For its pilot activities, the Brussels-Capital Region cluster will carry out multistakeholder engagement activities applied to social innovation focused on circular economy. The activities enable the cluster to better understand the regional context and to implement research and observation methodologies ensuring a deep understanding of user needs and engagement of the local community.
The Brussels-Capital Region cluster’ pilot of TRANSFORM started with an exploration of circular economy, in a wide sense, with the selection of specific community needs and challenges to address, paying particular attention to sustainability and inclusiveness of the entire participatory process.
The next step was to develop a methodology to implement open and inclusive processes to better connect local research and innovation (R&I) to societal needs while involving quadruple-helix stakeholders.
The cluster then identified a number of technological and social innovations related to the broad topic of circular economy (water quality, material flows and bioengineered food) and planned pilot activities. Pilot activities were launched in two rounds. The first pilot – AquaSens – water sensors measuring water quality aimed to implement open and inclusive processes to better connect local public-funded research and innovation (R&I) to societal needs. The second round of activities focused on two pilots: (1) Algorella interacting with citizens in the innovation process through a design thinking approach, and (2) the unsold food pilot which aimed to provide a case study to public authorities on how to organise multistakeholder participatory activities to better understand the challenges and realities of an ecosystem in which R&I initiatives receive public funding.
The principles of responsible research and innovation and multi-stakeholder engagement are applied to the identified social innovations. The objective is to set up a methodology involving society (multiple actors) and create case studies and introduce this approach to public-funded R&I.
The aim of the Think Tank created by the Brussels-Capital region cluster is to have a multidisciplinary and multistakeholder group of experts helping to improve the alignment of the regional R&I ecosystem with societal needs. More particularly, the objective is to bring expertise that will reinforce the knowledge and experience already present in the cluster to support the implementation of the pilot project.