While science and innovation have been transformative forces with large positive impacts on human welfare and well-being, the existence of a gap between science and the society has increasingly been witnessed. A step to address this gap has been the promotion of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). This approach towards research and innovation (R&I) pushes for collaborative efforts between the societal actors (researchers, citizens, policy makers, business, etc.). It aims at better aligning both the research process and its outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of the society. With the aim of bringing RRI into the global world to promote mutual learning and collaboration, the Responsible Research and Innovation Networking Globally (RRING) Project, funded by the European Union under its Horizon 2020 programme, was launched in 2018.
The aim of the RRING project is to bring Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) into the global world to promote mutual learning and collaboration. This will be achieved by the formation of the global RRING community network and by the development and mobilization of a global Open Access RRI knowledge base. RRING will align RRI to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a global common denominator.
With the acknowledgement that each region of the world is advancing its own agenda on RRI, RRING recognises the need for a bottom-up approach and has thus collaborated with local organisations in different countries. In India, RRING is collaborating with Participatory Research In Asia (PRIA) to further their mission of learning about different local practices and creating a global RRI network.
About the organizer – PRIA
PRIA has almost four decades of experience in engaging with academia in a multitude of interventions, bringing community and practitioner knowledge into the portals of traditional research institutions and processes. It believes in knowledge mobilization and advocacy using participatory research methodology. It emphasizes on the need to integrate scientific research with local knowledge.
PRIA also hosts the UNESCO Chair in Community-Based Research & Social Responsibility in Higher Education. The UNESCO Chair has worked to foster social responsibility in higher education and supports partnerships that build on and enhance the emerging consensus in knowledge democracy. A recent initiative by the Chairs, Dr. Rajesh Tandon (Founder-President, PRIA) & Dr. Budd Hall (University of Victoria), addresses the need for Open Science.
- While one witnesses an attitudinal acceptance of the RRI principles amongst the Indian stakeholders, this fails to translate into everyday practice. This depicts both a gap as well as an opportunity to improve. One needs to bridge this gap between the normative acceptance and practice through both a change in government policies as well as changes in the organisational framework- be it in the hiring criteria or the tools & methods utilised. The step to becoming more responsible must be initiated on both fronts.
- The current pandemic has demonstrated the importance of building long-term bonds of social trust between the world of science and the community. In absence of this bond of trust, one would find it difficult to overcome any form of crisis- be it a pandemic or a natural disaster.
- There is a need for all stakeholders- be it Research Performing Organisations (RPOs), Research Funding Organisations (RFOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) or academicians to engage in the formulation of policies. Efforts must be made to scrutinize draft policies and raise questions. It is through this practice that one can move towards a more open and responsive science in India.
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