Connecting science with society at ETHAC2019

Editorial Team RRI

Science is connected to society. Without this connection, European research is at risk. Last week, STARBIOS2 coordinator Carla Montesano was at ETHAC2019 alongside our monitor and evaluator Evanthia K. Schmidt talking about how to respond to this challenge. We need to respond! We need to move our research focus and practice from a single living being, to including that being’s environment and the connections between the two. Carla Montesano, STARBIOS2 coordinator Focus is shifting from the study of a single element towards the study of living being biology in relation to the dynamic environment: the study of the Exposome. The same goes for laboratories. We are moving from small, linear organisations to larger, more dynamic organisations. Now, there is demand for contextualizing bioscience, and focusing on the contribution of various stakeholders into both research and policy practice.  “We need to respond! We need to move our research focus and practice from a single living being, to including that being’s environment and the connections between the two. The same goes for our research practices. We cannot operate on small isolated islands anymore. We need Open Science, because we need wider networks that shares ideas, knowledge and resources”, Carla Montesano says. Only an hour left! ⏱ Make sure you catch the @STARBIOS2 session at #ETHAC2019! Learn more about our project and #RRI in #bioscience at — STARBIOS2 (@STARBIOS2) October 1, 2019

STARBIOS2 members at ScanBalt Forum

STARBIOS2 at ScanBalt Forum

Editorial Team RRI

Last week, STARBIOS2 members were busy at ScanBalt Forum, and this years theme was “Molecular Biology and Immunology of Cancer – R&D perspectives”. Hosted in Gdansk, Poland, partners from University of Gdansk were of course present. But so were consortium members from Italy, from University of Tor Vergata and from Laboratory of Citizen Science. ”Science & society are in a complex transition. Structures, norms, values, and practices are changing. This is affecting bioscience. Under what conditions can RRI be an effective reaction?” Claudia Colonello Claudia Colonello gave a talk titled “Structural Change to Attain Responsible Biosceinces: the experience of the STARBIOS2 project” where she described the complex transition facing the biosciences today. In her presentation, Claudia raised an important question: ”Science & society are in a complex transition. Structures, norms, values, and practices are changing. This is affecting bioscience. Under what conditions can #RRI be an effective reaction?” STARBIOS2 at ScanBalt Forum 2019

STARBIOS2 Steering Committee Meeting in Slovenia

Sustainability of structural change at STARBIOS2 meeting in Slovenia

Editorial Team RRI

12-13 September 2019, the STARBIOS2 consortium met in Portoroz, Slovenia to discuss how to sustain the structural changes made in during the project. And to figure out how to disseminate and communicate about the guidelines for maximum impact, so that other bioscience research institutions can learn from our experiences. Curious? Have a look at some of the highlights below. STARBIOS2 Steering Committee Meeting in Slovenia

Preparing to deliver results

Editorial Team RRI

On September 12-13, the STARBIOS2 consortium steering committee will meet in Slovenia to discuss the guidelines, action plans and how we can make sure our results are shared with both the RRI and bioscience communities. The agenda covers updates on the first six action plans from all implementing partners, and the following three action plans that will be carried out by our partners from Brazil, South Africa and the US. We will discuss how to ensure the project has impact on bioscience research organisations in Europe and elsewhere, plan our final events in Cape Town and Brussels next year. Followed by what, where and how to publish our results to ensure our outputs are available for the scientific community. Follow our discussions on Twitter #STARBIOS2scm.  

STARBIOS2 at Open Campus Bremen


Editorial Team RRI

STARBIOS2 partner University of Bremen invited interested people in their local community to the OPEN CAMPUS on 15 June 2019. In addition to the extensive and varied programme, guest took part in guided tours, a “children’s campus”, concerts and a poetry slam on the outdoor stage. 2000 visitors accepted the invitation. “It was a successful event with many interested participants and a great opportunity to disseminate the concept of responsible research and innovation and the STARBIOS2 project,” says Tanja Barendziak, part of the STARBIOS2 team at OPEN CAMPUS. Under the slogan Open Worlds – Share Knowledge researchers from different faculties, institutes, affiliated institutes and research unites shared fascinating insights into their work and projects. Based on their previous work on “Science for You and Me”, the STARBIOS2 team presented the topic of genetic engineering and the challenges this technology brings. Children’s hands-on activities included DNA isolation from strawberries and construction of DNA models with pearls. Guests interested in learning more took part in a reflective activity on future topics of genetic engineering: “Should mammoths be brought to life?”, “Green genetic engineering as a solution to global hunger?” and “The humanity that no longer ages?” Participants reflected on various key questions (e. g. What problems could this research entail?) and to write their thoughts on ready-made note sheets. Their notes were collected, put on a pin board, and used as a basis for further discussion by other participants.

STARBIOS2 posters at KRAB 2019

Sharing best practice for stronger research collaborations in Poland

Editorial Team RRI

Polish participation in the EU research programmes was in focus when KRAB (the Polish Council of EU Research Project Coordinators) and STARBIOS2 partner University of Gdansk organised its 17th symposium. Aiming to increase Polish participation in EU research programmes, 60 participants shared best practice for management and realization of Polish EU research at the 13-14 June event. University of Gdansk introduced STARBIOS2 to highlight their work on enhancing responsible biosciences.

Authorship and Gender

Authorship and gender

Editorial Team RRI

STARBIOS2 partner University of Gdánsk among the top 10 in the CWTS Leiden global ranking of the share of female authorships of scientific publications! This is the first time the gender diversity was used as an indicator for rating. The list is part of the annual international CWTS Leiden Ranking 2019 and measures academic activity of universities around the world. based on the scientific publication. Between 2014 and 2017, female researchers held approximately 30 percent of all authorships. 963 universities are included in the ranking. Read more

Want to receive STARBIOS2 news? First newsletter issued!

Want to receive news from STARBIOS2?

Editorial Team RRI

Want to learn about ways to improve citizens’ understanding of science, or how to create a supportive and inclusive university culture? Today, we issued our first newsletter, where we share news on recent publications and the different activities by partners who actively work to change structures in their own institutions. Aiming to achieve responsible biosciences. You can view the newsletter here and subscribe to hear more from us in the future!

Improving citizens' understanding of science

Improving citizens’ understanding of science

Editorial Team RRI

With an appropriate understanding of the scientific process, citizens can cultivate well-founded views on scientific issues. This is fundamental to enable co-creation, or “citizen-science”. In her recently defended thesis, Julia Birkholz makes the case for using “Reflective Reviewing Cafés” (RCs) to enhance citizens’ understanding of science and the scientific process. “Allowing students to reflect on the scientific process is a way of encouraging lifelong, attentive learning,” says Julia Birkholz who successfully defended the second doctoral thesis on 24 May. This STARBIOS2 thesis, supervised by Doris Elster, is titled “Study on the efficacy of Group Reflections on the Understanding of Nature of Science in the Outreach Laboratory Backstage Sciences”.

Draft guidelines under review - STARBIOS2

Draft guidelines under review

Editorial Team RRI

Right now, external reviewers are looking at the first draft RRI guideline document from the STARBIOS2 project. The text is designed to be a tool for guiding readers in self-reflection over the reasons and ways that different organizations can move towards changing structures to promote responsible research and innovation. We have asked our reviewers to give input and let us know if the text is comprehensible, comprehensive, useable and relevant. In essence, we are asking if people who are new to RRI and structural change can understand the guideline. We also want to know if we have included everything that is needed to equip the readers to promote RRI practice. Also, we need to know if it is useful, and whether it addresses the problems and challenges that bioscience research organizations face in different countries. We expect input from the review process in the beginning of June. Which puts us right on track to deliver our final reports in April 2020. By Josepine Fernow