Over the last decades, many efforts have been put in place to reduce the distance between science and society, including the European-wide approach in Horizon 2020 called Responsible Research and Innovation. RRI seeks to bring issues related to research and innovation into the open, to anticipate their consequences, and to involve society in discussing how science and technology can help create the kind of world and society we want for generations to come. Next, to the GoNano project, the PRISMA project is working in parallel to test the best approaches to introduce RRI in the R&I processes inside industry.
The PRISMA project consists out of 8 pilot projects developed with companies in order to help them to better integrate RRI in their innovation process and business practices. These pilots will provide case studies and good practices on RRI. On the basis of the pilots, the PRISMA consortium will develop a roadmap in order to help other companies to integrate RRI in their businesses. The pilots span several technological fields, namely synthetic biology, nanotechnology, self-driving vehicles, and the internet of things. Last October they organized a two-days co-creative dialogue event, “A roadmap to foster social value in business, research and innovation strategies”, in Milan.
The event confirmed the importance of stakeholder engagement and co-creation for industry, in particular when developing transformative technologies, that can have very short innovation cycles. Interacting with all the stakeholders, from the very early stages of the R&I process, allows to understand and evaluate the possible impacts of the technological innovation on all the actors along the value chain. Different insights from the event for stakeholders’ engagement have been highlighted, in particular:
- an early engagement with suppliers, users and end-users (professional users or consumers), to anticipate positive and negative impacts and improve product design, aligning the product development with user’s requirements and needs;
- the engagement with regulators, policy makers, local communities, investors and other actors along the value chain, to inform the strategy for deploying and marketing innovative products;
- the interaction with the different actors along the R&I value chain becomes crucial, to define good practices that cover the aspects of innovation that are not yet addressed by regulations;
An example of the latter is the development of autonomous vehicles which has emerged in one of the PRISMA pilots. Existing regulation does not allow for testing these systems in public places (for safety and security reasons). Interaction with authorities and local communities is essential to define a specific situation where these technologies could be developed, in line with the needs and rules of the community. A dialogue between stakeholders is essential to define trade-offs, in order to allow the development of new technologies in line with social values and norms. This is also a limitation for the implementation of individual and personalized medical devices.
Short videos with testimonials on RRI from the companies involved in the PRISMA pilots will soon be available on the project website. The PRISMA roadmap is being developed and will be ready before Summer 2019. – http://www.rri-prisma.eu/