On 28th and 29th September 2020, TRANSFORM partners joined together for the second Consortium Meeting, which was entirely held online to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic context.
The first day of the meeting was introduced by the project Coordinator Angela Simone (Fondazione Giannino Bassetti) that provided a short overview of the overall progress of activities, main developments and outputs, cooperation with other projects and outlining ideas and actions on enlarging RRI awareness in the territories. In the first session of the meeting, the three TRANSFORM Regional Authorities – Generalitat de Catalunya, Regione Lombardia and Innoviris (Brussels-Capital) – which are currently finalizing the preparation of their Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3) for the next programming period 2021-2027 – presented their approach in the definition of the Strategies, providing details on the process of selecting priorities, methodologies used and stakeholder and citizen engagement activities held.
Smart Specialisation (S3) is expected to continue to play a major role in cohesion policy and regional development, and towards economic transformation in the long run. It also has great potential for fostering eco-innovation processes that respond to global environmental challenges, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and EU Green Deal.
Claudia Chwalisz – coordinator at the OECD Innovative Citizen Participation Network – joined the TRANSFORM consortium meeting presenting the OECD’s report Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions. Catching the Deliberative Wave. The session focused on presenting findings from the report, including different types of models, trends, and considerations to keep in mind when setting up deliberation processes, good practice principles and institutionalisation. The discussion led to the impact of Covid-19 on deliberative practices, paving the way to improved digital solutions. Some useful examples were provided to overcome the difficulty to build trust in an online context and the challenge of representativeness and inclusion of vulnerable groups was also debated. Useful elements on these issues also emerged from the updates from CC-PES project, shared by our overseas partners from the Museum of Science in Boston.
During the second day, thanks to a co-creation session led by BEpart on specific partners needs and expectations, four main streams of actions have been identified for mutual learning activities:
- Strengthening the support in research and innovation for implementing more RRI components. Raising awareness about the RRI concept and providing support.
- Better understanding of RRI in a research and innovation context. It might be challenging to find the right stakeholders. The process becomes easier when the right people are involved.
- Policies: Showcasing the added value of RRI required more financial support, but it is worth it.
- Indicators: TRANSFORM clusters rapidly observed a common priority to the three regions, namely the need to be able to evaluate the impact of integrating RRI in S3.
The project Communication and Dissemination Plan and visual identity and communication toolkit were then presented from AEIDL, which also gave an overview on the events in which Consortium partners took part in a number of international events in the past months: Pint of Science Festival in Brussels: ‘Shaping the city of tomorrow’, Research, innovation and the common good webinar organised by Art-ER, European Week of Regions and Cities 2020 – Shared Agendas: the Next Stage of the EDP.
Finally, the University of Bergen presented the First Monitoring and Evaluation Guide and shared a reflection on the different evaluation and monitoring needs within the project, among them the internal evaluation on the project, the analysis of impacts of TRANSFORM activities, S3 indicators, RRI monitoring tools for regional actors.
Partners have started a discussion on how to measure the RRI transformative changes within the framework of the three Regional Authorities and agreed that this requires the involvement of local stakeholders (Think Tank members) in a co-creation process. Taking into consideration the different needs of the three regional contexts cluster-tailored indicators will be explored. This challenge is also common to TRANSFORM sister projects, the other initiatives funded under the call SwafS-14-2018-2019-2020, with whom exchanges and synergies are already taking place.