Suspicion-laden paralysis over new nanotechnology labelling and register

Nanotechologies are the perfect case study to identify lobbying forces at work in the regulatory process in Brussels. Compulsory labelling or the implementation of a register for products containing nanotech components have been at the centre of the debate spreading over an inordinately long time. But such decisions will only come at the end of a protracted debate between the European Commission, industry, consumer representatives and environment protection organisations. In the end, evidence-base and the precautionary principle may not be the base for political decisions at the EU level.

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The many lives of Responsible Research and Innovation

From a distance, Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) displays all of the features of a passing fashion. Yet, there is substance to it. In particular, this approach offers an opportunity to redefine divisions of moral labour in our societies. In this stimulating opinion piece, Arie Rip, professor of philosophy of science and technology at the University of Twente, The Netherlands, shares his perspective as a sociologist on the recent trend to reflect on research goals and include more actors in the research and innovation processes.

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RRI as a wake-up call

Until now, our diagnostics of the role of research and innovation in society has been too simplistic. In this opinion piece, Elisabeth Gulbrandsen, special adviser in the division for innovation of the Research Council of Norway, shares her view on how RRI can be embedded in the fabric of research programmes. She argues that RRI is a wake-up call pointing to the need to examine the nature of the research and innovation itself before we can implement a change in the culture of research, moving beyond our comfort zone.

The Scientists Dating Forum celebrated an event linking science and society in a relaxed environment for the first time

‘How democratic should science be?’ was the question that opened the first Scientists Dating Forum public event. In the evening of the 26th October, around 30 people meet in Flatherty’s Irish Pub (Barcelona) to discuss the participation of society in science while having a beer.

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RRI training by showcases

RRI has an air of deja vu, as the concepts behind RRI could transform the way that the research and innovation processes work, and bring their results much closer to what our fellow citizens really want and need. European funded project RRI Tools is rolling out a series of training workshops across Europe. In this opinion piece, Steve Miller, professor of science communication at University College London, UK, shares the lessons learned from previously tested approaches implemented by the UK EPSRC research council.

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Sound policies needed to frame scientific and technological progress

Science policy is one of the key topics on the agenda of the European Science Open Forum event, ESOF2016, in Manchester in July 2016. This article looks at various examples of fields where science policy has a key role to play; be it to convey acceptance of new technology, accompany key funding decisions for large international research projects like the largest radio telescope ever developed–the Square Kilometre Array–or simply help fundamental research turn into innovative solutions.

Time to recognise the influence of gender on research outcomes

The League of European Research Universities, LERU , launches today, 16th September 2015, a new report showing how Gendered Research and Innovation (GRI) can foster new knowledge and solutions to global challenges. And such challenges are not minor. Indeed, research failing to account for sex and gender specificities can put lives at risk and be costly. Gendered Innovations in Science, Health & Medicine, Engineering, and Environment is a US/EU initiative whose goal is to explore how gender analysis can open doors to discovery. Meanwhile, international, collaborations supported by the European Commission and the US National Science Foundation developed state-of-the art methods for sex and gender research.