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).
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.