The ResBios 1st Mutual Learning Workshop

The ResBios project aims to root RRI practices in some research organizations in the field of biosciences, through specific Grounding Actions (GAs) aimed at fostering institutional changes. To do that, taken as a whole, ResBios intends to create a mutual learning (ML) environment.

Why the ML is important for the project? Today science as an institution is changing and receives more social pressure. Biosciences are at the core of all that, as one can easily see in this Covid-19 period. RRI is one of the possible ways to have some control – governance – over this change. But putting in practice RRI, and fostering real institutional changes, is a complex problem within a complex context. Today there is growing awareness that complex problems and challenges, where individuals cannot cope, can be better faced by learning all together: discussing, collaborating, exchanging information and knowledge about existing risks and opportunities.

Mutual Learning in ResBios will mainly take place through some types of activities, coordinated by UNITOV: working groups to deep RRI keys and dimensions; formative evaluation activities; annual Mutual Learning Workshops (MLWs), to bridge the different phases of the project.

ML activities foster a participative laboratory, that is a continuous process of action, dialogue, discovery, reflection, learning, re-action and re-learning among partners. ML is also a tool to gradually promote greater awareness of the issues related to the implementation of RRI GAs, empowerment of the ResBios partners, a reflection on the role of the researcher within the relationship between science and society today.

Besides the partners, various Quadruple Helix stakeholders will gradually be involved in this process, in view of the creation of an International Network for Responsible Biosciences, adopting an inter- and trans-disciplinary approach, as possible. The first MLW was organized online on October 26, at the end of a co-design phase, when the GAs have been planned. The aim was to build awareness of RRI institutional change. The core was a general reflection on the RRI approach, adopting a problem-setting spirit: first understand which are the challenges, then cope with!

During the first MLW, a presentation of the 15 Grounding Actions was made by the four implementing partners from Ukraine (IFNUL), Spain (CSIC), Croatia (UNIZG-FAZ) and Greece (DUTH), and a discussion was launched by K&I on some emerging critical themes and issues related to the GAs implementation. The “experienced partners” (that is those who participated in a previous RRI project in the field of biosciences, and for this reason have a role of mentors in ResBios) briefly presented their experience, then coordinated some working groups on relevant topics for the implementation of RRI GAs, that is: team building (UP); mobilization of actors (ABI/UNITOV); communication and visibility of the actions (UBREMEN, in collaboration with EUSEA); networking and relations with Quadruple Helix actors (UG). The role of the partners was discussed and the detailed planning of Mutual Learning activities was also launched.

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