The University of Twente (UT) and the province of Overijssel join forces in the new European project Responsible Research and Innovation Ecosystems at Regional Scale for Intelligent Cities, Transport and Energy (RRI2SCALE). In a three-year project, an approach will be designed to enable regions to make their research and innovation policies more sustainable, inclusive and future-proof. Apart from Overijssel, the European regions Galicia, Crete and the Norwegian Vestland also participate.
Responsible research and innovation
The project aims to help European regions address the challenges faced by their citizens in everyday life as a result of large-scale digitisation and sustainability policies. These include the use of sensors to control nitrogen precipitation, which also addresses the problem of traffic congestion, and connection of neighbourhoods to a heat grid or to solar or wind energy.
The project adopts an approach of ‘responsible research and innovation’ (RRI), involving end users and their questions and needs in the process at an early stage. For example, residents can help researchers with design choices and in some cases they can also get actively involved themselves. In addition, results are made more accessible to citizens and there is also much attention for diversity and ethics. In this way, a widely supported approach is created that serves the whole region.
The project is funded in the context of the work program Science with and for Society of the European Horizon 2020 research program. In this project four European regions, three universities, three companies and a social organisation work together under the guidance of the Italian institute APRE. The project runs until 2023. The project website will be launched shortly.
Contribution of DesignLab
The Province of Overijssel and the University of Twente signed a collaboration agreement in 2018, which resulted in the joint participation in this European project. The method chosen for the project matches the new vision of the UT, Shaping 2030, which focuses on Citizen Science, Open Science and Public Engagement.
Within RRI2SCALE, DesignLab is responsible for setting up workshops in the four regions on future scenarios and regional innovation agendas. As an interdisciplinary platform for connecting technology and society, DesignLab explicitly focuses on Citizen Science and involving citizens in designing solutions to social challenges, such as energy transition, sustainable mobility, and smart cities.
Within the project, Dr. Anne Dijkstra, researcher in the field of Science Communication and a DesignLab Fellow, is responsible for research and development of techno-moral scenarios. “The project is a great way to better connect the university with what is happening in the region, and to take this into account in research," says Dijkstra.
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