Citizens’ needs, which emerged from the survey proposed by the European project, have been integrated into the 2021-2023 Three-year Strategic Programme for Research, Innovation and Technology Transfer guiding research and innovation
This past 19 October, the Regional Council approved the new “The 2021-2023 Three-year Strategic Programme for Research, Innovation and Technology Transfer, the governance tool that guides the development of Lombardy in the field of research and innovation. The Programme “traces the lines of development of research and innovation to respond to the global challenges of our time, through a distinctive approach that puts people and their needs at the centre of all choices,” as explained by Lombardy governor Attilio Fontana.
In order to investigate the needs of the population in the field of research and innovation by directly involving citizens, in 2021 the TRANSFORM project designed and conducted a dialogue process structured in two phases: a survey, which will be discussed in the following paragraphs, and a deliberative workshop, information on which can be found at this link.
The first phase of the process – the survey – took place at the end of April and involved a sample of one thousand Lombardy residents, selected so as to have a group of participants representative of the Lombardy population in terms of age, gender and province of residence. The responses, collected with the support of an agency specialising in this type of survey, were then analysed by the Giannino Bassetti Foundation and integrated by Lombardy Region – with the support of Finlombarda – into the new Programme.
FINDINGS OF THE SURVEY
The results of the survey highlighted
- ‘quality education for more children and young people’,
- ‘decent work for more people’,
- and ‘less pollution impact of cities’
as the most urgent objectives for the area (indicated by 66%, 65% and 62% of the sample, respectively). According to the interviewees, two of these same ambits – education and work – have been among the most affected by the health emergency: “quality education”, “improving health and well-being”, and “decent work” are in fact the objectives that have become even more important in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the greatest impact recorded especially in larger families.
Young people aged 18-24 showed greater sensitivity to issues related to environmental sustainability, including ‘more responsible consumption and production’, ‘mobility infrastructure’, ‘more people using clean and safe water for consumption and personal care’, and ‘more action to protect biodiversity’.
Among the most important personal and family needs, respondents indicated needs related to health, work and safety (“preventing illness” 87%, “living in safe environments and contexts” 85%, “having user-friendly citizen services” 83%, “moving on safe roads” 83%). Two-thirds of the participants indicated research and innovation as tools capable of providing answers to these needs, especially in the medical field, while another 24% considered that scientific and technological development could play a partial role.
Who to involve in the design of research and innovation policies of Regione Lombardia? According to survey participants, universities/research centres and the government are at the top of the list, as are citizens (37%) and public bodies, specifically municipalities (35%). Businesses and the European Union, important players in the regional research and innovation system, are in fifth place (28%).
The issues related to environmental sustainability, which emerged as priorities based on the responses, were further investigated at a later date during a deliberative workshop. The pilot event, entitled “Just Energy Transition for All”, took place on 29 May 2021 and involved 18 citizens living in Lombardy.