Two exciting new Research Associate (post-doc) positions are being advertised in my department (Science and Technology Studies) at UCL. Both positions will be working on the RRI Hub that I and Jack Stilgoe run together, which will mean helping us organise events and carry out research and teaching relating to RRI, but each position will have a particular focus on one of the two EU funded Horizon 2020 projects that we are participating in. I wanted to give some more details of the SISCODE project that I am leading.
Over the past ten or more years, Public Engagement (PE) and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) has called for multiple actors, including the public to be involved in decisions around science and innovation. This has proved to be very challenging in practice however as this has been interpreted by many as simply market testing or asking the public to provide conditions for acceptance of new technologies. Involving wider actors rarely goes beyond consultation.
At the same time, methodologies and tools to involve users in innovation and development process have become well established in the design industry and these design methodologies and tools are emerging as valuable approaches to dealing with these problems of co-creation.
SISCODE aims to bring these perspectives together, to understand co-creation as a bottom-up and design-driven phenomenon that is flourishing in Europe (in fab labs, living labs, social innovations, smart cities, communities and regions); to analyse favourable conditions that support its effective introduction, scalability and replication; and to use this knowledge to crossfertilise RRI practices and policies.
To reach this aim SISCODE will: run a European study to compare co-creation ecosystems and describe effective dynamics and outcomes of the integration of society in science and innovation; experiment with design as a new system of competences capable to support the development of implementable RRI and STI solutions and policies; and understand the transformations needed to embed co-creation in STI policy making, overcoming barriers and resistance to change and considering organisational transformation.
UCL will be one of a number of partners in this project, which is led by the Politicnico di Milano, which is one of the leading design schools in the world. Other partners include the European Network of Living Labs and Fab-Labs, as well as the Danish Design Council and ECSITE.
The project held its initial kick-off meeting last week (3 May) in Milan and it promises to be an exciting and innovative approach to putting RRI into action.