The end of the year also meant the end of the second year of TRANSFORM. Reflecting on 2022, it was a busy year for us with the launch of citizen engagement activities in all three regions and a successful review meeting. Although we did not have a chance to meet in person (again), we benefited from mutual learning activities, participated in several international and territorial events and hosted a session within the European Week of Regions and Cities. Read more about what we have been up to in the second year AND what’s coming next…
While all regional clusters have been working towards the implementation of RRI into their S3 strategies, they all have their specificities in approach and applied methodologies for citizen engagement.
Lombardy cluster organized a deliberative process to collect and understand the citizens needs and shape regional R&I priorities accordingly. First, TRANSFOM partners launched a survey on the regional population needs, in which a representative sample of Lombardy citizens took part (approximately 1000). The survey was followed by a deliberative workshop on just energy transition for all, a topic chosen based on the outcomes of the survey and its relevance for regional policy-making. 18 people took part in the online workshop and reached a common agreement on recommendations for policy-makers. The outcomes of the whole deliberative process were translated into the 2021-2023 Strategic Programme for Research and Innovation. At the same time, it was presented as an inspiring example to other departments and units of Lombardy Region and to key regional R&I stakeholders.
Brussels-Capital launched its pilot activities to implement open and inclusive processes to better connect local research and innovation (R&I) to societal needs while involving 4-helix stakeholders. The aim is to introduce this approach to public-funded R&I. The regional partners selected critical innovations related to the broad topic of circular economy (water quality, material flows and bioengineered food) with the aim to help them address RRI dimensions. The innovators are involved in a participatory process. With the first selected innovation – water sensors measuring water quality – Brussels cluster organised a series of participatory workshops, one with 4-helix stakeholders, one with civil society only (non-profit Brussels-based organisations) and two with citizens.
Catalonia is developing two citizen science pilots. The first pilot focuses on the co-design and implementation of an “interactive waste game” that will be used as a citizen science tool for improving the selective collection of municipal waste in the city of Mollet del Vallès (Barcelona). Students from 4 schools will be involved in data collection and analysis, and the results will be used by the municipality to better design the implementation of innovative selective collection systems in the municipality. The pilot is part of a Specialisation and Territorial Competitiveness Project (PECT). The second pilot tackles the invisibility, under-diagnosis and lack of research into endometriosis. By collecting ‘first-hand’ experiences and working together with patients and healthcare professionals, a policy brief will be co-created, addressed to policy makers and healthcare staff and officials, to improve the care and services for people suffering from endometriosis.
Sharing knowledge and opening a dialogue
Together we passed the first reporting period followed by a successful review meeting in June. Our first Policy Brief was published, outlining recommendations for policymakers willing to embark on citizen engagement actions for R&I grounded in the lessons learned from the project implementation in its first 15 months. Our work was presented during the cluster event on Institutional changes towards open science and societal engagement in research and innovation organized by REA.
TRANSFORM hosted a participatory lab ‘Citizen Engagement TRANSFORMing regional R&I policymaking’ during the European Week of Regions Cities (see the outcomes here). Moreover, project partners took part in more than 20 events at local, regional, national and European level, targeting main stakeholders – public authorities, NGOs, CSOs, research and academia, and the general public; presenting TRANSFORM activities, sharing the knowledge, project results and the potential and benefits of RRI and citizen engagement in the governance of regional R&I.
Together with OECD, the Lombardy cluster launched the Italian translation of the OECD report “Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions: Catching the Deliberative Wave”, edited by the Giannino Bassetti Foundation, and presented during the launch event with representatives of TRANSFORM, OECD, JRC, Italian Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility, Lombardy region and Emilia Romagna region. The Italian version of the report “Innovazione nella partecipazione dei cittadini al decision making pubblico e nuove istituzioni democratiche. Cavalcare l’onda della deliberazione“ aims to contribute to spreading the culture of public deliberation in Italy and provide effective tools for citizen engagement in public policy making.
BUILDING SYNERGIES WITH OTHER PROJECTS
TRANSFORM has been exploring and building synergies with other projects, fostering exchange to maximise the impact. Our poster was presented during the NewHoRRIzon final conference and Catalonia’s Researchers Night 2021, we presented our activities in the GRACE final webinar series, and participated in two online webinars organised by TeRRItoria’ parter Arte targeting Italian stakeholders. TRANSFORM’s approach to RRI monitoring and evaluation was presented at a project webinar of MARIE.
In September, we took part in the SeeRRI final conference in Barcelona sharing our take on mutual learning and discussing the importance of cooperation among projects. Moreover, we contributed with our journey to the SeeRRI booklet: Bringing responsibility and RRI into regional planning – from theory to practice.
The Lombardy regional case was presented in the 12th edition of TeRRItoria’s #ResponsibleRegions online webinar series in December. `
TRANSFORM is also taking part in the monthly “SwafS14 Monitoring & Evaluation” meetings, promoted by the SUPER MoRRI project. During those meetings, we have been exchanging with several other SwafS-14 projects about experiences and best practices in fostering more open, transparent, and democratic R&I ecosystems in Europe. The cooperation resulted in the joint abstract “What is territorial RRI? A discussion of issues, tensions and lessons learned in monitoring and evaluation practices based on nine H2020 projects” which was selected for the REvaluation conference in Vienna.
What’s next? Stay tuned.. part 2 coming out next week.