ResInfra@DR - Editors' choice - Social Lab No 4 on Research Infrastructures, including e-Infrastructures held in Vienna


On the occassion of the Social Lab Workshop No 4, which was held in the beginning of May in Vienna, RRI expert ilse Marschalek (Centre for Social Innovation, ZSI) introduced idea and concept of the project: 

With 12 participants, 5 men, 7 women, stemming from 9 different countries, respresenting 2 NCPs, 2 former ESFRI chairs, 6 researchers and evaluators as well as 2 research infrastructures we had our first workshop with a very diverse group, highly experienced in the field of research infrastructures. After a few team building activities we immediately dived into the current working practices in the field, reflecting and assessing them against aspects addressed by the RRI concept. To attain a common understanding of RRI in such a short time turned out to be a difficult task, which we could only partly achieve. Thus, and for further readings, as lab management we promised to provide additional materials after the workshop.

However, due to the interactive and reflective character of our programme we could elaborate aspects that might burden the work in infrastructures and also aspects that might enrich the work. Although RRI was perceived as a rather vague concept by our participants, they came up with more enriching aspects. The „integral” and overarching character of RRI was highlighted, bringing all aspects such as gender equality and open access together under one umbrella. Participants saw a „better embeddedness of science and research” in society and vice versa, and by the „involvement of different stakeholders” also „new options for innovations”. Participants also envisaged the influencing charachter of RRI, into „institutional structures”, like „breaking with hierarchical structures” or „creating more equal opportunities”, and also in the „education system”. They appreciated „dedicatd spaces” for RRI, in which reflection and co-creation can take place. Formulated burdens described already first needs that could be addressed, such as: „I am not trained for this”, „causing additional work for researchers”, „diversions from topic of research” or „making the proposal writing more complex”.

To enable flourishing ideas how to address these aspects we invited our participants to a walkshop in the beautiful gardens of Schönbrunn (luckily the weather allowed us to). Walking in small groups, participants discussed ideal future visions on RRI integration in the field of research infrastructures. Based on formulated future sentences participants in the next steps came up with requirements how to achieve those and how to address open issues. Ideas formulated addressed the following headings: RRI dissemination and branding, the concept work of RRI, policies required, including open access strategies, the RRI community of practice and accountability (transparency).

All the collected ideas fed a common pool out of which concrete solutions and ideas for pilot activities were elaborated.  After a final selection process, small teams worked on three ideas for pilot activities and co-created concepts for implementation. These ideas are:

•             Small wind

Co-creation activity with infrastructure experts together with a newly developed wind energy infrastructure in Denmark

•             Magna Charta

Revision of the open access Charta according to RRI principles

•             Museum Lab

Social Lab on RRI in the Natural History Museum Vienna

We could identify hosts and core working teams for all pilots, further support by social lab team members was assured. As a next step, all pilot hosts are asked to check with their home institutions on the willingness for implementation and to come up with a short abstact and budget planning. If everything is in accordance with the hosting institutions and the NewHoRRIzon project outlines, the pilot activities will be launched as soon as possible.

Learn more about the project

Image source: NewHorrizon, 2018


Programme co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)