The ‘Science with and for Society’ programme and the RRI approach aim to better align science, innovation and society; making science and innovation more responsive to the needs, concerns and aspirations of society.
But what policies, processes and procedures can make sure that research and innovation is carried out in a responsible way? How can we ensure that both on the individual level and on the level of organisations there are the proper incentives to promote responsible conduct? Who should determine the shape that science and innovation should take in the future? And what role should scientific advice and various forms of expertise play in these decisions?
Governance is the umbrella term for activities that aim to address these questions. Generally speaking, governance deals with policies, rules, processes and behaviour that affect the way in which powers are exercised. In the EU context, five requirements have been identified that underpin good governance: openness, participation, accountability, effectiveness and coherence (2001 EC White Paper on European Governance). Specifically in the context of research and innovation, the goal is to open up policy-making and institutional practices, to make them more inclusive, transparent and accountable.
The European Commission has supported the development of good governance in research and innovation in particular via a wide range of actions in the ‘Science and Society’ programme (2002-2006) and in the ‘Science in Society programme (2007-2013). These actions for example included research on responsible governance frameworks for science and technology, and establishing policy and monitoring networks. The lessons learned from these actions are taken forward in Horizon 2020 with the ‘Science with and for Society’ programme and with RRI. Actions to foster good governance will include activities funded under the themes of public engagement, gender, ethics, open access and science education. In their own right, all these themes contribute to a more inclusive, transparent and accountable governance of science and innovation.
Furthermore, ‘Science with and for Society’ and RRI will support other actions oriented towards a more systemic level, or focused more directly on policy decision making. For example, such actions can focus on the uptake of RRI standards and guidelines by stakeholders, or promote institutional change in the science and innovation system. For the years 2014-2015, such governance actions will in particular be supported via the call theme ‘developing Governance for the Advancement of Responsible Research and Innovation'(GARRI) of the Science with and for Society Work Programme.
Source: European Commission website https://ec.europa.eu/research/