Lessons learned under Lockdown in the Region of Central Macedonia

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Lessons learned under Lockdown in the Region of Central Macedonia

The TeRRItoria project partners in the Region of Central Macedonia, Greece are working on designing a transformative experiment which will foster improvements in the Gender Equality key of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). This may be achieved by overseeing the implementation of a Gender Equality Plan to trigger institutional change within the organisations of the regional stakeholders involved and by pushing for the inclusion of RRI principles in the regional Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation (RIS3). It will also look to increase understanding of how today’s environment, featuring pronounced brain-drain of ICT experts and limited involvement of women in Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, came to be reality.

Before lockdown and social distancing measures were put in place in Greece, the partners there had planned to complete their reflexive activities by running stakeholder co-creation meetings in person. Indeed, as part of the mapping carried out in Work Package 2, bilateral interviews with major R&I stakeholders were carried out. Of course, in-person activities are no longer possible for the time being. The partners are, however, optimistic about their chances of being able to carry out these co-creation activities through online tools. Indeed, one silver lining of the pandemic situation that they have noticed is that, where it was previously rare for the general public to be aware of and make use of teleconferencing software, nowadays almost everyone seems to have limited-to-good awareness of how to use it, making it easier in practice to engage them virtually in the project’s co-creation phase. Furthermore, smaller meetings online may also allow for discussion to be more in-depth than they would otherwise be with a larger group of people.

Accordingly, they have settled on the idea of holding online co-design workshops with representative of all corners of the Quadruple Helix. These have already been scheduled take place online on the 3rd (with representatives of academia and research), the 5th (with industrial stakeholders), and the 10th of June (with civil society actors). The final QH pillar will be represented by one of the consortium members themselves, the Region of Central Macedonia.

The partners are also making plans for a citizen summit. In the next stage of the project, if restrictions on face-to-face contact allow, they may also try to carry out a meeting involving all four pillars of the Quadruple Helix model of innovation. However, moving that online remains an option there too.

Article written by Owen Brown – EURADA.

Owen works in EURADA primarily on Communication, Dissemination, and Exploitation tasks for Horizon 2020 projects, including TeRRItoria.

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