue ethics, and will discuss how these ideas relate to modern reseach, and to environmental and animal ethics (land ethics and deep ecology), as well as a brief mention on the emphasis on willful ignorance.

Special attention will be dedicated to different models of professional attitudes at workplace (paternalistic, technical, cooperative, and friendly) and the web of main stakeholders in ethical judgement will be briefly presented (subjects, researchers, data, community).

To attend the open lecture on the 19th Oct at 18:00, please click here to register.

Deadline for registration is 12.00 CET on Oct 18th.

About the lecturer:

Tomaž Grušovnik is an associate professor and senior research fellow at the University of Primorska. His main areas of interest are ethics and the philosophy of education. He was a visiting Fulbright colleague at the University of New Mexico and a guest lecturer at the University of Oslo. During 2018-2020 he served as the president of the Slovenian Philosophical Society. He has written several books on his topics of interest and co-edited Environmental and Animal Abuse Denial (Lexington, 2020).

More information please contact either Laura Iacolina (laura.iacolina@famnit.upr.si) or comms@resbios.eu

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Resbios Policy Brief – mutual learning for RRI in biosciences

Resbios Policy Brief – Mutual Learning for RRI in Biosciences

After careful review, the team at Resbios is proud to share with you our Policy Brief No1. We hope to bring on changes in the field of Biosciences using the RRI framework, connecting research and the whole society. A mutual learning approach is proposed.

Have a flick through the virtual pages, to learn more about the ResBios project, what the quadruple helix is and how we use it to share RRI best practices, and the changing relationships between science and society.

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ResBios Open Dialogue: Gender & Career development versus COVID 19

ResBios Open Dialogue: Gender & Career development versus COVID 19

Over the past year and a half, the way we have all lived and worked has changed drastically. For many of us, we have been lucky enough to keep working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, although most of this work has moved to an online platform. Some of us might have struggled to adapt to begin with, but most of us have been able to transition to this new way of working, and as we start to lift covid-restrictions, it is becoming increasingly apparent that some form of home-working will persist beyond the pandemic.

However, what has been the impact of this move out of the office for long term career development? And has this had an effect on gender equality in the workplace? Have old fashioned gender stereotypes and perceived roles of women in the household held women back while working at home? And how might this impact the field of bioscience?

These are some of the questions we hope to address at our next ResBios Open Dialogue Webinar: “Gender & Career development versus COVID 19”

Save the date: May 28,2021- 15:00-16:30 CEST

Register here!: Fill in the form

ResBios is an EU-funded project which strives to implement innovative strategies based on the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) framework in the field of Bioscience. One of the major pillars of RRI is addressing gender inequality, and through these Open Dialogue events ResBios will discuss these issues and encourage change in research institutes across Europe and beyond.

This webinar will be presented by Resbios partners; the University of Gdansk and EUSEA,


Prof. Natasza Kosakowska-Berezecka– Associate Professor in the Division of Cross-Cultural Psychology and Psychology of Gender at the University of Gdańsk


Dr Magdalena Żadkowska – PhD, assistant professor in Institute of Sociology at the University of Gdańsk

Moderated by Chris Styles – Project Officer for ResBios and EUSEA

If you are interested in attending the webinar on May 28, at 15:00-16:30 (CEST) please click here to register.

More information: comms@resbios.eu

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Short course about Current Opportunities and Perspectives of Bioinformatics

Short course about Current Opportunities and Perspectives of Bioinformatics

The discovery of the structure of DNA occurred almost 70 years ago. Now scientists are able not only to decipher the structure of genes, but also to predict the function of each gene, their sequences, edit them and create new ones. All this became possible due to the development of computer technology and the emergence of a new direction in science – bioinformatics. Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that requires an understanding of both programming and biology. Bioinformatics is a science that analyzes molecular biological data. Such data can be genome sequences, protein structures, data on how genes work, in which tissues which genes are expressed and which are “silent”. This may be data on regulatory or protein-protein interactions. All this must be analyzed, and not just analyzed, but to make meaningful biological conclusions that are clear and interesting to classical biologists.

In biology, medicine and basic science, primarily to determine the sequence of DNA (genome), RNA (transcript – gene expression) and proteins (proteomes). The human genome allows us to approach not only the understanding of general biological and molecular processes in the body, but also to understand the individual differences between each person at the DNA level – it will help select effective drugs and treatment strategies for a particular person, diet and lifestyle, preventive examination plan, etc.
Bioinformatics is actively used to find the genetic causes of diseases. This helps to make an accurate diagnosis and prevent the development of the disease in carriers of potentially dangerous mutations. And with the development of DNA editing technologies, this will eliminate the causes of disease. Bioinformatics is also used to develop drugs that help conduct experiments on the computer, accelerating the discovery and production of the most effective pharmacological products.
The rapid progress of the biological sciences lays the groundwork for revolutionary changes in the treatment of various pathologies (malignant neoplasms, neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases, cardiopathology, etc.).
The team of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv is involved in the implementation and is the leader of the work package of the project “RRI in Education”. An important step in the implementation of the tasks of this work package of the project is the dissemination of knowledge about the latest trends in biology, in particular such areas as bioinformatics. Professor of the Department of Genetics and Biotechnology (Ivan Franko National University of Lviv) Bohdan Ostash is a well-known specialist in the field of bioinformatics and molecular genetics, so his knowledge and research experience is an inexhaustible source of scientific information not only for specialists in the field of bioinformatics, but also for the society. Therefore, his “Short course on current opportunities and perspectives of bioinformatics as a science” will be an important contribution to the dissemination of scientific knowledge among students, researchers and ordinary citizens interested in the achievements of modern biology. Do not miss your chance to hear about interesting facts and achievements of bioinformatics as a modern field of biological science. Do not forget to connect to meeting tomorrow using link:
More information: comms@resbios.eu

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