Nanotechnology research and innovation can benefit from being open to the public. Early and continuous engagement is key to sustainable, desirable and acceptable innovations, in which R&I is aligned with the values, needs and expectations of society. Policy makers are one of the important enactors to ensure nanotechnology researcher and innovation becomes more socially robust and therefore GoNano wants to share materials and tools that can help you along the way.
Over the course of three years, GoNano brought together citizens, civil society organizations, industry, researchers, and policy makers across Europe to align future nanotechnologies with societal needs and concerns. The co-creation process aimed to demonstrate how researchers can work with public and professional stakeholders to create novel suggestions for future nanotechnology products.
As you may know, co-creation can broadly be understood as a collaborative development of new value (concepts, solutions, products, and services) together with various stakeholders (such as organized customers, industry, research, civil society organisations, and policymakers). It is a form of collaborative innovation: ideas are shared and improved together.
Policy makers like yourself are an essential stakeholder in this process for two reasons. Firstly, during the co-creation process you provide essential input about the external conditions and framework to promote societal engagement in nanotechnologies. And secondly, since the findings from the GoNano experiences are fed back into policy recommendations (GoNano white papers and policy briefs), policy makers are key stakeholders in using these recommendations in real-life cases to ensure the future governance of nanotechnology is more responsible and responsive to societal needs and values.
Co-creation enables policy makers to work more closely with society and ensures support from all sides. This is a new sort of conversation according to a policy maker of the Provincial Council of Flevoland in The Netherlands:
“Rather than external professional facilitators, it was the politicians themselves who facilitated the group sessions. This heightened the sense of being involved in the ‘real’ conversation among all participants and allowed the residents to get a direct response to their ideas and possible concerns”
See the interviews with the workshop participant and best practice example on the GoNano Youtube channel.
Supporting policy makers in the process of co-creation
To support you in the aligning of R&I with the values, needs and expectations of society, GoNano developed various tools, guidelines and policy papers: 1) The GoNano policy briefs present the results of the engagement activities and provide recommendations based on the GoNano experiences, 2) The GoNano white papers provide insights into different aspects of co-creation and responsiveness in the field of nanotechnology. 3) The GoNano co-creation toolkit and ‘The Road of Co-creation’ website section are developed to support stakeholders to develop their own co-creation event. and 4) The ‘How to..’ guide for citizens is developed to prepare your participants for a co-creation event, to improve your co-creation event.
1) The GoNano Policy Briefs
The GoNano policy briefs present the results of the engagement activities and provide recommendations based on the GoNano experiences.
Policy brief 1: Co-creation: A Practical Tool to Enhance Responsiveness in Research and Innovation
About: Co-creation can enhance responsiveness by
Policy brief 2: Moving from reflection to proactive engagement and action on societal needs, values, and concerns
About: The move to action can be supported by
Policy brief 3: Opportunities and Challenges of Co-Creation: Experiences from the GoNano Project
About: Strategies for overcoming challenges for co-creation
Policy brief 4: The Value Chain: An approach to Implement Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) practices in Nanotechnologies Development
About: How the value chain approach can support the implantation of RRI
Policy brief 5: Positioning Co-Creation: Democratisation versus Added Value
About: Possible uses of co-creation in research and innovation
Policy brief 6: Inclusion in Co-creation: What is Needed in Practice?
About: Key requirements for realising inclusion in co-creation
Policy brief 7: Gender Issues in Nanotechnologies research and innovation
About: Gender issues in nanotechnologies research and innovation include
Industry Brief: The Power of co-creation
About: Designing solutions to shared problems with citizens and stakeholders
2) The GoNano White Papers
GoNano developed three white papers through and interactive writing process with stakeholders and the general public. Each white paper focusses on specific aspects of co-creation and responsiveness in the field of nanotechnologies.
White Paper one establishes the foundation as to why co-creation responsiveness makes sense in nanotechnology and describes conceptual and empirical aspects of responsiveness of researchers and engineers in co-creation processes. It mainly addresses researchers, engineers, as well as other stakeholders involved in the research system (e.g. research funding or research institutions)
White Paper two provides a strategic focus regarding how to implement co-creation, considering research and the innovation eco-system. Thus, it addresses industrial and business partners, research institutions, and policy makers who are active in and are influencing research and innovation processes.
White paper three provides guidance on how to realize co-creation considering a gender and diversity perspectives in order to better integrate these in nano-related R&I. The main addressees of the paper are organizers and/or researchers in a position to put co-creation into practice.
Read the full report about the white papers here: GoNano Deliverable 5.3- Collection of the GoNano White papers
3) Develop your own co-creation process
The co-creation is a downloadable guideline that offers a six-step approach to help enacting stakeholders to develop their own co-creation process. The guideline describes how to define your co-creation goal, identify relevant stakeholders, and design, implement and reflect on the co-creation process afterwards.
The Road of Co-creation is a website a section on the GoNano website, which take the visitor through the entire process of developing and carrying out co-creation events, providing them with the necessary training materials and recommendations that are relevant at the different steps along the way.
4) Prepare your participants for the co-creation process
With the ‘How to..’ guide for citizens on public participation, we would like to share our lessons learned and support citizens and other stakeholders who would like to engage with nanotechnologies. The guide supports participants to express their own needs and concerns and ensure that their thoughts are taken into account in future developments. It offers a five-step approach that aims to help you define your interests, identify the right opportunity, and become involved in nanotechnology research and development. It’s an invitation for citizens to express their own needs and concerns and help shape the future directions of nanotechnologies.
The GoNano approach
GoNano believes that research and innovation can benefit from being more open to societal needs and concerns. Over the course of three years (2017-2020), GoNano enabled collaborative development (co-creation) in three nanotechnology application areas: food, energy and health. We first consulted citizens about their wishes, needs and concerns regarding future nanotechnology applications. This was used as input for the first and second stakeholder workshops, which aimed to stimulate citizens, civil society organisations, industry, researchers and policy makers across Europe to co-create research aims and think about concrete (product) suggestions for future nanotechnologies. Read more about the GoNano approach and results.