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Science with and for Society

27 October 2017


Call summary and aims

Science with and for society will help citizens, organisations and territories to open a new chapter of their development through joint research and innovation activities in five strategic orientations. It will contribute to the implementation of Responsible Research and Innovation through institutional governance changes in Research Performing (RPOs) and Funding Organisations (RFOs), focusing on developing new partnerships and involving researchers, policy makers, citizens and industry. It will step up support for gender equality in R&I policy by promoting institutional changes and focusing on key areas of research to advance gender equality. It will build on the territorial dimension of SWAFS partnerships by opening up R&I broadly to society according to specific territorial contexts, where territories are understood as geographical areas sharing common features (e.g. economic, social, cultural, environmental). It will explore and support citizen science in a broad sense, encouraging citizens and other stakeholders to participate in all stages of R&I. Finally, it will build the knowledge base for SwafS through a combination of totally bottom-up and open topics and targeted topics including two looking for the first time at science communication and due and proportionate precaution.

Strategic orientation 1. Accelerating and catalysing processes of institutional change

(relevant for all 8 topics in this section of the SwafS Work Programme i.e. SwafS-01-2018-2019 to SwafS-08-2019 inclusive)

This part will contribute to implementing the RRI keys (public engagement, science education, ethics including research integrity, gender equality, and open access) through institutional governance changes in Research Funding and Performing Organisations (RFPOs) in an integrated way and to disseminate good practices. In this strategic orientation, RFPOs should be understood broadly as organisations developing or funding activities in the field of R&I as one of their objectives (e.g. a civil society organisation engaged in R&I could be eligible). It will also allow projects to be developed that involve researchers, policy makers, citizens and industry and to monitor impact and progress. Developing new partnerships will be a priority. Results should contribute to the implementation of ERA priorities, a greater involvement of all stakeholders in R&I, and a better and more sustainable engagement with society.

Strategic orientation 2. Stepping up support to Gender Equality in Research & Innovation policy  (relevant for all 5 topics in this section of the SwafS Work Programme i.e. SwafS-09-2018-2019 to SwafS-13-2019 inclusive)

Gender Equality Plans are the main policy instruments promoted through the European Research Area to advance gender equality in research organisations and universities. Based on progress so far, actions will be adapted to catalyse the changes in response to the three objectives: gender equality in scientific careers, gender balance in decision making, and the integration of the gender dimension in research content. Additionally, considering the evolution of the research systems in Europe, gender aspects of scientific careers and decision-making processes will be investigated to gather updated evidence for future policy action. Finally, a major and recent challenge is to better integrate the gender dimension in research and innovation programmes and projects. Following the uptake of the gender dimension in Horizon 2020 and in some national research agencies, it is time to take stock of what has been done so far, and design the next steps in terms of process and knowledge. This will enhance the societal relevance of the produced knowledge, technologies and innovations and contribute to the production of goods and services better suited to potential markets.

Strategic orientation 3. Building the territorial dimension of SwafS partnerships (relevant for both topics in this section of the SwafS Work Programme i.e. SwafS-14-2018-2019 and SwafS-22-2018)

SwafS will encourage partnerships between universities, formal and informal education institutions (including primary and secondary schools), science museums and centres, governments and public authorities (including regional and local administrations), businesses (including industry and the service sector) and CSOs operating at local, national and European levels. Connecting these different levels with a view to sharing scientific knowledge and supporting user-led innovation will require new working methods and governance relations. New ways of opening up R&I broadly to society according to specific contexts will be developed, thus ensuring the involvement of communities in different territorial contexts (e.g. rural vs. urban areas), promotion of gender equality, and consideration and involvement of all people, irrespective of their age, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background. Territories are understood as geographical areas sharing common features (e.g. economic, social, cultural, environmental).

Strategic orientation 4. Exploring and supporting citizen science (relevant for both topics in this section of the SwafS Work Programme i.e. SwafS-15-2018-2019 and SwafS-16-2019)

Citizen science is emerging as an important policy orientation but is still largely unexplored. It covers a range of different levels of participation: from raising public knowledge about science, encouraging citizens to participate in the scientific process by observing, gathering and processing data, right up to setting scientific agenda and co-designing and implementing science-related policies. SwafS will focus on the meanings, mechanisms and challenges facing citizen science from local to European and global levels, learning from on-going experiences and innovative grassroots initiatives. Potential aspects to explore include how citizen science can act as a catalyst to develop scientific skills and competences, act as a tool for informal and formal science education of young people and adults, counter perceived anti-intellectual attitudes in society, raise the scientific literacy of European citizens, and promote social inclusion and employability. Moreover, the backdrop of deep and profound implications on science as a discipline, a profession and as a practice, and also on science's relationship with and for society, should also be considered.

Strategic orientation 5. Building the knowledge base for SwafS (relevant for all 5 topics in this section of the SwafS Work Programme i.e. SwafS-17-2019 to SwafS-21-2018 inclusive)

Understanding the co-evolution of science and society will help proactive and anticipatory policy making. SwafS will examine how societal actors, including young people, behave, understand, react to and interact with science and scientific developments, and their motives for engaging in science-related activities. This includes investigating science communication and science advocacy in the digital world and how science and technology studies and different disciplines (e.g. behavioural sciences, communication studies, gender studies, linguistics, and social anthropology) – and multi/transdisciplinary approaches – can help explain interactions between science and society. This will include a focus on blind spots of research and innovation in relation to people's needs and concerns, in particular due and proportional precaution, scientific uncertainty, means of measuring the integration of RRI in science and innovation, and the gender dimension in research content. Moreover, consideration could be given to rewarding achievement in RRI in its various dimensions to signal the organisations that are more RRI-aware (answering questions such as how such a reward could work and based on which criteria). Another area is implications of deep changes in science and innovation and its interactions with society and the economy, such as the transition to open science and open innovation, and resultant changes in the relationships between science and society.