The end of the year also meant the end of the first year of TRANSFORM. Looking back at 2020, we can for sure say that it was a successful year, despite challenging circumstances. We kicked off the project in the midst of the global pandemic, which in the end, accompanied us the whole year through and beyond. Although all activities and meetings happened in the virtual space, we managed to find a shared vision among the partners and launched the tasks as planned. So, what exactly have we been up to during this first year?

All regional clusters have been working towards the implementation of RRI into their S3 strategies using different methodologies: 

Lombardy by implementing participatory agenda setting in the design of the next Three Years’ Strategic Plan for Research, Innovation, and Technology Transfer (PST);

Catalonia by integrating citizen science to transform selected pilot projects in the field of selective municipal solid waste collection, transforming them from the triple to the quadruple helix;

 and Brussels-Capital by using design thinking for social innovation in the circular economy,  awarding grants to support innovative ideas responding to the selected collective challenges.

Partners and clusters have engaged in a reflection process to better understand RRI and S3 within their regional settings in regular meetings and mutual learning workshops. These efforts resulted in the Report on cluster-specific societal, geographical, economic and environmental frameworks. Regional Think Tanks (bringing together local authorities, academia, research centres, businesses) were set up, providing a variety of views, know-how and priorities on regional R&I ecosystems, ensuring that different perspectives and needs are taken into account in the project activities and contributing to the co-creation of local indicators to measure and monitor the RRI performance of the regional governments. In addition, the Shared learning Action Plan was developed outlining the mutual learning and capacity building activities among and within clusters. The plan details how clusters will share updates on ongoing activities, pros and cons of the adopted methodological approaches, challenges to institutional changes, and impact of concrete changes achieved.

A comprehensive analysis of the project monitoring needs, regional specificities as well as available RRI indicators and evaluation practices fed into the development of a first version of the Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy.

In addition, we developed the visual identity, project website, video and took part in a number of events, such as the European Week of Regions, Pint of Science Festival in Brussels: ‘Shaping the city of tomorrow‘, Research, innovation and the common good webinar organised by Art-ER and the virtual exhibition of the 3rd Annual Citizen Engagement and Deliberative Democracy Festival organised by Joint Research Centre (JRC).

What's next?

In the second year of the project, we are moving towards implementation of citizen engagement on the ground, in the three regions – Lombardy, Catalonia and Brussels-Capital. This process will be complemented with regular monitoring and evaluation, and regular capacity building sessions among TRANSFORM partners, but also at local level with the various Think Tanks members. We will keep exploring synergies with other projects and initiatives, and to facilitate this process, we are planning to open a LinkedIn group to create a space to exchange ideas, share lessons learned as well as interesting results, and foster networking.

Stay tuned!
TRANSFORM consortium meeting

17 December (online)

#ResponsibleRegions is a series of monthly webinars dealing with the concepts of the Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). EURADA and the TeRRItoria consortium are organising these webinars with the aim of sharing the valuable experience of Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and local actors in developing and adapting strategies for regional development.

The second event will take place on Thursday the 17th of December at 15:00 CET.  Giulia Bubbolini, head of EU and Public-Funded Projects at CISE – Centre for Innovation and Economic Development, Agency of the Chamber of Commerce of Romagna, Italy, and Advisory Board member of TRANSFORM – will illustrate her experience in improving regional public policy by implementing RRI among SMEs. She is the project coordinator of two European projects: MARIE and ROSIE.

The event, moderated by Esteban Pelayo, Director of EURADA – the European Association of Development Agencies – will also include the participation of two panellists: Dimitri Corpakis, Friends of Smart Specialisation, and Ninetta Chaniotou, Senior Project Manager at Kainuu Regional council.


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.

Smart specialisation S3

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:

  1. Strengthening the support in research and innovation for implementing more RRI components. Raising awareness about the RRI concept and providing support.
  2. 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.
  3. Policies: Showcasing the added value of RRI required more financial support, but it is worth it.
  4. 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.   

TRANSFORM at Pint of Science

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.

Pictures from the 2nd Conosrtium meeting are available in the Photo gallery.

TRANSFORM Consortium meeting
TRANSFORM Consortium meeting
TRANSFORM Consortium meeting

EU flag This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 872687.
Project Coordinator: Angela Simone Fondazione Giannino Bassetti angela.simone@fondazionebassetti.org
contact: info@transfrom-project.eu