Co-Change will apply an innovative systemic approach to boost the transformative capacity and leadership for research.
The project will support the implementation of institutional changes at research and innovation (R&I) actors in the areas of research ethics, open access, citizen engagement, gender equality and science education. The consortium partners come from research performing and research funding organisations, practice partners also from governmental bodies, industry, ethics councils and civil society. Although several of our organisations are experienced in responsible research and innovation (RRI) research, most of them are not experienced practitioners, when it comes to working with related practices. Yet we want to learn from each other and create together tools and practices providing possibilities for institutions willing to transform by e.g. reflection of internal norms, values and procedures, by capacity building, quality management, impact assessment and monitoring.
Our key instruments to achieve institutional change are the co-change labs, i.e. spaces in organisations, in which the members of the project team will engage with the actual problems of actors in research performing and funding organisations. We do not want to achieve institutional change by developing e.g. new guidelines, tools, process descriptions or papers all alone and handing them over to individual and organisational actors. Rather, we aim at co-creating tools helpful for the implementation of RRI related practices with the actors involved in research, technological development, innovation activities and the funding thereof, whilst these actors actually are working on their respective tasks.
In the co-change labs, we will have the possibility to use our knowledge from various RRI projects and other activities in order to support the R&I actors in their daily work by co-creating tailor-made RRI related tools and practices. By doing so, we can learn from our work with the stakeholders and engage in institutional change from bottom-up scenarios. This will enable us to understand the actual problems on the ground and provide us with another perspective as by trying to gain access to organisations through the management only.
We will create institutional changes with the experts involved in concrete R&I projects and funding programs and moreover will also include experts on e.g. research funding, gender, ethics, engagement and open access from the involved organisations. The main reason for doing so is that we want to create change coalitions in the specific organisations we are working with, by enlisting actors from different organisational quarters and functional specialisations. Learning from the achievements and barriers other RRI projects, such as JERRI or NewHORRIzon are facing, we are deeply convinced, that we have to take this path in order to achieve deep institutional change.
We will organise co-change labs in our own organisations together with experts in research, technological development and innovation, where we have the possibility to address and support specific R&I projects with the background knowledge and credibility of organisational insiders. On top of that, we will have co-change labs in practice partners’ organisations, where we will facilitate institutional change by supporting actors from the respective organisations, co-creating knowledge and tools for RRI related practices in these organisations.
Furthermore, we focus not on single organisations, but on organisations in their systemic environments. We want to support our partner organisations in the institutionalising change in the framework of their institutional ecosystems, including research, financing and governance. We, therefore, can achieve a much larger impact by not only addressing our own organisations and the organisations of practice partners, but also the organisations they are linked within the concrete projects we are supporting in our change labs, including project partners, customers and funding organisations. The project moreover will include organisations on the European and international levels to multiply our impact.
In order to support RRI related change, we have foreseen the following work steps: First, in WP1, we quickly take stock of existing RRI related experiences, practices, projects and governance structures (including the institutional ecosystems) with the goal to arrive at a common understanding of the interplay between the different R&I actors, their RRI related practices and governance arrangements. Second, as part of WP2 we will engage into a co-creation process organised around a series of co-change forum meetings to build a common understanding of the endeavour orientating all participants towards shared goals and responsibilities informing the final design of the project.
In the framework of WP3 on change labs, the partners will set-up and run change labs in their home organizations, where they will co-create solutions for RRI related problems, diverse in nature and scope, yet united in leading by example to better solutions. The RRI Practice Challenge will consist of an international call for RRI practices extending the range of innovative ideas and prototypes even more. By working on WP4, we will create and advance a toolbox, targeting concrete challenges by e.g. interactive means, self-assessment exercises or open science instruments.
Dissemination and engagement in WP5 will establish citizen engagement measures for our co-change labs, various dissemination exercises such as homepage, blog, workshops and a final conference and cooperate with multiplier organisations such as EARTO, TAFTIE, EUA, ICSU for the dissemination of new practices. WP6 on project monitoring will be based on MoRRI work and UN SDGs, utilising existing and advance new indicators for institutional change, making also sure experiences from e.g. JERRI and PRISMA are taken into account.
WP7, project management, amongst other things, shall concentrate on coordinating the manifold activities of the project, internal project communication, safeguarding against risks through e.g. monitoring. Representatives of e.g. The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) are part of an advisory council, which is to provide critical feedback to the project on a regular basis from the perspective of outside experts on RRI related issues. Finally, a sounding board with experienced RRI project coordinators will help us to learn from the experiences of other RRI projects and create a network from these.