Spreading RRI concept! The Ibero-American Association for RRI is putting down roots in South America


Long term experience between UCM and Ibero-American is getting a new direction. On 12 of March a mandate for the foundation of the Association RRI IberoAmerica was signed.

Who is in?

This is a result of extended knowledge about RRI in such countries as Portugal, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil. Taking into account that RRI is practically unknown in Latin-American countries, the UCM FoTRRIS team has decided to orientate actions towards the development of the co-RRI concept over there by articulating the Competence Cell as an Association of different hubs in the mentioned Ibero-American countries.

Why now?

This choice relies on the momentum that RRI is gaining in Europe, and the inspiration that European R&I strategy produces in the research agendas of countries in the Latin-American region. These countries are currently working on the transformation and modernization of their R&I structure and strategies, this is why, it is a good time to participate in reorganisation of process and support the inclusion of RRI principles on Latin-American region.

What is the Vision?

The Association RRI Ibero-America follows the steps of FoTRRIS: establish co-RRI practices dealing with the societal impact of research and innovation. The co-RRI concept is oriented towards humans’ and the planetary well-being, and acknowledges related international agreements to enhance ecological, social and economic sustainability. Thus, co-RRI activities build on a moral commitment to safeguard equal access to ecosystem services for all, including future generations, economic prosperity and social justice within planetary limits.

This is achieved through a working methodology that is based on a system thinking approach, to address local manifestations of global challenges. Co-RRI aims at better understanding root causes and lock-ins of these challenges by means of a systemic analysis in order to bring a range of thinking about possible alternative solutions to the forefront.

Given the potential impact of RRI projects, they have to be carefully planned and monitored all along their lifecycle, with the cooperation of representatives from all different sectors, what is defined as the 4-helix (civil society, academia, business, public government). Inclusivity is very relevant in this context to enhance a cooperative and collaborative process, all committed to reflecting upon and transforming the research and innovation system.

In order to foster inclusiveness and equal participation, co-RRI processes go along with transparency, access to information, and capacity-building, which enables actors engaged to evenly contribute to the process.

The co-RRI concept acknowledges that research and innovation do not take place completely detached from societal and political discourses. Moreover, co-RRI processes involve reflections, which build awareness that making choices with ethical and political implications during the co-RRI process is inevitable; therefore, it emphasises the importance of reflexivity.

This is a long-term vision that requires building and institutionalising a network of relationship among diverse actors that continuously channels in new problems to be addressed, creatively refines and develops methodologies, processes and tools, and nurtures the commitment of multiple actors to participate in research and innovation.

What is the Mission?

The Association RRI Ibero-America has the overall mission to promote changes in the R&I system to generate RRI initiatives in the Latin-American countries. This mission is further subdivided:

  • to expand the principles and ideas of RRI in Latin-American, Portugal and Spain,
  • to facilitate the application of RRI where it is already known (Portugal and Spain)
  • to create a community of people who are active in this new vision of scientific and social development, including researchers, policy makers, representatives from civil society organisations, education and industry,
  • to develop and implement the concept of RRI further and provide a base for research, sharing and training on these issues.

The role of the association is to develop in the Ibero-America research community, starting from an initial set of members who are committed to share the association’s vision, and to incorporate new members as the concept expands.

This influence in the R&I system can be achieved by putting RRI into practice and showing that the results arising from RRI projects have more impact in terms of benefits to the society as well as contribution to sustainability. Future members of the Association have already changed their working methodology and team composition in the last years to become more inter-disciplinary, inclusive, and gender reflexive. This transformation has been the key of their success, since their organisations have considerably grown during the current crisis period. RRI will then be promoted as an opportunity to differentiate and to gain greater impact of the R&I activities.

For more information, please contact: Mr. Juan Pavón, jpavon@fdi.ucm.es

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