STARBIOS2 workshop on RRI in Africa

Editorial Team RRI

Is there a place for responsible research and innovation in African research institutions? With STARBIOS2 experiences in mind, the team at University of Rome Tor Vergata organised the workshop “RRI in Africa: Challenges and perspectives” to find out. To achieve the United Nations’ Millennium Developmental Goals, we need responsible research and innovation (RRI). But how do we implement RRI in African bioscience research institutions? At the RRI in Africa workshop, STARBIOS2 gained insights from the experiences of STARBIOS2 members, research and innovation collaboration projects between Italy and Africa, and African students. Among the around 80 participants were professors and PhD students in Europe and Africa, STARBIOS2 members, rectors of the Somali National University and Evangelic University of Cameroon, representatives of Italian universities (Camerino, Modena, Rome La Sapienza, Rome Tor Vergata, Padua, Parma, Pavia and others) and research institutions (CNR), and UNESCO. Focusing on RRI implementation in biosciences, some topics of discussion were the RRI approach, the specificity of RRI in Africa, experiences from higher education in Cameroon and Italy, student mobility, and scientific projects of Africa PhD students enrolled in Italian universities. The discussions resulted in some theories on how to best develop a plan for RRI implementation in African research institutions, and the conclusion that there may be a need to re-think the European strategy for RRI in the African context. Daniele Mezzana

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 …