Horizon Europe and Responsible Research and Innovation
The research and innovation that draws on our taxonomic work has the power to transform the future of the society we live in. The social, ethical and political consequences are complex and far-reaching. How can we ensure that research and innovation best meets people’s values, needs and expectations, given the scale of the grand societal challenges we are facing?
Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion from 2021 to 2027. It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth. It takes a missions-based approach: commitments to solve some of the greatest challenges facing our world like fighting cancer, adapting to climate change, protecting our oceans, living in greener cities and ensuring soil health and food.
These missions build on a number of paradigms for research including that of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). RRI stands for a broad assessment of the societal impact that scientific advances can cause, to ensure that they meet the expectations of society. As a concept, it is key to creating sustainable and inclusive prosperity while addressing global societal challenges. As an ever-growing part of the European research landscape, this multi-actor context brings researchers, citizens, policy-makers, and businesses together to better align the overall research process, and its outcomes. With this also comes the inclusion of values and needs of society as well as joint contributions to tackle the urgent challenges we face. The aim of the RRI initiative is to provide a valuable incentive for all societal actors to work together and produce integrative, inclusive and sustainable solutions for the benefit of society.
In 2014, the signatories of the Rome Declaration on RRI in Europe called to make RRI a central objective across all relevant policies and activities, by underlining that Responsible Research and Innovation goes “[…] beyond alignment with society: it ensures that research and innovation deliver on the promise of smart, inclusive and sustainable solutions to our societal challenges; it engages new perspectives, new innovators and new talent from across our diverse European society, allowing to identify solutions which would otherwise go unnoticed; […] it assesses the risks and the way these risks should be managed."- read more?
CETAF and RRI
Natural science institutions are already engaged in these domains as the five RRI principles naturally underpin their numerous and varied activities, from exhibitions and educational programmes, to collection curation and scientific research. This exemplary status positions the CETAF community at the forefront of RRI implementation across all its member institutions via the scientists involved in collections-based research and the policies and best practices endorsed at the institutional level.
To establish a common understanding and provide guidance on implementing and deepening its engagement in the RRI concept, CETAF has defined a set of five basic principles that lead to action under each of the five RRI domains in their “CETAF Framework for Responsible Research and innovation – 5 principles to guide 5 domains”. Those values are inherent in the everyday activities of our research-performing organisations and anchor their pursuit of excellent science whilst upholding high standards for conducting responsible research.
The process of the creation of the CETAF Framework for RRI started in 2016 at the CETAF39 General Assembly in Budapest and found its culmination one year later with the publication of the document, available for download here. By employing a bottom-up approach, the CETAF RRI Framework is directly based on the input and experience of representatives and personnel from natural history institutions. - remove and keep the document in the right column?
As a reference, the open access to biodiversity data has been a tradition in CETAF institutions and is solidly embedded in its backbone. Moreover, natural science museums and botanical gardens are strongly engaged in science education and public engagement as these constitute part of its core objectives. Similarly, ethics is a central axis for research discovery and scientific development at the institutions, and according to the numbers in our institutional profiles, CETAF comes very close to an equal staff distribution between genders with 49% women and 51% men employed by the museums and botanic gardens that make up CETAF. -read more?
With this set of voluntary guidelines, we show our collective commitment to responsible science and how the entire community dedicates its scientific activity to serving society.
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Below are some useful resources regarding RRI:
Tools and Outcomes
RRI Toolkit – The RRI Toolkit is an output of the RRI Tools project, funded by the EU under FP7, that set out to foster RRI in Europe with a view to a harmonious and efficient relationship between science and society. An extensive search engine lets the user search for digital resources to advocate, train, disseminate and implement RRI. The CETAF Framework for RRI can also be found here.
GenPORT – The Gender Portal is a community sourced internet portal for sharing knowledge and inspiring collaborative action on gender and science.
CORDIS – The European Commission's primary public repository disseminates information on all EU-funded research projects and their results in the broadest sense, implementing the Open Access and Public Engagement domains of RRI directly.
Options for Strengthening Responsible Research and Innovation, Report, European Commission, 2013
An extensive list of RRI related projects can be found here.