March 9th, 2017

ingeborgIngeborg Meijer takes part in granted Horizon2020-SWAFS (Science with and for Society) project "NewHoRRIzon"

NewHoRRIzon is the acronym for “Excellence in science and innovation for Europe by adopting the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)”. This project  sets out to promote the acceptance of RRI in Horizon 2020 (H2020) and beyond. It will work out the conceptual and operational basis to fully integrate RRI into European and national research and innovation (R&I) practice and funding. The NewHoRRIzon consortium has 19 partners (4 Dutch), and the project is coordinated by the Institut für Höhere Studien (IHS) in Vienna, Austria. NewHoRRIzon was granted December 2016; the project will start in May 2017 and runs for 3 years.

The aim of the project is to establish altogether 18 Social Labs that cover all sections of H2020. Together with a wide-ranging group of R&I stakeholders, in these Social Labs, NewHoRRIzon will co-create tailor-made pilot actions that will stimulate an increased use and acceptance of RRI across H2020 and each of its parts. These pilot actions will address a variety of R&I actors such as academia, business, non-university research institutes, research funding organisations, policy-makers on European, Member State and global level, civil society organisations (CSOs) and the general and specific public(s) as they arise from technological controversies. Ultimately, the pilot actions to be developed and tested in the Social Labs will contribute to R&I projects that fully recognise the significance of RRI.

The role of CWTS in this project is on the one hand to help identify relevant H2020 projects from the database, that are suitable to include in the Social Labs. The other major topic CWTS is involved in, is to work on defining 'Societal readiness'. The notion of “society readiness level” (SRL) is considered to be a counterpart to the existing notion of “technology readiness level” (TRL). Qualitatively different from TRL, SRL will emphasise the social appropriateness of new knowledge and technologies, rather than technical/operational feasibility. SRL will be less interested in isolated marketability or commercialisation potential, but rather put focus on the alignment between the processes and products of R&I on the one hand, and broader societal demands and expectations – social, political, environmental, and economic – on the other. SRL is thus also about degrees of societal controversy and contention; adequate legislation and governance arrangements to mitigate adverse effects; and the existence of mechanisms to ensure involvement of citizens and societal actors in the production and assessment of new knowledge and technologies.

The SRL assessment will be co-constructed with the members of the Social Labs. Rather than imposing a fixed score, the project will collect and present data, which will inform discussions within the Social Labs about current SRL, but also about the necessary and possible ways of achieving increased societal readiness. Empirically, the SRL measure will build on a variety of qualitative and quantitative data including existing typologies of domain- and country-specific governance structures retrieved from previous European projects like Res-AGorA, MoRRI, and MASIS.

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