10th dialogue of #ResponsibleRegions – How Emilia Romagna is including RRI in its RIS3.

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10th dialogue of #ResponsibleRegions – How Emilia Romagna is including RRI in its RIS3.

The tenth event took place on Thursday the 21st of October at 15:00 CEST. The topic of this event is “How Emilia Romagna is including RRI in its RIS3“. By using Science Education and Public Engagement, the region of Emilia Romagna (Italy) expects to develop a methodology on how to include Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) keys in the formulation of its regional strategy for research and innovation (RIS3). With science education, the region will combine research and training policies to understand how certain professional profiles can be attracted to enhance training actors in the process of defining and monitoring RIS3. With public engagement, the region will create a procedure that allows the opening up of RIS3 phases (from design to monitoring) to social stakeholders allowing stable dialogue with civil society and the people they represent.

The main speakers of the 10th dialogue were Angelica Laterza, from the Emilia Romagna region, and Kristian Mancinone, social innovation expert at ART-ER the regional development agency of Emilia Romagna.

Angela Laterza presented the new Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) of Emilia Romagna. The new S3 has been updated in continuity with the former one. In fact, the results of the previous seven years were taken into account. The regional government noticed an evolution of technology, production systems, and, more important, the regional research ecosystem. The new S3 is also dealing with the new global challenges such EU cohesion policy 2021-2027 and Agenda 2030. In addition, the new S3 is also sustainable according to the Green Deal principles and the Regional Strategic Document 2021-2027.

The new S3 defines priorities according to the regional key challenges such: sustainability, digitalisation, social inclusion, well-being and quality of life, safety, and transformation of the public administration. The strategy for the next seven years, confirms the seven regional specialisation production systems like: agri-food, building and construction, mechatronics and moto engineering, health and wellness industries, cultural and creative industries, energy and sustainable development, and innovation in services. In addition, the staff of Emilia Romagna region identified additional productive areas with high development potential such aerospace and complex and critical infrastructures. Moreover, the new strategy recognises two new cross-cutting challenges: development of big data and artificial intelligence, and green transformation. Furthermore, Emilia Romagna is focused on the role of innovator of the public administration.

The Entrepreneurial Discovery Process is characterized by a massive participation of citizens. It was a participatory process which demonstrated a proactive involvement of the actors of the regional innovation ecosystem. The regional research and innovation ecosystem is composed by 7 clusters, 74 laboratories, 14 centers of innovation, 75 incubators and many other.

The policy tools for implementing the S3 focus on six main pillars:

  1. Technopoles, spaces and research infrastructures;
  2. Strategic innovation, research and innovation, system actions projects;
  3. Skills development and higher education;
  4. Development and consolidation of innovative startups;
  5. Implementation of the Emilia Romagna Digital Agenda: Data Valley;
  6. Networks, partnerships, cooperation and synergies with EU programs.

The implementation tool will focus on main cross-cutting principles such: open innovation, RRI, global value chain, and creativity design.

The S3 monitoring system aims to provide useful data for measuring the implementation of the strategy and the results achieved, also in order to take any corrective actions.

The monitoring system will be performed through two types of indicators:

  1. Output indicators, for measuring the level of implementation of the policies and related actions put in place;
  2. Specialisation indicators, for measuring the changes taking place in the production system compared to the objectives of the S3, in order to identify the thematic focus of the productive and technological system.

Kristina Mancinone, from ART-ER, explained how Emilia Romagna is really inserting RRI into the S3. ART-ER encountered some problems in including the civil society in the new RIS3. The territorial RRI dimensions has been adopted as policy-making principles to design a collaborative agendas for the future. Specific grant scheme for public engagement in public-private research projects have been issued through the ERDF and ESF. In addition, an inclusive governance model for managing S3 implementation is foreseen.

In concrete, in order to place RRI in practice, ART-ER launched an open consultation process on S3 which helped to define RRI as a principle in the new regional S3. Moreover, guidelines for territorial RRI were discussed with all the quadruple helix stakeholders involved in the process and then presented to the regional Direction General which is leading the S3 implementation. In the last three years, the staff of ART-ER had to deal with several challenges in order to being able to implement RRI at territorial level. First of all, there is a lack of RRI capacity building for RPOs (Regional Operation Programmes) and municipalities, and secondly there is a strong need for a political commitment. We should not neglect the commitment regarding ROP design which defines clear objectives with local stakeholders and tries to work on specific territorial challenges.

The 10th dialogues, as usual, foreseen also the involvement of two panellists: Maruxa Arana Project Manager at ADItech, coordinator of the R&D system of NavarraADItech; and Elisabetta Marinelli Policy analyst at Policy Research Interface.

Maruxa Arana, presented a tangible and concrete example of applied RRI in the regional context. Since 2019, ADItech has promoted the excellency of the Innovation System of Navarra by supporting the incorporation of the gender dimension into the research project developed in Navarra. Recently, a gender equality plan has been developed in Navarra specifically for the scientific sector. Now it’s possible to talk about scientific excellence without taking into account the sex-gender. In December 2020, the current regional biomedical research project was presented to the public. It incorporates the gender dimension.

Elisabetta Marinelli, former member of the Joint Research Center in Seville, is now working as a free-lance supporting the public administrations to implement their Smart Specialisation Strategy. Giving the Emilia Romagna background as a leader of innovation, Elisabetta suggested ART-ER staff to be focus on technological research and innovation. Lots of social changes were happened in the last months also due to Covid-19, so new S3 of Emilia Romagna should me more inclusive. Social changes can also bring to additional social innovation at local level in order to reply to real needs of the citizens. Opportunity for new business model, which could be co-create by involving the civil society of Emilia Romagna, could be developed in the next future.

One more time, the topic discussed was so interesting that we had so many questions from the audience which brought the participants to the 10th dialogue of #ResponsibleRegions to discuss about S3 and RRI for more than 20 minutes in a open way.

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