STARBIOS2 perspectives on NUCLEUS conference

Editorial Team RRI

Andrea Declich represented STARBIOS2 at the fourth annual conference of the NUCLEUS project: “Living RRI: opening research to the needs and values of society”. Sessions and discussions drew from speakers and participants’ own experiences of responsible research and innovation (RRI) promotion, in and outside Europe. In this blog post, Andrea Declich shares his perspective.  The “Living RRI” discussions covered several issues currently debated in the RRI community. For example, conference participants raised the issue of jargon. Although RRI may be especially relevant to academia, some of the vocabulary makes little sense to other stakeholders (e.g. industry) and is not helpful for their engagement in RRI promotion. Avoiding jargon is an important step towards promoting RRI outside the world of academia and the already established RRI community. An issue of debate is that many research institutions implement activities without realising they are actually implementing RRI. This connects to another issue also debated in Malta: the use of a standardised approach for RRI implementation. This had little support among conference participants. They considered a tailored approach that takes into account the organisations’ own needs and circumstances essential for successful implementation. With involvement of internal stakeholders, and exchange between them, the likelihood of success is much higher. When implementing structural changes, it is vital to consider the culture of the organisation. For research organisations, the practice of RRI is an approach to produce excellent science. Individual researchers using such approaches should be rewarded. But how? Some interesting discussions arose about incentives for RRI …

Gender in Biosciences, seen by the University of Tor Vergata, Italy

Ellie Gender, RRI

  Elena Bachiddu – Member of the Department of Biology at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”. She works in communication, event organization and on the website of the Department. She is a cultural anthropologist and teaches ‘Health and Safety at Work’ for “Didactics of Science” courses, the theoretical-practical modules annually organized by the Department to promote and disseminate scientific knowledge among students of first and second grade schools. Elena Bachiddu is also a member of the Central Advocacy and Control Committee (CUG-Comitato Unico di Garanzia), where she coordinated Work-Life Balance seminars and publications. 1. How do you understand “Gender” in biosciences research? Broadly based and explored in the field of Gender Studies theory, the discourse on ‘gender difference’ is emerging nowadays in Italy in the biomedical disciplines where it is understood as closely related to the guidelines of personalized medicine and no longer as limited to the sphere of reproductive health of woman. Consequently, Gender Medicine, starting from research and biomedical experimentation and pre-clinical studies, appears as an area that currently recognizes and examines the sex and the feminine difference. In this sense research and experimentation approaches are oriented within several pharmacological research projects and research institutes, training of medical specializations, hospitalization procedures in the local healthcare facilities and healthcare policies. However, in general terms, we must remember that, according to the Global Gender Gap Report presented at the World Economic Forum, Italy still ranks 50th as for women participation in the labor market and for economic opportunities, and in particular according …

Gender in Biosciences, seen by the University of Primorska, Slovenia

Ellie Gender, RRI

  Dr. Elena Buzan – is Head of department for Biodiversity and coordinator of study programme Biodiversity and Nature Conservation at Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologie at University of Primorska. She is also responsible for the societal engagement of UP, for the technology transfer and regulation of policy regarding intellectual property, for promoting gender equality, and for the importance of Open access and ethic knowledge in the bioresearch. 1. How do you understand “Gender” in biosciences research? I think gender issue is one of the crucial point to solve in Biosciences. Our role as researchers is to limit gender biased messaging. Women should not feel discouraged from pursuing a career in the Biosciences simply because they don’t fit a pre-determined model. A better integration of women after they finished their PhD can only improve science, as with more diversity comes more creative ideas and effective solutions. We need to stop enforcing stereotypical roles and give better support to women with families (especially small children) to continue their scientific carrier. 2. What are the current standards and actions to achieve better Gender equality in Primorska University and in Slovenia in general? Gender equality in Slovenia is slightly above the EU average, according to the EU Gender Equality Index. In spite of progress over time, there are still challenges ahead. Indicators measuring labour activity showed better results for men than for women. Women are poorly represented in the decision-making positions in employee and employer organizations. Slovenia has a fairly generous framework governing women’s sexual …

Education in Biosciences, seen by the University of Bremen, Germany

Caroline Education, RRI

University of Bremen – Faculty of Biology & Chemistry Dr. Doris Elster – Head of the Department of Biology Education at the Institute of Science Education. 1. How do you understand “Education” in biosciences research? Science Education is one of the six policy keys within the normative framework of RRI. The core focus is the enhancement of the current education process to better equip citizens (students, teachers, interested laymen) with the necessary knowledge and skills so that they can participate in debates about Research and Innovation (R&I) and can make decisions as scientific literate persons. A further focus of Science Education is to develop and implement educational programs to raise interest in and awareness of responsible research to increase the number of researchers and promote scientific vocations. 2. What are the current standards and actions to achieve better Education in the University of Bremen? The University of Bremen offers services for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers within the educational center BYRD (Early Career Researcher Development). This is a central hub for early career researchers to foster their independent research skills and to provide the means for individual development as well as career paths. The qualification program for doctoral researchers covers workshops such as academic writing and publishing, presenting and networking, research methods, or career orientation and job application standards. The BYRD program for postdocs and advanced researchers comprises qualification workshops and support services in the following fields of competences: research, teaching and instruction, internationalization, networking, transfer and science communication, and gender and …