Main points from TeRRItoria Project Meeting

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Main points from TeRRItoria Project Meeting

TeRRItoria’s most recent Project Meeting was held virtually on the 14th of January 2021. Representatives from the entire consortium participated and a great range of valuable insights were gained throughout the course of the meeting.

First of all, an update on the implementation of the five Transformative Experiments was provided by the territorial partners. The update was accompanied by follow-up discussions on various issues emerging during implementation.

The team of the Region of Central Macedonia (RCM) announced that the first draft of its Gender Equality Plan is available and will be refined in the next stages of the experiment, based on regional stakeholders’ input (regional Action Groups). Various informative public events and workshops will be organised until July 2021, addressing different gender issues.

Drawing on the Gender Equality Plan, it was further discussed in the meeting whether increasing online professional activities (due to the Covid-19 pandemic) will help bridge or further entrench gender gaps in the workplace. So far insights suggest that contradictory situations can be encountered. Some women have managed to become more professionally active, since all kinds of online events and meetings are accessible from the comfort of their own home. On the other side, some may get overloaded with domestic obligations due to all family members staying at home during the pandemic (for online/distance education, teleworking, etc.) and may thus have less time available for engaging in professional activities (even if these are held online).

In addition, the academic partner from the Trøndelag experiment, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), expressed its aspiration to build future connections between NTNU and more peripheral parts of the region and to institutionalise them. The mutual flow of knowledge between actors in Trøndelag will be enabled by building bridges with the help of three kinds of “bridge-builders”: students, young graduates, and university teachers and researchers.

The Gabrovo team stated that their recently created focus group on economy, innovation, and human capital will continue to work extensively. More datawill be collected by a considerable number of community representatives (e.g. through interviews and questionnaires); these will function as the basis for an updated SWOT analysis and for the draft S3 plan expected to be produced close to the end of the project, by the end of 2021.

The Emilia-Romagna partners presented how they expect to develop a methodology for including RRI dimensions in their regional S3. The focus there has been placed primarily on public engagement, science education and on enhancing an inclusive governance dimension. A considerable outcome related to the Transformative Experiment actually refers to setting the basis for a challenge-based social innovation approach within the next Regional Operative Programs (ROPs).

Regarding the region of North-East Romania, the partner there announced that four workshops involving local tourism and agri-food stakeholders will be organised during the March-June period of 2021. By June 2021, their innovation brokerage platform, functioning as a bridge between small communities in two mountain areas and innovation facilitators along with research organisations, is expected to be launched as well and working properly.

Valuable points were raised regarding the project’s evaluation, the mutual learning processes and the communication of the project activities and results. TeRRItoria is currently in the process of evaluation assessment and the next steps refer to conducting impact assessment. MoRRI indicators will function as an inspiration point for impact assessment and generally all goals and success criteria will be context-based and will correspond to the features of each experiment.

Mutual Learning (WP7) continues to evolve throughout the course of the project, under a strong synergy with the WPs of Transformative Experiments implementation (WP5) and Evaluation (WP6). During the project meeting, the focus was on presenting the main lessons learned after the analysis of the 1st Mutual Learning (ML) Meeting, as well as after the first two rounds of research diary submissions. For instance, lessons learned from the 1st ML meeting allude to RRI-related perceptions and expectations, ‘prerequisites’ for effective RRI implementation, RRI language and S3-related issues (combined with regional issues). Then, the main themes detected throughout the diary submissions, for instance, refer to (online) tools and participatory methods territorial partners have so far successfully employed, and to some obstacles experienced (e.g. operational and cognitive obstacles, either internal or external to their organisations). The diary submissions further reflected partners’ expectations for future steps in their Transformative Experiments, while they provided inspirational and motivational notes to success (i.e. successful experiences and insights that can be capitalized upon throughout the implementation of the Transformative Experiments).

Drawing on the communication and dissemination of project results (WP8), the TeRRItoria consortium discussed on the successful #ResponsibleRegions dialogues, organised by EURADA on a monthly basis, as well as on the video stories that have so far been released, which provide interesting insight into the experimental activities going on in the five regions. In depth-conversations that took place referred to the exploitation of the project results, which will potentially refer to both territorial level and project level. Particularly the outcomes from the Transformative Experiments, which will be beneficial for other regions and countries besides those where the experiments take place.

On the whole, January’s project meeting provided valuable input for the upcoming months of TeRRItoria. It further functioned as a source of motivation for the entire consortium, thanks to the project’s successful implementation thus far and to the fruitful synergies established among its partners.

Article written by Maria Michali – SEERC

Maria Michali is a Research Assistant at the South East European Research Centre (SEERC), working on RRI-related projects funded under H2020

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