New guidelines for the participatory process

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Emilia Romagna: new guidelines for the participatory process

The Emilia Romagna region and ART-ER (its Regional Development Agency), expect to develop a methodology on how to include RRI keys in the formulation of its regional strategy for research and innovation – RIS3. ART-ER staff decided to focus primarily on two RRI keys: public engagement and science education, with governance being a transversal aspect to be considered in the process 

The implementation phase of their experiment started in 2021 and an open process to discuss the RRI guidelines to frame new opportunities for collaboration and public engagement in the next programming period was recently launched. This consultation is done through online workshops to gather contributions to the overall S3 strategy. In order to move from paper to action, it is necessary to co-design guidelines which will be used to design an experimental policy measure.

Currently, ART-ER is involving the local stakeholders in the co-design of these new guidelines. Four focus groups were organised to better explain the purpose of TeRRItoria to the regional stakeholders. For example, regional Tecnopoli (R&I nodes in each of the regional provinces) are not so confident about RRI dimensions and keys, but they are an important actors in designing the governance of the local R&I ecosystem. Hence, this will have an impact on the implementation of the two above mentioned RRI keys in the experiment. An online workshop with the civil society was held in May and 8 participants asked for some training in order to better understand what RRI is, thus aiding to understand the focus of the project. On the other hand, the meeting with 5 regional social enterprises was a success because now they are constantly involved in R&I projects, usually through grants from the regional administration. Finally on the 18th of June, a meeting with some stakeholders related to science education was held, showing the importance of engaging people in R&I projects and not only communicating them results.

The main goal of this participatory process is to move from theory to practice. The new guidelines will guide the implementation of RRI within the new RIS3. ART-ER would also like to include some concrete results coming directly from the Deliverables of the TeRRItoria project and some lessons learnt by attending the dialogues of #ResponsibleRegions.

Next steps

By using public engagement and science education along with working on the inclusive governance dimension, the Emilia Romagna region and ART-ER expect to develop a methodology for including RRI dimensions in their regional S3. Public engagement will allow ART-ER to engage actors other than clusters, universities, and industry in the process of defining the regional priorities and governance. Science education will provide new frameworks and tools to involve more and more technical schools, formal and non-formal training institutions, and organisations dealing with citizen science to enhance training policies within the S3. 

In order to do so, ART-ER and the Emilia Region would like to issue a grant scheme. In addition, in early Autumn, ART-ER will launch some (online) training sessions on the two RRI dimensions of public engagement and science education for civil society and universities.

By implementing the TeRRItoria Transformative Experiment, society will be highly influenced. The ultimate goal is to be able to modify the rules of participation to facilitate the participation of the regional social innovators.

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