CDI aims to address societal challenges with research and innovation by building consortia involving all relevant stakeholders and the full value chain. Consortia define specific challenges and ways to tackle them. To meet funding criteria for each of the three stages, consortia must have a problem-oriented and transnational approach so that societal challenges are addressed at a system level. They must also include one or more project partners who have a strong interest in the results as well as the ability to utilise those results. Finally, consortia must also create an impact logic model outlining the expected short- and long-term outcomes of the project.
There are no restrictions on which research topics, disciplines, sectors or stakeholders to involve, but, all necessary factors, including end users, must be involved to address the challenge and get funding. All stakeholders are involved in all activities during all stages. Stage 1: building the consortium, defining the challenge, determining how to tackle it. Stage 2: collaboration, development and integration, restricted tests, user involvement. Stage 3: implementation, full-scale tests in real environments, demonstrations, user involvement.
As more projects go through the programme, the number of examples of successful projects that demonstrate good communication increases. Over time there will be greater openness; initially, the lack of project examples meant that many applicants struggled to translate the vision of the program into relevant proposals.
Anticipation and reflection are built into the project description: challenges are outlined, and there is reflection on the type of innovations (social, technical or a combination) needed to address them. End users must be consulted from the start, and their values and thoughts considered. Prior to the start of each new project phase, stakeholders must reflect on and update the impact logic model.
Between each stage of the process, consortia must conduct new market research and update the problem description and impact logic model, which ensures new conditions are taken into account. Consortia are required to start taking ownership of the expected outcomes during the project.
By not only stimulating mutual learning but also enforcing, via funding requirements, the collective ownership of a specific societal problem and a marketable approach to its solution, including risks and rewards, CDI shows its participants that the process requirements for RRI are not just in the interest of society-at-large but very much in their own interest as well. CDI showcases RRI’s potential as a win-win governance approach for all involved stakeholders.