GREAT - Project & News
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- Newsletter #1 -



The GREAT project has been running for almost eighteen months and is on its course towards developing an empirically based and theoretically sound model of the role of responsible research and innovation governance.

The project explores the dynamics of participation in research and innovation, and investigates the characteristics of responsible practices. It investigates the nature of new partnerships among various stakeholders, researchers and policymakers that are developing within innovation networks and the influence that these developments have on knowledge production and policy. This is done by:
  1. determining the characteristics of research and innovation
  2. involving diverse groupings and
  3. determining the social processes involved in responsible research and innovation practices.
In doing so, the GREAT project addresses the following key issues:
  • It explores the knowledge and research potential of multi-stakeholder approaches in research;
  • it investigates how responsible innovation is involved in research processes and
  • it uses this knowledge to inform policy makers on how to integrate responsible innovation in further research activities.

GREAT Glossary

The GREAT Glossary was published in May 2013. It contains the definitions of terms authored and reviewed by the GREAT consortium members, during the first three months of the GREAT project.

The glossary is a living document and therefore may be subject to updates throughout the lifetime of the project with additional terms and definitions. It will eventually be incorporated into a glossary that will provide common terms and understanding across the other related RRI projects (RESPONSIBILITY, Res-Agora, ProGReSS, and GREAT).

The definitions presented in the Glossary focus on terms, concepts and approaches that provide a common understanding across the work of the GREAT project.  Concepts or notions specific to GREAT or of wider relevance to Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) are included in the report.

The glossary is to be used as a reflexive tool and to assist the consortium in the identification of blind spots and to raise awareness of interdisciplinary challenges and issues in mutual understanding. Therefore, the glossary enables the consortium partners to integrate an accepted understanding of these terms into the construction and analysis of their elements of the GREAT project. However, each term currently included is to be subject to further scientific discussion and so its definitions may be revised during the course of the project. This glossary therefore should be seen as a work in progress.

The purpose of the GREAT Glossary is to facilitate efficient communication via the creation of definitions and explanations of important or unusual terms that arise in the normative analysis (for instance) in order to allow their deployment throughout – the efficiency comes in the sense that the glossary will permit partners to ‘speak the same language’. The GREAT Glossary therefore is not just facilitating the progress of research via supplying definitions of terms, but will allow for greater understanding of the work by all stakeholders.

GREAT Analytical Grid Tool

The GREAT Analytical Grid Tool was documented at the end of January 2014 and is available here. This document has the aim of providing the necessary parameters for processing applied approaches.

In order to accomplish this task, the tool starts by outlining what the problems are with regard to RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation), gaining knowledge from the previous “Theoretical Landscape” (Deliverable 2.2 and available here), and from the understanding derived from the expertise of the GREAT partners. From there, the GREAT Analytical Grid Tool tries to assess the current Responsible Innovation approaches.

The accomplishment of this task is done in two steps: firstly, by considering RRI through its two key aspects, responsibility and innovation, and secondly, by considering the current understanding of RRI itself. The evidence reveals that the main shortcomings of RRI are represented by the reductive way in which norms are conceived and constructed with regard to the context.

This work has been developed in several steps:
  • introducing the actual situation with regard to Responsible Innovation in the EU.
  • defining the problem(s) related to Responsible Innovation
  • discussing the epistemology that cross-cuts the problems and that opens up the real problem
  • developing a methodological path or justificatory explanation for the GREAT approach
  • specifying the parameters needed in order to collect empirical data and analyze research according to the GREAT frame.
The critical assessment of norms construction and governance approaches of the GREAT Analytical Grid Tool stands on precise methodological ground, that doesn’t intend to impose a single perspective but will depict the logical and ethical weak points of current scenarios.

This deliverable therefore provides explicit/implicit, logical and ethical, justifications to perspectives.

The precise aim of the GREAT Analytical Grid Tool is thus to translate theoretical insights into a ‘language’ useful for further empirical inquiries, by providing a dynamic methodological analytical tool suitable for this purpose.

GREAT empirical analyses: quantitative and qualitative approaches

The GREAT Consortium presents a state-of-the-art selection of empirical methodologies  that can serve as a basis to accomplish the main goals in the GREAT project.

Namely, to:
  • provide empirical support for the theoretical framework on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in GREAT; and
  • generate empirical data to calibrate the agent-based model for simulating different RRI scenarios. 
The dataset for the empirical research consists of 206 projects under the CIP ICT PSP programme, a policy support programme promoting the use of information and communications technologies. This policy support programme has been funded as part of the competitiveness and innovation programme  (CIP) of the European Commission.The objectives of our quantitative survey concerning the CIP ICT-PSP projects are to:
  • Discover RRI profiles of EU-funded research organisations; and
  • Explore RRI life cycles of EU projects.
The three main aspects of the quantitative empirical research agenda that our survey entailed are: Innovation, the RRI Construct and the RRI Trade-Offs.

Focus on Innovation
The CIP ICT-PSP project pool has been chosen with an innovation focus in mind. Indeed, the various calls under this programme aimed to stimulate the use and application of ICT not only in organisations of the public and private sector but also in society at large.

From this perspective, the projects in the dataset we have chosen need to demonstrate from the outset their potential for generating value to customers and users. Delivering on the promise of value creation is of the essence for the projects in this dataset.

This focus on innovation is also in line with the definition of RRI put forth by von Schomberg, a definition of RRI based on the requirement of value generation in the marketplace imposed on the organisations that innovate. This definition has also been put forth as the European definition of RRI, as opposed to the broader impacts definition that has been proposed and is currently being used in the U.S. by research-funding agencies such as the NSF.

RRI Profiles
The GREAT survey aims to discover the RRI profiles of participating organisations in EU-funded research using the judgments of project coordinators and project partners who were members of project consortia in several of the CIP ICT-PSP projects.

Will our survey provide quantitative empirical evidence to suggest that a typology of different RRI profiles is indeed in place? If so, this important result of the GREAT project might kick off a very ambitious research agenda in the RRI community, namely, the search for what we might term here “the RRI construct.” Such an outcome of the GREAT project might not be all that surprising if we consider similar research agendas. Indeed, a very similar agenda has dominated another research community for decades, namely, the entrepreneurial studies research community in its quest for the so-called entrepreneurial construct.

The RRI Trade-Offs
Arguably, the goals and objectives of research- and innovation-granting agencies such as the European Commission are not necessarily strategically aligned with the goals and objectives of the organisations they fund, in particular when it comes to RRI. Indeed, RRI seems to be a minefield of conflicting goals and objectives between RI agents, on the one hand, and the agencies that either fund or regulate them, on the other.

As a result, RRI is an area of strategic management par excellence where complex trade-offs need to be negotiated and made between actors conducting RI, on the one hand, and external stakeholders that are endowed with a formal or a de facto RRI governing mechanism, on the other.

Important questions in this area are for example to what extent increasing the red tape in terms of norms and regulations for RRI compliance will end up stiffening innovation and global competitiveness in the European Union in the long run.

This third aspect is embedded in our simulation approach and is a direct result of the need to empower public policymakers in the European Union with validated tools for the ex ante simulation of public policy in the area of RRI.

Through agent-based modelling, we will be able to provide a tool to test RRI hypotheses and provide policymakers in the European Union with an additional instrument for the evaluation of public policy in the important area of RRI.

In parallel, we performe a qualitative case study analysis; we conduct eight case studies that are all related to the European FP7 Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), and the ICT Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP), in particular. First, we conduct five document-based case studies, analysing selected deliverables and other official documents from five different projects. Secondly, we conduct three in-depth case studies that include semi-structured interviews with various CIP ICT PSP project participants (e.g. project coordinators). These three more comprehensive studies cover the following themes: ICT in the care for elder people; ICT in the care for the environment; and ICT in financial markets. The first two themes correspond to two important ‘societal challenges’ as defined by scholars and the European Commission, the third one covers a cross-cutting theme running through various projects in the CIP ICT PSP, i.e. ‘automation’. In all eight case studies we apply and test the analytical grid tool that was theoretically developed in the GREAT project, thus contributing to its refinement. The results from our empirical analyses will also be used in the development of appropriate governance models and guidelines for RRI.

Workshop on innovation: RRI and cultural aspects

During its General Meeting in Oxford, 15- 17th January 2014, GREAT hosted a workshop on innovation (16th January).

Two external speakers gave presentations and facilitated the discussion: Richard Owen, Professor of Responsible Innovation (University of Exeter), elaborated on his framework of RRI and the related 'AREA' initiative adopted by the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Alexander Brem, Professor of Technology and Innovation Management (University of Southern Denmark), explored cultural impacts on innovation processes, pointing to important cultural differences between  Germany, China and India. Both speakers, the GREAT Consortium and external guests then discussed issues such as, eurocentric norms underlying some of the current RRI approaches. The attendees also identified the need to develop a fine-grained understanding of 'participation', i.e. the need to identify empirically, and to conceptualise theoretically, different forms and degrees of 'participation' (one of the key principles of RRI).

Project Coordinator:
Prof. Philippe Goujon - University of Namur (Belgium)

Contact: / +32 (0)81 724 999 / +32 (0)26 72 72 40

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