Key institutions like universities and funding agencies are changing, in general and occasionally with respect to RRI issues. In calls for ‘civic universities’ or 'citizen companies' one can see RRI issues at play, without necessarily having them labelled as such.
Member States are reconsidering their science, technology and innovation policy. New actors such as regions, cities, social entrepreneurs and NGOs of various kinds are becoming important, and new forms of governance are emerging, partly bottom-up. The ‘triple helix’ of science, industry and government is expanding to a model of a ‘quadruple helix’ with a fourth strand, the public sphere. At the same time, there is the move to smart specialization, of regions and countries, as well as sectors. Clearly, it is important to support such changes within and between actors and stakeholders when they help articulate good practices.
The present topic focuses on the importance of new constellations of actors, already visible in public-private partnerships and open science and open innovation, but now becoming broader and more heterogeneous. This is both about new constellations of existing actors (as in public-private interactions) and new or modified constellations because of new actors joining in. The proposals will be initiated by consortia of relevant existing and new actors (research organizations, industry, civil society organizations, and policy makers), articulating evolving practices against the overall backdrop of transformations and tensions as underlined above. There will be a reflective aspect as well, in mapping and analysing what is happening, and perhaps placing it in larger economic frameworks. The reflection is an essential complement to the interactions between the various relevant organizations and actors, in terms of exchanges about good practices and exploring new collaborations.
The proposals would require specific attention to RRI issues, but not necessarily be limited to it.
Given the variety of interests and possible tensions, a somewhat independent actor might lead the project, as some of these independent actors have actually already shown an interest and are engaged in RRI. One generally acknowledged way of managing conflict and nurturing trust is via “boundary organisations” that act as brokers or mediators between science and society with credibility in the eyes of both.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 3 million and 3.55 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
This action allows for the provision of financial support to third parties in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes.
The proposed action is expected to enable diversification of constellations of actors and stakeholders in Research and Innovation processes, a spread of good practices among them, and a transformation in their governance framework.