It’s not only about selecting or “mapping” different stakeholders, is not only about involving researchers or recruiting students, “the challenge is engaging them in the process, making them feel empowered to play their part”, said Dr. Pim Klaassen to the auditorium of InSPIRES project’s first webinar on the topic of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) (January the 30th, 2018)
And the burden of that collective engagement should be on the researchers, convened Prof. dr. Jacqueline Broerse and Dr. Frank Kupper, experts that have participated in the development of the RRI conceptual framework and shared their experiences at the webinar. Organized by Prof. dr. Marjolein Zweekhorst and her team at VU Amsterdam, this webinar showed how InSPIRES project aims to build capacities among existing networks of researchers and new players.
How do new ideas travel?
For Prof. dr. Broerse, RRI is the most important way of doing research, at least that kind of research that seeks for a real impact on society. This speaker even described RRI as a way to approach to local knowledge in fragile states. For Dr. Kupper, RRI is mainly about dialogue; and for Dr. Klaassen, the framework is “a big challenge ahead of us”. Acknowledging it’s often quite hard to engage people in this open and dialogical way of doing research, Dr. Klaassen thinks on RRI as “a promise which I hope we can actually help come true”.
Unfortunately, repeating these messages does not change researcher’s attitudes. As, remembered by Dr. Kupper, ideas do not travel like packages that can be easily poured into somebody’s mind. Actors should see what’s on it for them. These research practices could meet their needs of performing good research.
Vocation and training
RRI can also activate a memory about researchers’ vocation. Many of them started their careers because they wanted to make a meaningful contribution. Answering Dr. Zweekhorst questions, the webinar experts affirmed that nowadays, if someone can do this type of research that someone is a student. Students are in the process of developing routines and mastering these forms of thinking. Of course, experts also remembered, transformation should not only be at the individual level but also at institutional level.
The webinar also pointed out several expectations that the InSPIRES awakens.
The project’ impact evaluation strategy with the support of the “Reflexive monitoring” notion was positively valued, as well as the its training plan, that will offer new webinars and summer schools. Much to do in order to make these kinds of encounters happen.