Was the recently scraped role of European chief scientific adviser (CSA) position, held by Anne Glover, doomed to fail from the outset? Clearly it was a role that was under resourced and not clearly defined, at no fault of Glover’s, who was clearly full of the right stuff coming from the post of chief scientist in Scotland. And what role did the lobbying by a coalition of NGOs—including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth—who called for the post to be scrapped? Without an easily identifiable and contactable figurehead, the exact mechanisms by which science policy-makers use evidence – or not – remain as mysterious and opaque as ever. The debate goes further than the question of whether Europe needs a single science advisor or a series of science advisors for every single discipline. It raises the question as to how in concrete terms the evidence-base can weave its way more systematically through the policy-making process.
Print edition of EuroScientist special issue Looking East, focusing on Eastern European research and innovation.
Last year, Russia’s president Putin took away all the assets of the Russian Academy of Science . Putin has also created a sort of mega-academy, merging the academies of Sciences, Agricultural Sciences and Medical Sciences. However, its control was not bestowed upon the forward thinking chairman of the RAS, Vladimir Fortov. Instead, it was attributed to one of Putin’s finance manager, creating fierce controversy in the country and abroad. These events have come to disrupt parallel attempts to put Russian science back on the world map. For example, through initiatives such as the creation of a Russian Silicon Valley and the support of a mega-grant programme to reverse the brain drain.
Welcome to this Special Issue of the EuroScientist dedicated to Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). This issue outlines many facets of RRI. It also provides different perspectives on the topic, including historical, institutional, academic, and views of practitioners in the field.
RRI originates from European policy in the 2000’s. It is part of on-going reflection on changing governance relations between research, innovation, and wider society. But more recently it has been addressed systematically beyond its origins in the philosophy of science by several academic fields and from several points of view. Most recently, it has also begun to form bridges and connections with other literatures coming from different directions such as corporate social responsibility, responsible innovation including steering towards societal challenges, responsible industry and innovation systems. But how strong is the connection between RRI and these related concepts?
Social connections, of course, are a key part of being a researcher—all the more so as science becomes increasingly collaborative. Much of scientific success—in both intellectual and career terms—is down to finding the right mentors and collaborators. Networks are a resource as much as any other. So how important to academic success is cultivating your profile online?
Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is a process where societal actors (researchers, citizens, policy, business) work together during the R&I process.
Science and technology are always intertwined with the economic and political system. Therefore it needs to be submitted to fundamental democratic procedures. For the upcoming federal elections in September 2013, the German Association of Science Writers TELI has launched a Science Debate . On its internet platform , every citizen is able to share a topic of concern. These will subsequently be discussed with experts.
During the last IMPRS interdisciplinary symposium New Frontiers in Science the topic of “Science and Society” was clearly exemplified by two prominent researchers and science communicators. While Prof. Ernst-Peter Fischer from Germany talked about “The public misunderstanding of science”; the Mexican Prof. Ana Maria Cetto addressed “The scientists’ misunderstanding of the public”. But who are these scientists and who are the public?